The Critical Role of Vitamin A and C In Restoring Balance In Recovery

Spiritual-Adrenaline-Vitamin-A-and-C-In-recoveryIt’s important to know each of the vitamins and their role in our bodies. Moreover, it is critical to know where to get these vitamins in the way nature intended: through our food. Supplements work, but they’re manufactured, and not as potent as the real deal. There is no better way to get your nutrients than through real food that either grew in the earth or walked on it (apologies to our vegetarians.)

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps maintain the health of our skin and eyes.

Signs of vitamin A deficiency include night blindness, dry eyes, clouded vision and rough skin.

Vitamin A is found in the following foods: fish, eggs, green and yellow vegetables, and dairy products.

For people in recovery, Vitamin A helps neutralize skin damage from years of substance abuse, and helps restore skin health, which enhances appearance.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for bone health, collagen formation in our skin, overall skin health, and vascular function. It is also well known that vitamin C strengthens our immune system, and helps to prevent colds and flu.

Signs of Vitamin C deficiency include inflammation in and around the mouth and tooth loss.

Vitamin C is found in the following foods: tomatoes, cabbage, and citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and kiwi.

Vitamin C is critical as studies have shown that the B vitamins and vitamin C may be responsible for much of the lethargy, skin irritation, memory loss and depression experienced by people who are newly recovering from an addiction to alcohol.


Recommended reading: Food for Recovery, Dr. Joseph Beasley and Susan Knightly, Crown Trade Publishing, 1993, Nutritional Supplements, Joe Canon, MS, Infinity Publishing, 2008, The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Andrew W. Saul, Basic Health Publications, 2008.

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Why Nicotine Substitution is Not An Effective Way To Stop Smoking

I know there will be lots of folks out there who disagree with the recommendations in this blog:  That is understandable.   I look forward to a respectful discussion on our blog about quitting smoking, on the contents of this blog and what worked for you.

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What Motivates Your Recovery?

Spiritual AdrenalineI went with my friend to the fortieth anniversary of Insight Meditation. Two of Insight’s founders, Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein spoke about their journey, which began in India in 1970, to founding the Insight Meditation Center and movement.  As part of the event here was a question and answer period with the audience.

A Young Lawyer’s Motive to Practice Meditation

Among those who asked questions was a young man who introduced himself as an aspiring lawyer who worked in a highly competitive large law firm.  He indicated that he had come to the event because he had heard meditation makes the mind much more disciplined and efficient.  He saw meditation as an opportunity to get an advantage over other young attorneys at the firm, get promoted to partner and make more money.   He then said he recognized his motivation to learn meditation revolved around gaining a professional or material advantage rather than “spiritual” growth.  He asked if his materially-based motive was problematic and might impact his success.

Sharon’s Response, Meditation and Impermanence

Sharon’s answer was very interesting.   She stated that it really doesn’t matter what his motives are at the present as his present motives were not that important in the large scheme of things.   What was important was his decision to begin a practice.    She reiterated that the fact that he made it to the event and to begin the journey should be his focus.

Sharon then gave the example of her motives for going to India in 1970 to learn about meditation.  She went through the litany of changes in her underlying motivation over time.   As she become more experienced in meditation and was able to look deeper into her inner-self, her motives continued to evolve and grow.   She shared that her motives for continuing to practice meditation when she left India were different than when she arrived. Finally, she shared  her motives for engaging in the practice over the last forty years and how her motives continue to evolve as she evolves and changes.

Her answer really got my attention as it reflects the Buddhist concept of impermanence.    The present really only lasts for one second and then everything is subject to change.  Just as the present is fleeting, so are our motives.

My Motivation in Recovery

 When I first came into recovery my motives were desperation. Really, it was about surviving and trying to clean up the mess I had created for myself.    Over time and as things improved, I started to embrace the process and actually enjoy it.  My motives for remaining active in recovery changed as  I was enjoying the process and was excited about learning new things. Over time, my priorities changed again to wanting to explore new areas of interest, namely nutrition and exercise and how those two lifestyle choices impact my happiness and sobriety.

My motive today for remaining active in recovery is to maintain my spiritual condition and to perform service in the context of sharing the Spiritual Adrenaline lifestyle with all of you.   I recognize that I cannot keep what I have without giving it away to others.  Spiritual Adrenaline allows me to engage in service and thereby help others and myself in the process.

As Sharon articulated so well and as confirmed by my own experience, motives are as fleeting as time and are impermanent.

My motive for remaining in recovery went from desperation to spiritual maintenance in five years and I am excited to see how it continues to evolve in the future.

What is you motive at the present?  What was it when you came in?  Has it changed and if so, why?   I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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Amanda Buck Interview Part 2 – How I Melted Away 200 Pounds and Got My Life Back

This week we look at Part 2 of our three-part series regarding Amanda Buck and her transformation from 415 pounds and physically sick to a lean and passionate personal trainer at Equinox gym at Rockefeller Center in New York City.   The focus this week is her experience, or how she came to recognize the problem and begin her journey towards the solution. I hope you enjoy the blog post and maybe learn something new.

Part 1 

Part 3



What is GABA and How Can it Improve Your Recovery

tom 7You may have never heard about GABA, which stands for Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, but in recovery, it is a critically important hormone as it has a calming effect on the brain.

GABA, is a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages through the brain and the nervous system.  GABA is involved in regulating communication between brain cells.  The role of GABA is to inhibit or reduce the activity of the neurons or nerve cells.  GABA plays an important role in behavior, cognition, and the body’s response to stress.

Research suggests that GABA helps to control fear and anxiety when neurons become overexcited.  Lower-than-normal levels of GABA in the brain have been linked to depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.

Why People In Recovery Should Care About GABA

Benzodiazepines, very popular and very much abused, work by increasing the efficiency of GABA to decrease the excitability of neurons. This reduces the communication between neurons and, therefore, has a calming effect on many of the functions of the brain.  However, over time, the brain may lose its ability to produce GABA due to the long-term exposure to not only benzo’s, but other substances that interfere with the process (alcohol and many drugs).

However, the body has an amazing capacity to heal.  Even after years of substance abuse, you can restore GABA levels and help restore proper brain function.

How do you this?


You can immediately start to address the issue by taking the proper dosage of L-Glutamine and a Vitamin B MEGA Complex.   It is critically important that you get a blood test and consult with your doctor, to ensure you are getting the proper amount of GABA for your body based upon your age, weight, medical history and overall health.


According to Dr. Eric Braverman, one the world’s leading experts on brain function, the following foods contain glutamic acid/glutamate, and should be included in your diet to help naturally increase GABA production:  Almonds; banana; broccoli; brown rice; halibut; lentils; whole grain oats; oranges; potato; rice bran; spinach; walnuts; and whole wheat.


Exercise helps restore levels of all brain neurotransmitters, including GABA.   I recommend working out for at least thirty minutes three times a week.   For those just getting started, I recommend a mix of weight training (twenty minutes) and cardiovascular (ten minutes).

You can visit for our recommendations.   You will find them on our Recovery Exercise page.

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