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Alcohol and Drugs: The Truth Revealed

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently estimated that about 21.6 million Americans are diagnosed with an alcohol or drug use disorder.  This means that at minimum, about this many people in the country regularly use alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, pain pills, or other drugs despite the fact that doing so brings them harm.  This harm may include deteriorating health, strained relationships with family and friends, poor performance at school, work, and home, legal issues, and lost opportunities.

At first glance, it’s easy to think that the primary problems here are the alcohol and drugs. After all, as a society we are used to saying phrases like, “he has a drinking problem,” “she has a drug problem,” and “they need to do something about their drug habits.” Organized bodies, committees, and institutions tend to reinforce this mentality as well when they identify someone as having a “substance use disorder,” suggesting that the main issue is the substance.  These factors as well as others seem to play a critical role in shaping how we view alcohol and drugs as a people – namely, they lend us to believe that alcohol and drugs are the problems.

However, alcohol and drugs are not really the problems.  Rather, they are attempted-solutions to problems.  When we talk about people struggling with alcohol or drugs, we are generally referring to people who persistently turn to substances to try to eliminate their troubles.  People who routinely drink alcohol and use drugs are using these substances to self-medicate, to numb themselves, to run away from overwhelming pain.  The substances are “quick patches” aimed at immediate, short-term relief – relief from some kind of traumatic experience, emotional anguish, or other stressful trigger, which the person doesn’t know how to otherwise handle.  As such, he or she takes these substances with the intention of reaching a “high,” a surge of intense, yet temporary, euphoria and elation that is meant to distract them from what is really hurting them inside.

Contrary to popular belief, people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs are indeed very soft, sensitive individuals.  While some of their behaviors might be damaging, destructive, and hurtful, the truth is they are not acting in these ways because they are bad people, but because they don’t know how else to deal with their pain.  Deep down, they feel hopeless, helpless, and broken.  They are crying for help. Their reliance on alcohol and drugs is driven by their desperation to “forget” or mask feelings that are too frightening for them to face. They are relying on these foreign substances to soothe their pain, comfort their hurt, and make themselves feel better when nothing else seems to be helping.  The alcohol and drugs are used to give them a sense of control over that which feels so direly out of their control.

People who struggle with alcohol and drugs tend to become dependent on these substances because the thought of dealing with uncomfortable emotions feels too unbearable, overwhelming, and insurmountable. While they might take these substances to mentally or emotionally leave, the reality is that the pain, the hurt, and the fear are all still there, yearning to be attended to.

Any successful alcohol or drug addiction treatment regimen must include an open, honest, and truthful look into the root causes of the addiction.  In particular, it’s important to pay special attention to why the person turned to this behavior in the first place, and why he or she continues to engage in it.   Once this is clarified, it’s key that the person be offered customized tools that will help him or her successfully cope with triggers in healthier, more effective ways.  While the road of addiction recovery is not necessarily an easy one, the truth is that with the proper drive, motivation, persistence, and help, it’s definitely possible. People who successfully recover from alcohol and drug addictions are arguably very special people.  By virtue of what they have gone through, they are probably some of the most clever, thoughtful, and insightful people in our society today.  There’s something special to be said about people who have spent a significant amount of time continuously going in-and-out of reality, who have decided to stop running away and finally look inside at their truth, and live more in-line with it.

They are truly worldly.

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Dr. Raymond Nourmand is a Licensed Psychologist and Psychology Lecturer, specializing in treating children, teenagers, and adults with a wide range of mental health issues. For more information, please visit, http://www.westlapsychologist.com/

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IsraAID is launching the Humanitarian Professionals Network (IHPN) in Los Angeles and Bay Area

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 World-renowned Israeli Humanitarian and disaster relief organization expands presence in U.S. by offering Americans training andopportunities for Disaster relief deployment

Los Angeles, CA – On January 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, disaster relief NGO IsraAID will launch its new aid initiative, The IsraAID Humanitarian Professionals Network (IHPN), an elite program that trains doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers and mental health professionals in disaster response and deploys them around the world to helpsave lives.

IHPN members become part of a network of likeminded professionals at the top of theirfields, joining a robust roster of professionals in Israel, and have a chanceto share Israel’s humanitarian ethos with communities in need. Current IsraAID missions span disasters such as the wildfires in California, refugee crises in Greece, Kenya, Bangladesh, violence in Uganda, and cyclones in Vanuatu.

“IsraAID draws on Israeli social innovation and expertise to benefit people in need around the world. We are now leveraging our organization’s unique capabilities to train professionals in the U.S. interested in developing life-saving skills and joining humanitarian relief missions globally, hand in hand with professionals from Israel” said Seth H. Davis, Executive Director of IsraAID U.S. “IHPN will equip skilled individuals in hands-on disaster relief experience and provide enhanced capacity if local disaster were too strike.”

The first event, entitled “What You Need to Know About Humanitarian Aid,” will feature speaker Tim Burke, MA, MPH, who lead IsraAID’s work in South Sudan for five years, where he oversaw programs in public health and post-conflict development. Subsequent speakers include atmospheric physicist Colin Price and refugee crises expert Dr. Nir Boms.

