Heroin: A Dangerous, Deadly and Addictive Drug


No matter what type you’re using and how you’re using it, heroin is a dangerous and deadly drug due to its effect on the brain and the opiate receptors that are located on your brain’s neurons. Withdrawal symptoms can be frightening and painful, but do fade away after a period of weeks. Cravings, unfortunately, can last for years after your recovery efforts and treatment begin.

Methods of Ingestion

Regardless of how heroin enters your body, there are certain risks associated with heroin addiction.

Many feel that smoking heroin through a pipe is one of the “safest” methods because it can allow the most control over how the product is ingested. When mixed with water or other liquids, heroin can be smoked with opiate pipes or through other methods. Interestingly enough, this may be the way most beginners get started with heroin as it doesn’t carry the same stigma that injection drug use carries.

What appeals to many people about injecting heroin is that when it goes straight into your veins, you experience a very quick and intense rush.

Inhaling, or snorting, powdered heroin is rising in popularity again due to the concerns of younger people around sharing needles. However, powdered heroin can be cut with other products such as a powdered milk or even rat poison, causing significant decay to nasal passages as well as the negative effects of the drug itself.

Types of Heroin

There are many varieties of heroin, all of which can be dangerous and cut with deadly products, making it nearly impossible for anyone to know what is truly being taken into their body. Some of the main types that you’ll find are:

  • Black heroin
  • White heroin
  • Brown heroin
  • Tar heroin

No matter how long you have been suffering from heroin addiction, there is a treatment available that can help your recovery efforts. Understanding the dangers of heroin use is the first step in a decision to get clean, and My12StepStore.com supports your efforts by offering a variety of options such as 12 Step chips and medallions.

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Make a Difference this October and Celebrate Your Recovery

Make a Difference this October and Celebrate Your Recovery

Across the country, there is one special day in October where people of all shapes, sizes, races, and nationalities come together: National Make a Difference Day, which is always celebrated the fourth Sunday in October. Recovering from an addiction can be a tough road, but the three legacies of addiction recovery are recovery, unity, and service, which makes Make a Difference Day the ideal time to come together with others dealing with addiction to share service in the world. Regardless of where you are in your recovery journey, helping others can help you come together around a common goal that is larger than you.


The day you start recovery could well be the first step toward the rest of your life one day at a time. The internal work that is required during recovery can be deep and spiritual, and happens within a structured framework that has withstood the test of time.


When individuals struggling with addiction come together, the rules that govern their communication and time together are the unity pillar of the three legacies. Together we can do what you couldn’t do alone. Understanding why individuals must work together to provide a solid and united front to the world can be explained with the unity theme.


While anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all the traditions, service is one of the most important final steps that brings everyone into the light of the larger world and look for ways to contribute to the greater good. Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery.  Make a Difference Day is only one of the many days that those recovering from addiction can feel personal pride in putting the needs of others before their own. Active maintenance of world services is one of the tenets that helps complete the circle of recovery and support others throughout the world.

Understanding what the three legacies of addiction stand for is an important first step on a road to recovery. Sharing this information and the love and friendship you have discovered as part of your journey is one of the key reasons to maintain the service aspect of your recovery. The needs in the world are great, and the ability of many to make a difference in the lives of individuals across the United States is a potent reminder of why recovery is so important not only to yourself but to friends and family members as well. Learn more about addiction on My12StepStore.com, where recovery resources such as these uplifting stories will help support your efforts.

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Top 5 Ways to Quit Smoking

Top 5 Ways to Quit Smoking

Smoking is an addiction that is shared by 1.1 billion people across the planet, making it arguably the most pervasive addiction in the world. More than 6 million deaths are caused by tobacco every year, which is only one of the many incentives for adults to quit smoking. It can be difficult to be successful breaking a habit that has been a part of your life for a long period of time, especially if the nicotine is part of the reason that you continue to smoke. While not all of these options will work for each person, we hope that by sharing these ideas you can select some that you think could help you take the first steps toward quitting smoking for good.

1. Avoid Triggers

Everyone has certain triggers in life — sounds, smells, thoughts or situations that can set off a landslide of emotions that leads to negative behaviors. When you are able to avoid smoking triggers, you have a much better shot at getting rid of those cigarettes for good. Common triggers include going outside with friends to smoke at a certain time of the day or spotting a pack of cigarettes left over in a drawer.

