Posts tagged with "recovery"

NFL, szemui ho, 360 MAGAZINE

Shango x Moreno Valley

Shango Is the City’s First Licensed Retail Cannabis Facility

The dreams of two Southern Californians will come true when the new Shango Moreno Valley recreational cannabis dispensary opens on March 5, 2020.

Shango founder and CEO Brandon Rexroad, and former NFL All-Pro offensive lineman Kyle Turley are the ownership group that is bringing the Shango brand to California.

Rexroad, a longtime resident of Orange County, is a close friend of Turley who grew up in Moreno Valley.

“Opening a dispensary in Southern California has been a personal goal of mine since I started in the cannabis industry nearly 24 years ago,” Rexroad said. “We’re excited to be the first licensed dispensary in Moreno Valley and we’re planning on making a positive impact on this community.

“Shango Moreno Valley has an exceptional location,” Rexroad said. “Shango will offer the best cannabis shopping experience in the Inland Empire. Our customers are going to be amazed.”

The official Grand Opening celebration for the public will take place on March 13, 2020 at 10 a.m. with a Moreno Valley Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring local government and business leaders and media. Representatives of Shango’s ownership group and management will be available for Interviews before and during the event.

The first 50 people in line for the Grand Opening will receive complimentary Shango merchandise and deep discounts on cannabis products and accessories. Other special offers and raffles will be available to all customers throughout the Grand Opening weekend.

The dispensary is located at 11875 Pigeon Pass, Unit C1 in Moreno Valley, in the Stater Bros shopping center at the corner of Pigeon Pass and Ironwood, near California Highway 60. Hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Shango holds a total of 29 cannabis licenses in state markets across the country, including 10 for dispensaries in Oregon, Nevada, Michigan, California and Missouri. Moreno Valley is the first of several planned Shango dispensaries in California. The company will also be opening its first distribution facility in California in summer of 2020.

For Turley, being part of a business in his hometown, where he was a multi-sport athlete at Moreno Valley High School, is a highlight in his post-NFL career.

“I’m so proud to be bringing a game-changing business to my hometown,” Turley said. “It’s pretty exciting and it kind of feels like I was destined for this.”

As a high school and college athlete, Turley never used cannabis until he sustained painful injuries and numerous concussions while playing in the NFL.

“I had friends who lost their college scholarships because they tested positive for marijuana, but I never needed it,” Turley recalls. “It’s ironic that now I’m a huge cannabis advocate and living proof that it can change your life and even save your life. This plant is shifting the conversation from being on drugs to getting off drugs. This is supposed to happen.”

Rexroad and Turley are the ownership group operating as SMV GROUP INC. The Moreno Valley facility contains 5,000 square feet of retail space.

The Shango Moreno Valley phone number is (866) 4SH-ANGO, (474-2646). The email address is socal.info@goshango.com.

Shango Moreno Valley is a member of the Moreno Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about Shango and Shango Moreno Valley, visit www.goshango.com.

About Shango
Shango is an established, vertically integrated cannabis brand offering a full range of award-winning products, including flower, extracts and cannabis-infused edibles, in Oregon, Michigan and Nevada. The Shango brand has multiple full-service recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries in Oregon and Nevada along with a medical cannabis provisioning center in Michigan.

Shango will soon open a provisioning center in Bay City, Michigan, and a state-of-the-art cannabis distribution operation in Southern California. In Q2 2020, Shango’s Michigan operations will add a provisioning center in Hazel Park, as well as two extraction facilities, a commercial kitchen and an indoor cultivation facility.

A recognized leader in the cannabis industry, Shango sets the standards for product quality, consistency and business conduct. Shango is committed to cannabis education and is a fierce advocate of the safe and responsible use of cannabis products. For more information, go to www.goshango.com.

More About Brandon Rexroad
Brandon Rexroad has been dedicated to the cannabis industry since 1996 when California permitted the production and sale of medicinal cannabis. He is the Founder and CEO of Shango Cannabis, a recognized and respected leader in the cannabis industry and marketplace.