With deployment in 49 countries, and currently active in 19 countries, IsraAID is an expert in training professionals to deploy. In the U.S. alone in the last year, IsraAID has provided humanitarian relief in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, California, and Puerto Rico.

“IsraAID will make Los Angeles more secure by leveraging their unique expertise in disaster response to train professionals in our community,” said [Paul Koretz]. “I look forward to working with IsraAID to help them rollout their IHPN program in California”

Professionals interested in attending should RSVP here  and/or learn more and join the network here.

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About IHPN: The IsraAID HumanitarianProfessionals Network (IHPN) is an exclusive network of professionals at thevanguard of global aid relief activities. Members of IHPN receive expert briefings, emergency-preparedness training, access to enrichment with field leaders,and priority access to deploy on IsraAID missions.

About IsraAID: IsraAID is anon-governmental organization that provides lifesaving emergency relief andlong-term, sustainable solutions for populations affected by natural disasters, epidemics and post-conflict situations. Our teams leverage Israeli innovation,work in full collaboration with local partners, and educate the public and professionals on disaster prevention and relief. IsraAID (US) Global Humanitarian Assistance, Inc. is an independent 501c(3)organization.

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Nothing Matters More Than This

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We live in a world where FOCUS is even MORE important than your INTELLIGENCE.

From our never-ending Facebook feed, to our freshly-updated YouTube subscription page, to our email inbox, we live in an abundant world of information.

However, is it really necessary to consume all of this general information?

Will it ever be useful? Will it ever make any difference in your life?

No. Most likely not.

Learning a little about a lot of different things doesn’t really amount to much.

Instead, you should FOCUS.

Focus on learning and applying ONE skill as intensely and deeply as possible.

Focus is where mastery kicks in.

Kobe Bryant wasn’t the best basketball player that ever played because he was the best all-around person.

Kobe Bryant was world-class because he was absolutely great at ONE thing and one thing only: playing basketball.

So instead of consuming as much general information as you possibly can… instead FOCUS.

FOCUS on one topic. FOCUS on one task. FOCUS on one goal.

Because today, more than ever, focus is way more important than your intelligence.

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New Initiative Launched to Restore Memories and a Legacy

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On Tuesday January 30th, Thirty Years After (30 YA) hosted the Legacy Launch, one of their largest, most innovative and interactive projects to date, at the Ahyra Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills.

Sam Yebri, President of Thirty Years After, explains the Legacy Project, “The Project is a grassroots initiative that will help preserve and honor the Iranian  Jewish experience through video for future generations,  and provide an opportunity for every family to capture their parents’  and grandparents’ most compelling memories and anecdotes before it is  too late.”

Doors opened to guest at 7:00 pm where they were greeted with smiles from 30 YA volunteers and staff members. The lobby was packed with guests who were treated to wonderful Iranian street food not often seen or eaten in the United States. The delicious cuisine included Labu (beets baked in their own juice, and typically served steaming hot in a street cart during the dead of winter), Baghali (beans topped with spices, typically served the same way as Labu), Dizi (a meat mash/stew– usually made with lamb, but made with beef and chickpeas at our event), Shohleh Zard (saffron rice pudding), Chos-e-fil (otherwise known as popcorn) and Mahi-Cheh Polo (herbed rice with beef shanks).

The large number of attendees was a testament to the genuine and unprecedented support for the new generation of leaders of the Los Angeles Iranian-American Jewish community.  The printed program for the event listed over 25 generous families and businesses that supported the Legacy Launch and congratulated 30 YA on celebrating their 10 year anniversary.

This event was magical because of the broad range of emotions experienced just by being shoulder to shoulder with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins born in Tehran. Sadness is one emotion that could have been felt while standing in the room, because of all of the untold stories that were not recorded, told or heard. How many stories have we “missed out” on because family members have passed away, younger generations have gone off to college, or simply because we took time for granted? At the Legacy Launch, time stood still for a few hours for the sake of a community recording the past, but very aware of time, embracing beloved memories on video, but also progressively moving toward the future.

Yebri explained, “Our history informs our present and powers our future. This is especially true when our families and community have such a rich legacy of inspiring memories and experiences in Iran and during our exodus to America.  30 Years After  is thrilled to launch ‘The Legacy Project’ as part of the organization’s 10th anniversary celebration.”

Bobby Zolekhian, former President of Nessah Young Professionals expressed, “It was one of the most inspirational events I have been to. I am recruiting people to share their stories. This is something extraordinary!”

Featured guest speakers during the screening included Mrs. Susan Azizzadeh, President of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, Dr. Saba Soomekh, Assistant Director of Interreligious and Intercommunity Affairs at AJC, Megan Nemandoust, Margalit Rosenthal, Liora Simozar and 30 YA President, Sam Yebri.

The dynamic presentation of the screening and its intimate interviews clearly validated that the second and third generations of Iranian Jews growing up in the United States are confidently embracing their unspoken responsibility to record the stories of generations before them for a purpose with a greater cause– maintaining their identity, culture, and traditions.

Learn more about preserving your legacy with 30 YA at https://legacy.30yearsafter.org/

 

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december, 2019

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