2. Stay Positive

It’s important to remember that you’re taking a positive step for your life when you quit smoking. Nicotine and tobacco can have serious negative effects on your life, and smoking causes everything from premature aging to painful cancers and death. Stay positive and think about all the wonderful things you can do with your life instead of smoking.

3. Stay Busy

If there are specific times that you would normally smoke such as when you’re with friends and you don’t have anything to do with your hands, try finding something to occupy your hands such as playing with a pen, pencil, or straw. Don’t let your hands be idle even if it means working puzzles.

4. Nicotine Replacement

Many cigarette smokers find a replacement such as chewing gum, but other behaviors can replace smoking as well, such as adding a nicotine patch, lozenges, or other forms of nicotine therapy. The goal is to make it easier to step down your addiction gradually instead of quitting all at once.

5. Go Cold Turkey

Depending on your personality type, you may find that your best chance of success to quit smoking is to go cold turkey and quit completely all at once. This can require a fair amount of self-talk, but experts have shown that going cold turkey is the single most effective way to quit smoking for good.

No matter how you choose to kick your addiction, My 12 Step Store has options that will help keep you motivated and focused. This collection of smoking cessation tools will help you get started on the path to wellness.

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Years of Addiction Can Take a Toll on Your Teeth

Very often, one of the first things that people see about you is your smile, and there’s plenty to smile about when you’re starting over after battling addiction. However, many people are embarrassed when they realize that years of neglect have had a powerful negative effect on the state of their teeth and gums. Recovering your smile is a simple step that can make a huge difference in boosting your outlook on life, but be sure that your dentist is prepared to handle some of the challenging oral health situations that occur because of addiction.

Protecting Your Health

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy can have a powerful effect on not only your overall outlook but on your personal health as well. Having a dentist thoroughly clean and care for your teeth and gums after a period of neglect can help stop the ravages of addiction and even reverse some of the problems with preventative maintenance.

Boosting Your Confidence

While a full smile rework can cost thousands of dollars, even a small change can make a big difference in your confidence levels if you’re suffering from damage to your teeth after addition. An ongoing lack of hygiene and poor dental care can leave you with significant devastation in your mouth, something that is not likely to help you feel good about yourself once you’ve made the decision to stay clean. However, many individuals who are struggling with addiction find that having a better oral health outlook can help them keep going when they otherwise might backslide into addiction.

Removing the Stigma

It’s hard to deny that there are certain stigmas about addiction, and one of the most prevalent is that addicts are not able to care for their teeth and thus have many challenges, such as missing teeth. Being able to go out into society without the negative perception of oral health problems can help remove the stigma associated with addiction in society today. The stigma isn’t always external, though, as many addicts tend to be hard on themselves and seeing their teeth in disarray on a daily basis can be disheartening at best.

If you’re battling your way back from addiction, don’t simply accept that you’re going to have to deal with pain from missing or damaged teeth the rest of your life. Instead, work with a dentist who can provide you the oral health care that you need and deserve. That will help you feel more positive and loved every time you peek in the mirror at your beautiful smile. Want to learn more about the road to recovery? Check out My 12 Step Store online for uplifting stories as well as medallions and chips to help celebrate the significant milestones in your life.

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5 Tips to Find Happiness in Your Recovery

Key to Happiness

Positive psychology teaches us that the key to avoiding negative emotions and succumbing to the stresses of life lies in cultivating a positive outlook on life. This may be especially true when you are in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, as stress and the resulting negative emotions may be enough to tip you over the edge and send you into a relapse. Learning to control your thoughts, attitudes and emotions is a valuable tool that can lead to experiencing happiness during your recovery. Follow these tips for raising your happiness score and making your life more enjoyable.

1. Change Your Thinking

How we think about ourselves and our lives has a major impact on us, but it isn’t always easy to maintain a positive and happy outlook. If you find yourself struggling with cultivating a positive attitude, try faking it until you feel it. While this may sound foreign or even dishonest at first, research shows that when you act as though you are happy your mind and body will soon follow. According to Changing Minds, the simple act of wearing a smile instead of a frown sets the stage for happier feelings. Likewise, choose your words wisely and use positive words in conversations.