Rexroad leads the development and growth of the Shango brand in Oregon, Nevada and Michigan, as well as upcoming expansions into California, Arizona and emerging markets throughout the country.

In addition to his extensive cannabis industry knowledge and experience, Rexroad has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of commercial, industrial and residential real estate, construction and
development.

He is responsible for building and managing Shango’s state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation facilities, as well as its cannabis research and development center. These facilities produce the full range of Shango medical and recreational cannabis products. They also produce flower, extracts and edibles for other select cannabis brands.

Rexroad also is the Co-Founder of Factory Direct Garden Supply, an importer and manufacturer of hoods, lamps, ballasts and other specialized equipment for the hydroponic gardening industry.

More About Kyle Turley
Turley played nine seasons in the NFL, selected 7th overall in the 1998 draft. He played five seasons for the New Orleans Saints and a year with the St. Louis Rams before a serious back injury sidelined him for the 2004 and 2005 seasons. He returned in 2006 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, where he spent the last two years of his career before retiring in 2007. He was All-Pro offensive tackle in 2000 and was invited to the Pro Bowl in 2001.

He has been involved in a number of player health issues post-retirement, particularly neurological problems resulting from his football career. He also is a board member of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund.

Turley was featured in CNN’s “Weed 4: Pot vs Pills” hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, which focused on medical marijuana and CBD. He endorsed the use of cannabis and hemp products as a way to escape the addiction to opioids.

Diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of more than 100 concussions he received during his 10-years NFL career. Turley struggled with an addiction to painkillers, violent thoughts and suicidal tendencies until he started using medical marijuana.

“It saved my life,” he says. “I wouldn’t be where I am today, I would not have my family, my kids, my house, everything I have right now, if not for cannabis.”

To help save other lives, Turley founded the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition to use his story and those of other players to advance the use of marijuana as a valid medical treatment for neurological conditions and other athletic injuries.

“This plant has to be set free,” he says. “We have people committing suicide in football and other sports. How far do we have to go? Cannabis has played an important role in allowing me to personally manage pain, cope with CTE, improve my overall health and eliminate the need for prescription opioids that nearly cost me my life. If we can allow players and veterans to recover naturally with proper dietary and organic therapies, we should be doing so.”

Coronavirus, Weather, WHO, AccuWeather, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine

The Future of Sleep and How to Embrace it

Without a doubt, there are still plenty of people who advocate for the ’hustle’ way of life – a life fueled by caffeine and a couple of hours sleep each night, where you aim to do as much as you possibly can in as little time imaginable. But fortunately, there are also voices (getting louder by the week) who have begun to shift the focus towards rest and getting an actual good night’s sleep.

Sleep is one of the most underrated factors of health. It does wonders for the human body: it helps prevent illness by boosting the immune system and by keeping our hearts healthier, it keeps our brains working better, and it provides us with that much-needed energy and focus.

And as we are beginning to realize just how important (not to mention enjoyable) it is, the consumer-focused and technology-driven modern society has begun to make some significant advancements in the way we sleep.

Let’s explore where the future of sleep is heading, and how you can embrace it to your own benefit.

The sleep market is expanding

Three years ago, the sleep market in the US was estimated to be worth around $28.6 billion. It is also expected to grow another 5% each year in the next three years.

That fact alone is enough to tell you that sleep has a very bright future ahead. More and more companies are investing their time and resources into coming up with innovative and creative products, while customers embrace sleep as the next trend.

There is more choice available

While previously, you didn’t really think much about what you slept on and what kind of pillow you had – as long as it was comfortable enough – today you have practically unlimited choice.

Different companies focus on providing all kinds of different options that will fit into any lifestyle and preference: firmer mattresses, softer mattresses, mattresses made of different materials, and so on.

Finding the best mattress for your sleeping specific needs might take a bit of time, but with so many options at your disposal, it is certainly no longer mission impossible.

Make sure you test a couple of different models out before you make your final choice. After all, who knows what you actually like if you have only ever slept on one model.

