The holiday season can be trying for anyone. But for sober folks, the cold, crowded days between Thanksgiving and New Year are the most daunting and difficult of the year. Ron Tannebaum and Ken Pomerance, founders of InTheRooms.com—a social network for people in recovery, which turned turned three years old in October—appreciate the impact of holiday stress. “We have a lot of tools that help keep our members connected so they don't feel alone, isolated and vulnerable,” Ron Tannebaum tells The Fix.
InTheRooms.com's 180,000 members have access to online, real-time virtual meetings, discussions, forums, affinity groups, a meeting finder, downloadable recordings of speakers, an IPhone app and more. Some members host themed conferences specially for the holidays, such as "Holiday Hiccups," tomorrow at 10 pm. Another important tool for the festive season is a “Burning Desire Button”—for anyone who's on the edge, help is one click away.
While Pomerance and Tannebaum admit, “You can’t hug a computer," they're adamant that "people struggling with illness need an outlet.” For many people around the world, who can't physically access a group for whatever reason—particularly during the dreaded holidays, with their alcohol rituals and sad memories—ITR is more than just the next best thing. It’s a lifeline.
At least one unidentified man is stalking through Berlin's outdoor Christmas markets, giving drugged alcoholic shots to young women. At 10pm yesterday a man dressed as Santa approached two 15-year-old girls at the Alexanderplatz market, offering them each a shot in a paper cup. One girl refused, but her friend downed both. She soon started vomiting and had to be taken to hospital—police said she was given a date rape drug. She's the ninth victim of such an attack at the German capital's traditional Christmas markets this year; a 31-year-old woman and her 33-year-old male companion came forward yesterday, after hearing the latest report, to say they suffered a similar drugging on December 7. The victims have all have been approached by a lone man, often asking them to join in celebrating the birth of his first child with a shot. He's been described as 40 years old and five-foot-nine. Cops are trying to establish whether all the attacks are linked. The symptoms caused by the unnamed drug include dizziness, nausea and loss of consciousness.
A new study published in the January issue of the journal Addiction has found what every college kid with a fake ID learns early in their drinking career: “The more alcohol you drink, the stronger becomes your intention to engage in unsafe sex.” That may seem obvious, but the article—written by Dr. Jurgen Rehm of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto—claims that there was still lingering doubt in the scientific community that one thing led to another. “Heavy drinking,” writes Dr. Rehm, has long been known to lead to higher HIV incidence, but experts still argue over whether it's the booze that causes the poor judgement or the character of the drinker. “Researchers weren’t sure if alcohol consumption caused HIV via unsafe sex, or whether certain personality traits in individuals, such as sensation-seeking or a disposition to risky behavior in general, would lead to both alcohol use and unsafe sex.” It turns out it's alcohol.
In spite of Major League Baseball's comprehensive drug testing system, the issue continues to plague the sport. National League MVP Ryan Braun, left fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. The league maintains the result showed " insanely high" levels of synthetic testosterone. But Braun denies the claim, calling it "BS." His representatives say there's an innocent explanation. If the result is upheld, Braun will receive a 50-game suspension and could possibly be stripped of his MVP title. The Brewers' front office is asking that judement be reserved. But given the evidence, the odds look daunting: no test has ever been overturned in an appeal process since the current system was introduced in 2004. Braun's hearing will take place in January. Perhaps he's familiar with the defense of former Olympic sprinter Dennis Mitchell, who explained an abnormally high testosterone reading in 1998 by claiming to have drunk five bottles of beer and had sex with his wife "at least" four times the previous night: "It was her birthday, the lady deserved a treat." His defense was accepted by USA Track and Field, but not by the IAAF.
- Heroin Industry Growing in Arizona [Tucson Citizen]
- Father Gives Epileptic Five-Year-Old Son Marijuana Extract [Nine MSN]
- Alcohol Still a Bigger Threat Than "Distracted Driving" [Wall Street Journal]
- Painkillers and Sedatives Stolen From Fire Station [The Aspen Times]
- Two Senior Policemen Took Cocaine at Work Party [Herald Sun]
- Alleged Drunk Driver Smashes Into Nursing Home [TwinCities.com]
- Drunk Santas Take Over Major Cities [Daily Mail]
Customs agents on the US-Mexico border arrested a Mexican citizen for attempting to smuggle methamphetamine stuffed inside two partially-emptied cans of nacho cheese sauce and one can of jalapenos. The driver told the agents he was returning to the US after shopping for groceries in Mexico. But they smelled a rat when the cans seemed too heavy to contain merely cheese and jalapenos. With the help of an X-ray machine, the agents discovered seven pounds of meth—worth an estimated $140,000—smothered in cheese sauce.