Can Controlled Violence Help Beat Addiction?

Rising MMA star Claudia Gadelha credits her training in combat sports with helping her beat drug addiction. Could it work for others?

Claudia Gadelha is five-foot-three and weighs 115 pounds. She’s a law student at a university in Rio de Janeior, Brazil. She’s also one of the toughest women on the planet.

Gadelha is a mixed martial artist competing in the strawweight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). A champion in Brazilian jiu jitsu, she started training when she was fifteen years old. As MMA became more popular, she saw an opportunity to have a career as a mixed martial artist and made the transition to competing in that sport in 2008. She is currently the #2 female strawweight, and the #10 best fighter pound-for-pound in the world.

She began training because as a teenager she realized that she needed a focus in her life. In an interview (1), she said that she was having family issues and wanted help.

“That was when I started using drugs. I did everything: using (cocaine), smoking marijuana. Sports got me out of drugs when I was 15. I wanted to start working out and doing exercises, but my mother wouldn’t let me. At first, I started working out without telling her. I remember I skipped school to go to the gym.”

Gadelha says that, like many young people, she enjoyed partying, going out and drinking with friends.

“Sports gave me another idea of life. I saw that if I went out the night before, I wouldn’t be able to train well the next morning.”

Another young person who found help with his personal problems was boxer Mike Tyson. Although now he’s known more for the personal and financial problems that made headlines several years ago, when he first took up boxing he was an angry and violent young man. (By the age of thirteen, Tyson had been arrested 38 times.) Recently Tyson revealed that he had been sexually assaulted when he was seven years old.

Upon being sent to a detention center for young boys, Tyson took up boxing, and a trainer there thought he had promise. He introduced Tyson to Cus d’Amato, who eventually adopted the young man. In addition to his boxing training, d’Amato implemented a self-help regimen that essentially transformed Tyson into a boxing champion. Tyson has said that if not for Cus d’Amato, he would probably have died at a young age. While not curing all of Tyson’s emotional and drug-related issues, boxing helped focus on something other than getting into trouble, and saved his life.

While engaging in organized sports has proven successful in helping many people recover from addiction, the particular focus required in combat sports may be one of the most effective tools in beating substance abuse. That discipline may spread to other parts of a person’s life, providing them with an effective weapon against falling prey.

(1) “Sports helped UFC strawweight Claudia Gadelha beat drug addiction

Drug Use Varies Depending on Your Region

Lucas County in northwestern Ohio borders with Michigan. Its county seat and largest city is Toledo. It’s also suffering from an epidemic of heroin use that is far above the national average. Local law enforcement and drug treatment professionals struggle with the reasons why.

Lucas County is not alone in trying to address a drug problem that exists without a proper explanation. Asking Why? Is one of the main activities among drug researchers whose job is to discover the causes of drug use. A recent article1 in the Huffingon Post included maps showing regional drug use involving various factors.

A Few Interesting Facts Leap Out
More people smoke marijuana along the west coast (Washington, Oregon, California) and in the northeast (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts.)

More Are Dying From Drug Use
A big switch happened around the turn of the century: More people began dying from drug use rather than from drinking.

Heroin and opiate use are especially prevalent in the northeast.

Several states in the midwest (Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee) have more meth labs (and meth lab “incidents.”)

Regional Drug Use Explained
Some regional drug use can be easily explained. Alcohol consumption will be higher in cities with universities, as college students assume their adult lives by getting drunk and taking inappropriate photos of themselves to post on Instagram. Pot smoking will be higher in states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized. Higher drug use of all kinds can be expected along routes where drug smuggling crosses borders and makes its way to large cities.

However, the question facing law enforcement and drug treatment specialists is how do particular types of drugs become dominant in certain areas, when there’s no logical explanation? Lucas County and the city of Toledo struggle to find answers to this question. Heroin use here continues to rise, while nationally heroin use has leveled off. Availability has been cited as one source, but the “chicken and the egg” paradox arises – Is heroin more readily available because of increased demand? Or is heroin use higher because it’s so readily available?

Finding The Answers To How And Why?
Researchers continue their work in this area, struggling to find the causes for mysterious regional drug use variability. Finding the answer to these questions may provide the answer to how and why drug use begins everywhere.

