Initially my drug of choice was alcohol, and I drank alcoholically from the start at age 18. After 12 years of constant trouble, numerous attempts to quit or control my drinking, and all the social and legal problems that go with active alcoholism, I finally did quit drinking on my own, without a recovery program. I stayed “dry” for nine years. Then I was in an accident and my doctors put me on painkillers, which I liked quite a bit. They seemed a gift from God, as they appeared to give me everything good that I got from alcohol, with none of the bad. But, that didn’t last long. The dosages started increasing and benefits decreasing. I was pretty much only on pain killers from 1997 through 2004, but from time-to-time there would be some cocaine, which I used to bridge the gaps when there was a “dry spell” in the pills. By the end I was taking 35 or 40 Lortab tens (10mg) a day and I needed them to avoid getting really sick with withdrawals. I was still working full time, but my ability to produce quality work had been steadily diminishing after the short-lived honeymoon phase of my addiction.
In the fall of 2004 I ran into a serious dry spell . . . no pills, no coke, no nothing. My errand boys kept saying “there is none of that, but there’s plenty of rock around.” I had a vague notion that “rock” wasn’t a good idea and I didn’t really understand what “rock” was. But the sicker I got the more I thought: “How bad could it be?” It was bad. One hit of crack and I took off like a freight train. Immediately I was no longer addicted to pain killers – but I couldn’t stop smoking crack. I had kept everything pretty well hidden until I started smoking crack. But with that step it didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off my wagon.
When I staggered up to Bridging the Gaps I was a mess. I’m 5’9, but I weighed only 126 pounds and my skin looked gray. I was there for exactly four months and participated in everything they had to offer: Acudetox, yoga, all the nutrients, the food restrictions, the counseling, 12 Step meeting, and exercise. Our diets were strictly controlled, with a real emphasis on limiting sugar, and avoiding processed foods. There were no bags of potato chips around the house or things like that. Caffeine was limited, but I confess to cheating a bit on that. All the amino acids and nutrients that I took during that 4-month period were oral. I took those religiously the whole time I was there and took the same at least 6 months after I left, may be a bit longer. Then, for another couple of years, I was taking just the amino acid l-tyrosine, which seemed to help me significantly by itself.
Once I could I started working out. I immersed myself in recovery activities and I have stayed very involved in the recovery community. I became a firm believer in the notion that in a real sense our brains are what we eat. Now I always eat a good breakfast. I used to always skip breakfast. I’m still no nutritional guru, but I avoid junk food and most fast food. It’s been a couple years since I took l-tyrosine, but I still take multivitamins and B complex. The summer of 2017 I celebrated 12 years of being clean and sober.
Lawyer in the mid-Atlantic region
Sugar, Starch, Addictive Foods
Americans suffering from food-addiction compose over 50 percent of the adult population. That percentage is even higher among recovering addicts who so often began treatment and drop their drugs or alcohol, but pick up or increase their use of sugar, starch, and other drug-like junk foods, typically gaining 30 pounds in 30 days. This was the expected norm in the large, well-regarded San Francisco residential treatment program, The Henry Ohlhoff House, that Alliance co-founder Julia Ross worked in for 14 years as a counselor and then as Director of Outpatient Programs.
In 1982 Ross founded a program at Ohlhoff for overeaters and bulimics. Bulimia is a common problem that recovering alcoholics, in particular, suffer from in recovery as they try to prevent this weight gain from their increased sugar/junk food intake. When Ross founded her own outpatient program in 1988, she introduced amino acid therapy strategies that dramatically increased the program’s effectiveness and led to her publishing her first best-selling book, The Diet Cure (She has since rewritten the book in a 2012 edition). Her new book, released in 2017, The Craving Cure, focuses on how commercial food science has made food addicts of us all and the power of amino acids free us (cravingcure.com).
Julia Ross, on YouTube, discusses our addiction to commercial food, the current public health crisis it has created, and the proven nutritional solutions. View the Mood & Carb Addiction presentation.
Following is an excerpt from The Craving Cure’s introduction:
Food Cravings, The Brain, and The Nutrient Solution
The elimination of cravings is the critical missing key in America’s struggle to free itself from the wrong food, the wrong weight, and the wrong health. The Craving Cure provides that key, forged from everything I’ve learned in the last thirty years through research into neuro nutrition and from the real-life experiences of the thousands of clients who have come into the programs at my clinics.
Here are its essential elements:
Healthy eating and healthy weight are our birthright. They were a given throughout human history, until the 1970s.
In the 1970s, several dietary changes, unprecedented in all of human history, radically altered our relationship to food and to our bodies.
Commercially-designed food-like substances have turned us into helpless cravers and over-consumers of the most caloric and least nutritious diet ever known; a diet that nature never intended us to eat.
Our brain’s five primary appetite-control forces, including powerful neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphin, are being hijacked by our new eating habits and need an emergency rescue operation.
Each of us has a unique food craving profile determined by the functioning or malfunctioning of our brains’ five appetite-control forces.
Special, easy to find, brain-targeted nutrient supplements called amino acids can be used to form an immediate line of defense against cravings by directly supporting any of those forces that have been compromised.
A twenty-first-century eating strategy that restores the ancient nutritional fundamentals (including saturated fat and red meat) can build in permanent protection from modern dietary dangers, once the amino acids have done their work.