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music and addiction

8/17/12 3:13pm

Flaming Lips to Release Album About Addiction

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Drozd (center) with bandmates, is doing
better. Photo via

The title of the upcoming Flaming Lips album The Terror may provide some insight into the dark inspiration behind it. Frontman Wayne Coyne revealed that the main influence behind the record was the drug addiction of fellow band member Steven Drozd, who is now recovering. “It was probably the worst time of his life,” says Coyne. “I knew he was really, really struggling. He was in a bad way.” Instead of working with the band on recording new music, Drozd holed up in a different studio to record a series of “horribly creepy” tracks, the melodies of which will actually make it on to several songs of the new album. “Not all the pieces were audible, but he had these things saying ‘you are not alone,’ and then the other voice saying, ‘I am not alone.’ Back and forth between some horrible internal dialogue. It was truly devastating,” Coyne says. Drozd was hospitalized before a Florida show in 2010 due to an alleged overdose and his crippling battle with addiction was depicted in the 2005 Flaming Lips documentary The Fearless Freaks. The Terror is scheduled to be released sometime this fall. 

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By McCarton Ackerman

binge drinking

8/17/12 2:00pm

Binge Drinking Linked to Unemployment for Women

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Are the consequences greater for women?
Photo via

It may seem obvious that drinking heavily could make it hard to hold down a job, but a new study from Sweden claims that binge drinking specifically among women is linked to long-term unemployment. Researchers at the Karolinka Institute analyzed data from two surveys, one from 2002 and one from 2007, that looked at habits of more than 13,000 Swedes who were unemployed or on leave. Study participants were between 20-59 years old and 55% of them were women. Binge drinking in the survey was defined as consuming more than 12 ounces of spirits in 2002, but was redefined in 2007 as six or more drinks, or roughly eight ounces of spirits. Both male and female binge drinkers shared the same initial characteristics of being younger, and having fewer educational qualifications—although men showed a greater history of previous unemployment. However, the female binge drinkers were found to have a much higher likelihood of long-term unemployment than men. “For women, binge drinking once a week or more as a predictor was associated with long-term unemployment,” says study co-author Mona C. Backhans, Ph.D.. "These gender differences reflect the fact that frequent binge drinking is probably a stronger marker for problem drinking for women, as it less common, and not 'normalized' to the extent that it is for men." However, Backhans also admitted the study's measure may be biased because the definition of binge drinking was the same for both men and women, even though women's tolerance levels are traditionally lower.

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By McCarton Ackerman

Celebrities

8/17/12 12:47pm

Celebrity Roundup: August 17, 2012

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Brown gives rehab another go. Photo via

After a rough spring, Bobby Brown is back in rehab: The legendary R&B crooner and the ex-husband of the late Whitney Houston has faced his own battles with addiction, and his rep confirmed in an official statement that Brown had checked himself into a “confidential rehabilitation center” to pursue treatment related to his alcohol use. Here’s hoping that this leads him to a new edition—of his sobriety.

Despite the popularity of methadone as a treatment for heroin addicts, actor/comedian (and Katy Perry’s ex-husband) Russell Brand, a former junkie himself, has come out swinging against methadone treatment: “We might as well let people carry on taking drugs if they're going to be on methadone," he said. Brand advocates for abstinence-based recovery, saying that while abstinence can be painful, “at least it’s hope-based.” 

Creed frontman Scott Stapp may be better known for his inspirational Christian post-grunge anthems than for being a legit rock-and-roll bad boy, but the reformed singer is planning to tell all in a new memoir which will detail his battles with alcoholism and drug addiction. “My memoir reveals never before released details about my life and the challenges I've faced before coming to grips and finding sobriety,” he explained in a statement. 

Despite having a plea of not guilty entered by her attorney at the initial hearing several weeks ago, former adult film star Jenna Jameson pled guilty to charges of DUI at her pretrial hearing on August 16 in Orange County, stemming from her car accident in May where she was arrested under the influence of alcohol, Ambien, and Suboxone. She was sentenced to 3 years of informal probation and an alcohol education program—not that the bestselling author of How to Make Love Like a Porn Star needs any more education.