Quality sleep is no longer out of reach

When shopping for a mattress a couple of decades ago, you had to go to your local department store and make your decision there. Today, you can order one from anywhere in the world and have it delivered straight to your bed.

This means that you are practically no longer limited by any means. True, shipping costs may be a factor to consider, but chances are you will be able to find a company that may not have a store near you, but that does home deliveries at a reasonable price. 

It’s no longer just about the bed

Sleeping is about more than just the bed you sleep on and the pillow you nest under your head every night.

You can now buy a sleep machine that not only emits different sounds (and lights), but that can also be hooked up to an app that tracks your sleep cycle and that will wake you up at the most opportune moment. There are aromatherapy products that will help you fall asleep more easily. There are meditation and sleep apps that will soothe you into a lull.

Not to mention, there are the temperature regulators, the innovative alarm clocks, the auto blinds that will wake you up with natural sunlight, and so on. The choices really are starting to look limitless.

Tailored to your needs

Finally, the future of sleep is all about personal choice and individual preferences. There is no longer just one option and one make available – of anything.

You can customize your pillows and mattresses and duvets and blankets in terms of fabric, size, color, pattern, and everything in between. 

If you have a non-standard sized bed, you can more easily than ever before find the sleep paraphernalia to go with it. If you are looking for a specific combination of colors (which previously meant you have to buy several sets of pillowcases), now you can buy them individually or in a set of your own design.

You can literally make your sleeping experience into anything you want it to be – and more.

Final thoughts

Sleep, one of the most important pillars of a healthy and happy life, finally seems to be getting the attention it deserves. With that attention comes the ability to customize, tailor, and shape your sleep experience whichever way you want to. Now, all that’s left to do is convince everyone else that sleep is not for the weak, or the wicked.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

Alcoholics Anonymous

Extending the Hand of A.A.
Alcoholics who are Deaf can access A.A.’s program of recovery in an updated American Sign Language translation of Alcoholics Anonymous

With over 35 million printed copies sold, the book Alcoholics Anonymous is now available in an updated abridged translation into American Sign Language. Commonly referred to as “The Big Book” this basic text of the worldwide Fellowship that bears its name is now available on DVD to the Deaf community, the Hard-of-Hearing community and the hearing community as well.
DVD features:

  • Professional ASL signers and DVD video production
  • Updated translation inspired and reviewed by A.A. members who are Deaf
  • Audio track and subtitles for use among ASL and non-ASL users
  • The basic principles and practices of the Fellowship that have provided a pathway to recovery for alcoholics for over 80 years
  • Can be ordered at www.aa.org or may be available through a local A.A. office near you

A.A. has always been committed to making its program of recovery available to anyone, anywhere who reaches out for help with a drinking problem. This translation has been updated with current language and signing most familiar in today’s Deaf community.

Founded in 1935 on the principle of one alcoholic helping another to achieve sobriety, A.A. is an effective and enduring program of recovery that has changed countless lives. As explained in the book, A.A.’s recovery program of twelve suggested Steps was formulated through the experience of its first 100 members and has reached millions of sufferers around the world.

For more information about A.A. resources for alcoholics who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, please contact the Accessibilities and Remote Communities Coordinator at the General Service Office at Access@aa.org or by phone at 212-870-3344.

*If you’re in the UK and need assistance with substance abuse, check out Abbeycare Foundation Drug Rehab.

Back and Better, 360 MAGAZINE, Ross F. Hoffman

CALIFORNIA AUTHOR WRITES FIRST BOOK OF SIMPLE RECOVERY EXERCISES DESIGNED TO BE PERFORMED IN BED

Available now is Back And Better, a one-of-a-kind guide to 37 easy exercises designed to help the bedridden, as well as other people seeking better muscle tone, improved strength, flexibility and more restful sleep.

Written by California author and life-long athlete Ross F. Hoffman (former UCLA baseball star), the author developed these exercises for himself to perform in bed to speed his recovery after two separate accidents requiring surgery. Ross said his doctors were amazed at his rapid progress after both surgeries.