2. Express Your Gratitude

Expressing gratitude releases a host of positive emotions and shifts your focus from the negative to the positive. Instead of dwelling on the aspects of your life that aren’t going as well as you had hoped or expected, shift gears and zone in on everything you have to be grateful for. If you find expressing gratitude difficult, start with the basics and give thanks for healthy food to eat, fresh air to breathe and eyes to see with. You will soon find yourself feeling gratitude for a host of things you may have overlooked before. Keeping a gratitude journal is a wonderful way to document your growth.

3. Practice Acceptance

Sometimes life takes interesting turns that don’t lead down the path you expected or hoped it would. Accepting the fact that your life is not perfect or your home doesn’t look like the perfect living spaces depicted in magazines can bring peace and comfort during your recovery. While you will still want to strive for your best, sometimes, accepting life as it is can bring you more happiness.

4. Be Forgiving

Holding on to grudges or taking everything personally can eat away at your happiness. Learning to view others as fallible human beings who sometimes say the wrong thing or use the wrong tone and forgiving them for their seeming transgressions can go a long way toward increasing your happiness. Likewise, forgiving yourself for poor decisions or actions in the past will free you to enjoy the present and experience more happiness.

5. Keep Busy

Sitting around waiting for your life to happen or circumstances to change often leads to negative thinking and unhappiness. Keeping yourself busy will get your mind off the things you don’t want in your life and focus your attention on positive things. Take up a new hobby, find a new passion or take the time to learn something new to improve your happiness during recovery.

Check out our store for books, posters, CDs and other inspirational products to help you in your recovery.

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Amazing Ways to Perform Random Acts of Kindness

Recovery from drug or alcohol abuse can be an exciting time filled with hope and dreams for a bright future, but the road isn’t always smooth sailing. Sometimes, you will encounter rough spots where you need a little help. Experiencing anxiety or feeling uncomfortable in social situations can be one of those rough spots. You may be surprised to learn that one of the easiest ways to lift yourself up and reduce those negative feelings during recovery  is by performing random acts of kindness.

How Do Random Acts of Kindness Help You?

Research has shown that showing kindness to others has several emotional and physical benefits. Consider these key research results that illustrate how kind acts can improve your health and well-being.

  • Increased happiness: Happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, from the University of California, Riverside, has found that performing kind or positive acts raises your level of happiness. She also notes that varying the acts appears to bring about a more positive state of mind. Repeatedly performing the same good deeds every day or every week may lose its happiness-boosting effects.
  • Reduced anxiety: A four-week study conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia revealed that when people with high levels of anxiety perform good deeds for others, they exhibit less social avoidance behaviors, experience more relationship satisfaction and experience more positive moods.
  • Lowered blood pressure:  In his book “Why Kindness is Good for You,” David R. Hamilton Ph.D., explains that kind acts cause an increase in the hormone oxytocin, which in turn causes a release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.

How Do You Perform Random Acts of Kindness?

The whole idea behind random acts of kindness is to perform good deeds for others when they are not expecting it, the acts do not need to be life-changing to be effective. While you could invest money in your attempts to perform kind acts, it isn’t necessary. Consider these ideas for good deeds you can perform for others:

  • Pay for the person behind you when going to a movie, standing in a line at a store or even when filling up the gas tank at the pumps.
  • Give someone an inspirational book for no reason. Tuck in a special bookmark to make it more meaningful.
  • Pick a bouquet of wildflowers for an elderly person or shut-in.
  • Bake cookies for the neighbors.
  • Shovel the steps for a neighbor after a snow storm.

Don’t limit your acts of kindness to specific gestures. Get in the habit of noticing what others need or enjoy and tailor your acts of kindness to them. For more ideas for simple gifts, check out My 12 Step Store.


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What We Love About My 12 Step Store (And You Should Too)

Celebrating National Recovery Month!

Celebrating National Recovery Month!

In honor of National Recovery Month, we thought it worth noting all the people, places and things that have helped us in our recovery. Whether it’s a dog, a sponsor, the thousands of meetings we have to choose from or simply buttered popcorn and Law and Order SVU (preferably together), After Partiers know they have a lot to be grateful for. And one of those things that belongs front and center on our list is the little sober shop of awesomeness that is My 12 Step Store.

Just For Us

Right in the heart of Boys Town, USA (aka West Hollywood, California), surrounded by rowdy bars and all the debauchery that comes with them, sits a quaint boutique just for us—people in recovery. Equipped with anything and everything a sober person could want—from The Big Book to bling medallions—this little shop packs a big crunch (like seriously, have you tried their HALT Granola? Delish!!)