Joe Simpson, father of singers Jessica and Ashlee Simpson and one of the rare celebrity "dadagers," was charged this week with misdemeanor DUI stemming from his August 4 arrest in Sherman Oaks, which saw him voluntarily blowing a .12 after having “a few glasses of wine with dinner.” A source claims that Joe “learned a very important lesson from it all.” Maybe next time he’ll take the field sobriety test instead.

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By Sam Lansky

Rehab makeover

8/17/12 11:45am

Non-Profit Rehab Gets Free Makeover

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Beit T'Shuvah's new Room 211

Think Extreme Home Makeover: Rehab Edition. Los Angeles non-profit Beit T'Shuvah—a full-service congregation and residential rehab housing 120 men and women—has received a free facelift via the goodwill of 50 interior designers. A project called "Designed From The Heart," led by LA designer Heidi Bendetson, completely revamped 43 primary rooms at no cost to the facility. And because each room's designer had total creative control, no two look alike: one room looks like the Gramercy Park Hotel, one resembles a Georgia O’Keefe retrospective, another comes over like a Shabby Chic showroom. The project took five months to complete and was unveiled late last month. "We're in the serious business of recovery and don't have time to worry about how things look," said Beit T'Shuvah's founder and CEO Harriett Rossetto. "But once I saw the rooms taking shape, I realized that beautiful surroundings can be empowering. They will help to give our residents the confidence they need to begin to live a new way of life."

Beit T'Shuvah's COO, Spiritual Leader and Head Rabbi Mark Borovitz—an ex-con and recovering alcoholic who's been sober 23 years—agrees. "Addiction is a statement to the world that says 'I don't matter' and one of our big messages to our residents is that you do matter," he tells The Fix. "This design project has told our residents that their recovery matters to someone and that people really do care about them. It has changed their actions and literally saved lives. We were unsure whether or not some people would pull it together, but knowing someone put in that much effort for them gave them a new lease on life." Each room's designer interviewed the person currently living in that room beforehand to get a sense of what was important to their recovery and their life—producing custom-made results. "Things like asking residents to make their bed used to be a problem before, but now they take pride in their room," says Borovitz. "It looks like a boutique hotel. They wake up and say, 'Wow, this was made for me.'"

Beit T'Shuvah's Room 239 before the designer makeover:

And Room 239 after:

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By McCarton Ackerman

cellphone addiction

8/17/12 10:59am

84% of the World is "Addicted to Cellphones"

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It's a global, mobile addiction. Photo via

Dependence on mobile devices has gone global—with a study conducted by TIME Magazine finding that 84% of people worldwide claim they couldn’t go a single day without their checking their phones. The researchers polled around 5,000 people from eight countries including the UK, India, South Korea, China, Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States; they found that one in four people check their phones every 30 minutes, and one in five check it every ten minutes. “It’s hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones,” writes Nancy Gibbs, TIME’s Deputy Managing Editor. “Only money comes close—always at hand, don’t leave home without it. But most of us don’t take a wallet to bed with us,” she adds, noting that a smartphone “can replace your wallet now anyway.” Being dependent on cell phones also appears to have mental and physical effects, according to Gibbs. “There’s a smartphone gait: the slow sidewalk weave that comes from being lost in conversation rather than looking where you’re going,” she writes. “Thumbs are stronger, attention shorter, temptation everywhere: We can always be, mentally, digitally, someplace other than where we are.” As the numbers suggest, cell phones dependence is not confined to the wealthy. Gibbs says: “In many parts of the world, more people have access to a mobile device than to a toilet or running water.”

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By Valerie Tejeda

Headlines

8/17/12 5:00am

Morning Roundup: August 17, 2012

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A sticky, sticky, sticky situation. Photo via

By Chrisanne Grise

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