“I decided to take a completely different direction to be more proactive in my own recovery,” Ross said. “Now I’m sharing these quick fix exercises I developed that helped me get better.”

Back And Better was the number one trending category bestseller on Kindle upon its launch.

Among the compelling testimonials on the website BackNBetter.com is this statement from a training professional: “Ross’ book gives anyone the tools to retain their strength and return to an active life after being bedridden in the shortest possible time,” said Dale Collins, Master of Science, Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Exercise Physiologist.

Ross said: “In addition to the bedridden, these exercises helped me recover from injury, reduce my pain, improve sleep and get stronger. This book illustrates an easy and effective exercise program that helped me recover faster and more completely than the doctor or physical therapist ever expected.”

Sample content can be viewed at BackNBetter.com, where you can buy the book directly from the author or through a link to Amazon.

How to Spot Fentanyl Abuse in the Workplace – And What To Do About It

Synthetic opioids – primarily illegal fentanyl which is 50-100x more potent than morphine – are the most common drugs involved in overdose deaths in the United States. The effects of fentanyl use and misuse are not isolated to the home of course; there are consequences that can affect an individual’s work environment, including fellow employees and customers. Employers who are not aware of this may face a startling wake-up call. Addiction expert Dr. Deni Carise of Recovery Centers of America is speaking at the 2019 Labor Assistance Professionals Conference this week on the topic of addiction, relapse and recovery and is available for an interview on the topic of spotting fentanyl (and other opioids) abuse in the workplace, as well as what to do about it.

According to Dr. Carise: “Drug use in the workplace can be obvious or subtle as different drugs present in different ways. An employee under the influence of fentanyl may exhibit extreme happiness, drowsiness, nausea, confusion, sedation, have problems breathing, or become unconscious. Overdosing on fentanyl presents as slow or shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, severe sleepiness, cold and clammy skin, trouble walking or talking, feeling faint, dizzy, or confused, or complete unresponsiveness. Employees under the influence of fentanyl may seem completely normal and functioning well, then experience noticeable mood or energy swings. They may appear to doze off while working which can endanger themselves and those around them depending on their profession. The most important thing to remember is that fentanyl and opioid abuse is a treatable disease. Employees can and do recover from opioid dependence to return to work as fully productive, contributing members of a work team.”

Dr. Deni Carise bio: For nearly 30 years, Deni Carise, PhD, has served as an important national voice on substance use disorder, treatment and recovery and regularly speaks at national conferences on current trends in the field. She is a clinical psychologist and assistant adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and chief scientific officer for Recovery Centers of America. Dr. Carise has provided consult for the White House and internationally with treatment providers in other countries to develop national systems of clinical treatment delivery. She has published over 100 articles, books and chapters on addiction and related topics. With extensive knowledge, media experience and her own personal experience in recovery, Dr. Carise speaks in plain truths and succinct sound-bites about the scope and stigma of addiction, the quest for treatment, and the challenges of recovery.

Stress Awareness Month: Alleviating Stress and Working Out

Natalie Durand-Bush, PhD, CMPC

Association for Applied Sport Psychology Executive Board Member

Full Professor, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Co-Founder, Canadian Centre for Mental Health, Ottawa, Canada

Recovery plays a vital role in sport. It is necessary to prevent underperformance, overtraining, burnout, injuries, and illness. This is mainly due to the fact that athletes are subjected to ongoing physical and mental stressors while training in order to stretch their performance limits. However, it is important to balance such stressors with appropriate rest and recovery through the use of periodized approaches. Periodization programs are designed and implemented in sport to maximize the effects of physical and mental training over predetermined training cycles by varying key training variables such as volume and intensity.