Balancing Act Continues at Transformations

Today Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center’s

Dr. Maureen Esposito taped several upcoming segments for the ”Balancing Act Television Show”.

The footage will air starting around the holidays on the Lifetime Television.

Pictured here is the show’s host, Olga Villaverde, Jeanne, Balancing Act’s producer along with Dr. Esposito and Stephanie, one of Transformations Center’s staff.

Robin Thicke Blurred Lines

Robin Thicke – The Lines Were More Blurred Than We Thought

Reminiscent Of Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up”
The song of the summer for 2013 was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” It’s naughty lyrics and video, combined with its cool groove, reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” and hot performer made it the must-listen track of the season. Now in court with Marvin Gaye’s children over just how reminiscent it is of their father’s song, Thicke has been forced to reveal more about himself than he intended.

Thicke and the producer of the song, Pharrell Williams, gave depositions in Los Angeles federal court regarding the authorship of the song, its influences, and its similarities to “Got to Give It Up.” The similarities were so pronounced and commented upon that Thicke & Co. filed a preemptive lawsuit against Gaye’s children to prevent legal accusations of plagiarism. Thicke’s deposition was revealed to the public in September, and that’s when things started getting weird.

Upon being questioned about his part in the creation of the song, Thicke admitted that previous versions he’d told in public were false, and that he had little to no part in the writing of the song. In fact, he was high during the recording session when he was there. From the official transcript:


Were you present during the creation of ‘Blurred Lines’?

Thicke: I was present. Obviously, I sang it. I had to be there.


When the rhythm track was being created, were you there with Pharrell?

Thicke: “To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio. So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit.

Thicke also admitted in subsequent interviews that he hardly remembers previous comments he made to the media because he “had a drug and alcohol problem for the year” and “didn’t do a sober interview.” The performer admitted that when he had an interview with Oprah Winfrey he was drunk and taking Norco, “which is like taking two Vicodin in one pill.”

Thicke Claimed That He Had Been Sober
In his deposition Thicke, claimed that he had been sober for many months… which he later clarified by saying that he was off of Vicodin but still drank alcohol.

It’s pretty clear that Robin Thicke exhibits traits that many drug users can identify with, denial and deception about their addictions. Our greatest hope is that he gets the help he needs before he does more harm to his reputation, his career, his family, and especially to himself.

Prayers to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

Prayers and Well-Wishes to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

Over the last several months we’ve written several times about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford before “Alcohol Addiction and Promises” and discussed a number of the problems he has faced with his addictions to alcohol and various drugs. His high-profile antics have stimulated discussions on drug use, drug addiction, alcoholism, and the pressures that people in the public eye encounter. It’s only fair that we try to keep readers up to date on the latest problems that he’s facing.

In September, Ford was hospitalized with a possible tumor in his stomach. His brother Doug said that Ford had complained of stomach pains for the last three months and that they had worsened in the previous twenty-four hours. Ford visited his doctor, who admitted him into the hospital for tests. It was later revealed that Ford had a rare and unusual form of cancer, which his doctor said made it difficult to predict Ford’s chances for recovery.

As a result of his illness, Ford withdrew from his campaign to repeat as Toronto’s mayor, and his brother Doug replaced him on the ballot. Rob Ford subsequently made a campaign appearance for his brother, giving a speech with a voice that had just begun to show the effects of treatment.

Earlier this month, Ford drove to a polling station to cast his ballot for his brother. Reports were that he moved slowly down the steps to the church basement where he voted, but that he was too weak to take the steps back up. An elevator was made available, and he rode it to street level so he could return to his vehicle. Reporters interviewed the mayor, but his voice was barely a whisper, due to the cancer treatments he has been receiving.

Ford’s father reportedly had a similar cancer, so the genetic predisposition toward developing cancer is a strong argument for why Rob Ford contracted the disease. It’s inarguable, however, that his drug use and alcoholism were likely factors in weakening his body’s ability to resist. Ford’s doctor described him as a very strong man, but between the cancer and his years of drug use, his body may finally be giving out on him.

We extend to Ford our highest well-wishes and prayers, that he is able to fight off all of his diseases.