The aim of these programs is to maximize long-term athlete development and peak performance during targeted competitions within identified periods or ‘mesocycles’ (e.g., hockey season, Olympic quadrennial). Each mesocycle consists of preparatory (e.g., off-season and pre-competitive season), competitive (e.g., regular competitive season), peaking (e.g., playoffs, national championship), and recovery (e.g., post-competition period prior to off-season training) periods or ‘microcycles’ that vary in length based on training objectives, athletes’ needs, and the amount of time available between peaking events. Issues often arise when periodization protocols are mismanaged and training responses are not properly monitored. For example, peaking may not occur if athletes do not respect built-in recovery activities (e.g., days off, sleep routine, naps, limited social media) as a result of fearing they will fall behind their competitors. Also, coaches who insufficiently pay attention to warning signs during high-intensity periods in which athletes require more time to physically and mentally recover can jeopardize athletes’ performance and health. The costs of poor or failed monitoring could be injury or illness, including low mental health and the onset of mental illness.

Athletes’ mental health reflects their psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Athletes who are mentally healthy are able to feel, think, and act in ways allowing them to work productively, reach their full potential and goals, enjoy life, contribute to their community, and cope with normal daily stressors. When stressors (e.g., physical, psychological) exceed athletes’ internal (e.g., resilience strategies) and external (e.g., parental and coaching support) coping resources, it can deplete them and lead to significant distress and impaired functioning. In other words, it can exacerbate an existing mental illness or trigger a new one. Symptoms to which coaches should pay attention when working with athletes include any significant changes in eating and sleeping patterns, isolation from others, unusual low energy/stamina, intense mood swings, decreased enjoyment and concentration, feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness, inexplicable pain, and difficulties performing daily tasks, to name a few. Coaches noticing such changes in athletes should intervene, particularly if these changes last more than two weeks.

This entails having a private, respectful, and empathetic conversation with struggling athletes by (a) asking them specific questions regarding observed changes (e.g., “I have noticed that you look more tired and withdrawn than usual, are you struggling at the moment?”), (b) offering support (e.g., “Your mental health is important to me, what can I do to help you recover and regain your strength?”), and (c) referring them to an appropriate mental health care provider if necessary (e.g., “I’m not a mental health expert but I am seeing signs that concern me; our team has access to a mental health practitioner and I’d like you to see this person to make sure you have the resources you need to cope and get back to your normal self”). Given the crucial role of rest and recovery in the management of both athletic performance and mental health, coaches should discuss with any struggling athletes the benefits of adding recovery periods in their training program or of taking a complete break to prioritize and help them restore their mental health.

James Templeton, I Used to Have Cancer

James Templeton has lived the past 33+ years cancer-free following a stage 4 Melanoma diagnosis. In his new book, I Used to Have Cancer, James chronicles how he created a miracle mindset and a change in lifestyle and diet to overcome his devastating diagnosis – and how he’s now working to inspire others to have hope, even in the face of a terrible disease.

James shares with his readers his own powerful daily routine, including the positive habits, regimens, and recipes he uses to remain healthy day-after-day. He is the also the founder of the Templeton Wellness Foundation, where he regularly chats with and interviews cancer patients, sharing their stories and inspiring others to adapt a lifestyle and mindset that can inspire hope and make all the difference.

Here he offers following healthy lifestyle tips and recipes:

  • Take Your Body To The Cleaners
    It’s so important to sweat every day – whether that’s hopping into a sauna or through physical activity. By sweating, the body can rid itself of toxic wastes and make it easier for the immune system to work its magic.
    Daily detox drinks, like superfood smoothies with powdered greens including chlorella and dandelion team, and seasonal herbal GI cleanses that clear out mold and bacteria are also very important when cleansing the body of unwanted toxins.
  • The East-Meets-West Diet
    Food that’s rich in probiotics, like miso, tempeh and sauerkraut, combined with plenty of leafy, plant-based veggies, like brussel sprouts, are crucial for flooding the system with immune-boosting phytonutrients.
    Phytonutrients may help prevent disease and can keep your body working properly.
  • Super Supplements
    Certain vitamins, amino acids and plant extracts can help the body build up natural defenses and are easy to include in a daily regimen.
    While everyone knows about the power of Vitamin C when fighting a cold, some other important immune-building supplements include proline, lysine, and green tea extract.
  • Make Time For Yourself!
    There is no hidden secret to James’ success – He assures everyone that it’s simply so important to practice the everyday commitment to basic common-sense health rules.
    The body needs a full 8-hours of sleep, lots of purifying water, a diet rich in probiotics and phytonutrients, relaxation, and to practice gratitude and forgiveness every day.

About James Templeton

By all standards of success, James Templeton seemed to have it all. He was a highly successful businessman, had a beautiful wife and daughter, and, only in his early thirties, had his whole life in front of him. To avoid the same fate as his father and grandfather, who both died of heart attacks at a young age, James became an avid runner―a passion that he believed helped him stay fit and healthy. Imagine his shock when, during a routine physical, his doctor noticed a mole on his body that turned out to be a melanoma―a dangerous form of skin cancer. The mole was removed immediately and James, who was diligent in his follow-up exams, appeared to be cancer-free―but only for a short while. When the cancer reappeared and had spread, on the advice of his doctor, James followed the conventional medical protocol, which included surgery and chemotherapy. He was also involved in a clinical trial. When he learned that the treatments weren’t working, James was obviously devastated. He had reached a new low point in his life, and as he lay in the hospital bed, he prayed fervently for help. As if by some miracle, help came to James in the form of three different visitors who would change the course of his life―and help direct him on a path back to health.

About I Used to Have Cancer

I Used to Have Cancer is James Templeton’s memoir―an inspiring look back at his unique journey in overcoming stage 4 melanoma. James takes you with him on a trip crisscrossing America, during which he shares the various natural approaches he followed to battle his cancer―from diet and supplements to meditation and lifestyle adjustments. As his journey continued, you will see first-hand how James’ definition of success changed from making money to seeing the next sunrise. And how he continues finding success by reaching out to others to share the lessons he has learned.
While this book largely focuses on the various methods James used to overcome his own cancer, it is also an inspiring story of not giving up when all other avenues of conventional medicine fail. It is about taking control of your life and finding a way back from the brink of death. It is about being able to tell your friends, “I used to have cancer.”

Sober.House.

Happening right now, drug addiction in the US has reached epidemic proportions. What’s worse, only 11 percent of those people will find the right treatment. It’s time to eliminate the stigma and focus on a tangible solution, rather than the problem.

Mallory Neuberger lived a double life for years, suffering from a soul-crushing addiction to cocaine while hiding behind a successful career and raising two children. After finding sobriety, she has made it her mission to help others by opening and running sober houses for women.  

Anchored in relatable stories and filled with actionable tips for anyone affected by addiction, Sober.House. offers readers:

  • Stop the Stigma: Eliminating the shame to understand the truth about addiction—which is a disease, not a disgraceful condition
  • Recovery is Possible: How anyone who is an addict, or an alcoholic, can find healing and a more fulfilling lifestyle
  • Paying it Forward: Her journey to helping others who are battling addiction, and how it has filled her once empty soul with meaning and purpose
  • Good vs. Evil: How to find authentic, ethical places for treatment and sober living while avoiding the illegitimate ones
  • The Frog Pad: The sober houses she has created for women to help them restore their lives for themselves and their loved ones

Follow Mallory Neuberger on Social Media

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Sober Houses and the Path to Recovery

The Truth About Sober Houses and the Path to Recovery

by Mallory Neuberger

Wendy Williams made headlines last week when she revealed that she’s living in a sober house; but less than one week later she left work, checked out of the facility, and went on to drink alcohol until she was hospitalized. So, what went wrong?

Sobriety is not something that we can pay for. As a recovering cocaine addict, I had to admit that I was an addict and that I was ready for a drug free life. In essence, I had to hit my bottom. Some people die before they find the willingness to get sober. Others need to end up in prison, homeless, or selling their bodies and souls to feed their disease. And many, like myself, don’t lost their homes, cars, jobs or families, but find themselves spiritually void and miserable, with their drug of choice no longer providing the relief that it once had.

Wendy Williams is going through difficulties in her marriage. Her husband is rumored to be cheating on her, and his mistress is pregnant. Despite appearing on television daily, living in a sober house, and paying a sober coach to keep tabs on her 24/7, she still couldn’t handle her heartbreak and to alcohol to numb her pain. The next day she was back on TV. In my opinion, she isn’t ready.

Ethical sober houses keep residents safe by breathalyzing and drug testing them. They have guidelines to provide structure, including curfews, chore checks, and mandatory attendance at 12-step meetings like A.A. or N.A. There are organizations that certify sober houses as good operators, so it’s important to be sure that you are choosing a place that truly has the residents’ best interests at heart.

Sober houses offer a sense of community. They are filled with residents and staff who are all trying to stay sober and meet life head on. There is always someone to talk to, so we are never alone. In my sober houses we emphasize healthy living, encouraging good eating habits and exercise. We practice yoga and we meditate together. We offer fellowship where we eat, laugh, play games, make crafts, listen to music, and sit by the pool. We celebrate together, helping one another get through birthdays, holidays and anniversaries without picking up. We are houses filled with sober women and we are like a big family filled with surrogate mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. We cry together, and more importantly, we laugh.

Putting down drugs and alcohol seemed like the only way I could live, but what kind of a life was it going to be? I feared that I would be socially awkward without my expensive wines or a frozen margarita with salt. I didn’t think I would be able to stay awake without my beloved cocaine. I was losing my best friends – drugs and alcohol – how would I ever have fun again?

The sheer happiness that I have found as a sober woman is greater than any high that I ever experienced. I wake up every morning without a hangover or user’s remorse. I dance whenever and wherever I can, even while trying on clothes in stores, or at parties where nobody else has hit the dance floor. I run by the beach, singing out loud, without worrying that I may die of a stroke due to last night’s excesses. I practice yoga and can actually “be” on the mat for ninety minutes, breathing freely through my once stuffed nostrils.

I have a disease, and that disease is called addiction. I am no longer ashamed and hiding behind it. Addiction is not a weakness or a character defect. It is a debilitating disease without a medicine to cure it. Money cannot buy my recovery, but working a daily program can keep me sober, one day at a time. Every day I go to a 12-step meeting. I remind myself that I’m an addict in recovery and I reset my brain and ask for the strength to remain sober just for today. I am of service to others in recovery, showing them that this simple program works. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. My worst day sober is always better than my best day high, because I am authentic and free and living the very best version of myself. I hope that Wendy Williams hits her bottom soon, and without any terrible consequences. I would love her to live in one of my sober houses.

About Mallory Neuberger

Mallory Neuberger, MS, CRRA, author of Sober.House (My Story), is the executive director of The Frog Pad, a safe and structured holistic healing house for women in recovery from drugs and alcohol. After struggling with her own addiction, Neuberger has dedicated her life to helping others find sobriety, volunteering at drug recovery centers including Hazelden IOP, The Addiction Institute in NYC, Gods Love We Deliver, and soup kitchens. She was also employed at Behavior Health of the Palm Beaches before opening her first sober house.

Esophageal Cancer Awareness

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5 year survival rate (all stages combined) is 19%. As the seventh most common cancer amongst men, it is estimated that over 16,000 deaths will occur from it in 2019. Men are 3-4 more times likely to develop esophageal cancer than women.

 Ron Coury’s story offers an uplifting and inspiring survival story in time for  Esophageal Cancer Awareness.

In November 2005, I went to Santa Barbara for my annual physical with Dr. James Murray, a practice I’d begun 20 years earlier. I was in great shape, weighing in at 185 pounds at 53 years of age. I regularly ran three to five miles around the lake adjacent to my house in Las Vegas, and enjoyed full workouts and lifting weights. Still, my dad had fought cancer for more than two decades, eventually losing his battle in 2002. Deep inside, I always felt cancer would find me.

As usual, my physical began with an hour-long meeting with Dr. Murray. During our conversation, I mentioned one small oddity.

“When I eat or drink, it seems like I have to clear my throat for the first hour or two. Does that mean anything?”

“Let’s find out.”

Among a battery of tests, he ordered a barium swallow. When I was done, I headed back to Dr. Murray’s office expecting to get another glowing report. However, this time there was a glitch.

The radiologist noted that during my swallow test, it appeared that the barium passed over a small bump at the base of my esophagus. Probably just a food fragment stuck to the wall, but the doctor ordered a procedure to play safe. Unfortunately, it revealed a tumor. And a malignant one at that.

It was hard to accept, because other than the need to clear my throat, I felt fine. Hell, I felt invincible! Still, I answered with a voice so calm it surprised me. “Okay, we’re going to war. What do we do now?”

Dr. Murray recommended a surgeon at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Tom Demeester, who specialized in esophageal cancer. He explained that even if I qualified for surgery, only eight percent of people diagnosed with esophageal cancer survive it.

When the doctor stepped out of his office, I looked out the window and said, “Well, Dad, I guess I’ll be seeing you soon.”

Luckily, the tumor was caught early in its development. And I was an excellent candidate for surgery, an ordeal that could take up to 12 hours.

The bad news? This type of tumor was highly invasive. The surgeon would have to remove a perimeter around the tumor, as well as nearby lymph nodes and upper stomach, take out the majority of my esophagus, then connect what was left between my throat and stomach.

He explained that life would change for me in major ways. I could never lie flat again, because without an esophagus, whatever was in my stomach could come up my windpipe and choke me. Also, I could only eat small meals from that point on.

I returned home and got my affairs in order, pre planning my funeral if the surgery didn’t go well. The last thing I wanted was to put my wife and kids through this. One of the hardest parts was calling my friends and telling them, “There’s a pretty good chance I won’t survive. So, I just want to say, I feel like I had a great run and I love you.”

Finally, the moment of truth arrived: December 5, 2005. My friend and workout partner, Mark Beckerle, had driven to the hospital the day before to see me. A spiritual type, Mark said he believed that people undergoing surgery see a bright white light. If they walk to it, they die on the table. “Buddy,” he said, “if you see a white light, run the other way!”

During my surgery, I did see just such a light. As if watching the doctors and nurses from above the operating table, I saw myself facing the light. Remembering Mark’s words, I turned and did, in fact, run. Was it real or a dream? Did it happen when I was bleeding out from my spleen, which got pierced during the operation? I’ll never know.

My next conscious thought came when I woke up in post-op. The first night was brutal and the pain was really rough, but I was alive!

Things turned bad quickly. I was in ICU for several days after developing the dreaded staph infection, MRSA. Next came blood clots in both of my legs. And a collapsed lung. Finally, they moved me into a regular hospital room where I remained for a month.

By the time I was cleared to return home in January, I still had a drain in my side, and a feeding tube remained in place.

Over the course of 2006, I gradually grew stronger and I was finally allowed to start eating small amounts of solid food. As I’d been warned, the pain was through the roof. But I was thankful to resume a reasonable facsimile of normal life.

Since the surgery, I undergo a PET scan each year, which is the best cancer-screening test available. Between scans, every ache or pain would make me think, “Uh-oh, is that a tumor?” Thankfully, year after year the reports have come back, “NO CANCER!”

After the fifth PET scan, Dr. Demeester declared me cancer-free. I’ll never forget him for the life-saving surgery he performed. Nor will I ever be able to adequately thank Dr. Murray for discovering the tumor so early.

I lost over 40 pounds during my month-long hospital stay, along with a great deal of muscle mass. A few years later, I’d gained back 15 pounds, but I was maxed out. These days, I can’t eat enough to exceed the calories I burn through ordinary activity.

Ultimately, tenacity and stamina carried me through my toughest battle. As I learned more about esophageal cancer, I found out that approximately 13,500 Americans contract it annually and 12,500 are dead within a year. I’m certain that my excellent physical condition enabled me to beat the odds, not to mention the best medical team on the planet, and the love and support of family and friends.

And remember, regular physicals and early detection really do save lives.  

About Ron Coury

Ron Coury is the author of Tenacity: A Vegas Businessman Survives Brooklyn, the Marines, Corruption and Cancer to Achieve the American Dream: A True Story.