We have frequented My 12 Step Store on countless occasions to fill all of our “Oh sh*t, it’s (insert BFF’s name here)’s sober birthday and she asked me to give her a cake tomorrow!” needs. Editor-in-Chief Anna David even hosted a party there. And we have scored amazing mugs, t-shirts, books, key chains, greeting cards and other unique soberiffic trinkets that could only be appreciated by our brood. Seriously, where else are you going to snag a “What Happens in Rehab Stays in Rehab” tee?

Boutique with a Heart of Gold

But there is actually a lot more to My 12 Step Store than just neat gifts. RJ Holguin, who opened the WeHo boutique 13 years ago, is sober himself and is adamant about only hiring people who are also in recovery. This allows him to have salespeople who are not only knowledgeable about the products but understand addiction as well. Holguin also feel strongly about supporting the local sober community (call it a living AMENDmints)

“I’ve hired most of my employees when they are six months to a year sober so oftentimes, it’s their first sober job,” Holguin says. “While this can be an exciting step for newcomers, it also comes with a lot of challenges that most of us experienced in our first year in recovery.”

Still, this has worked out well as many of Holguin’s former employees are not only still sober but have gone on to become therapists, chefs, journalists, business owners and mangers—some have even earned PhDs. In short, My 12 Step Store isn’t only there to sell recovery literature and gifts but also in the “business,” says Holguin, “of offering hope” (and RESENTmints!)


On the Boulevard or the World Wide Web

As most of us know firsthand, a major part of staying sane and happy in sobriety is helping others—whether that’s through sponsoring another alcoholic or addict, taking a call from a friend in need or helping a customer find the perfect gift for someone in recovery. That is why My 12 Step Store is a much-needed entity, reaching far beyond its clever gifts. However, clever gifts they have a plenty! And its comprehensive and user-friendly website expands its reach to grateful customers all over the world.

So this month, we say join us in celebrating National Recovery Month by gifting a cherished friend, someone you may have had a falling out with or a sponsor or sponsee with a “Make Love Not Meth” t-shirt or a “Grateful I’m Not Dead” magnet or even just a simple Steven Tyler “One Day at a Time” postcard to let them know how much you value them in your life. In our book, nothing could get you over a resentment like giving someone some RESENTmints.

Article by: After Party Magazine, Danielle Stewart

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How to Schedule Your Day: Use 24 Hours to Your Full Advantage

Everyone gets 24 hours in a day, and how you use that time can affect your recovery. If you schedule time that is productive and valuable, but that also gives you plenty of time for healthy, joyous things to do, you can help put your addiction in the past and keep it there. If you aren’t sure how to schedule things, though, it can be difficult to get a handle on your day. Here are some things to consider when you start to make plans for your day. Keeping a calendar or daily planner is key in organizing and maximizing your day .

Take Your Day in Small Pieces

When you remind yourself of how far you have come and you portion out where you are headed next, it can be easier to get things done. To do that, you should take your day in smaller pieces or manageable chunks, instead of all at once. That can mean choosing to break your day up into morning, afternoon, and evening options, or even further into hour-by-hour decisions or plans. You don’t have to get overwhelmed with things to do in order to see good progress, and you can often get much more done when you focus on small things one at a time.  The slogan “One Day at a Time” is about 24 hours in a day to accomplish your goals for the day. In recovery the journey is about a lifetime of many 24 hour periods.

Visualize Goals for Motivation

Part of your day should be spent focused on the goals you want to achieve. Take some time to visualize where you are headed, and how important your recovery is to you. By reading inspirational books, you can find additional ways to see what matters to you, and how much you can accomplish. As you see your goals coming true, you will naturally stay more motivated to move toward even bigger goals. While these types of goals may not have seemed manageable in the past, meeting smaller goals more often will bring larger goals into focus and help you stay motivated to make your dreams come true.

To get the help you need you must live your life in victory and start using more of your day to your biggest advantage, check out everything that My 12 Step Store has to offer.

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There are Great (Sober) Ways to Honor Labor Day

Honoring Labor Day can be important to many people, celebrate your own accomplishments of work, give thanks for the job you have and the workforce of people that directly support your life. Remember that many people use it as a reason to enjoy a few drinks, too. Fortunately, you don’t have to drink to have a good time. Instead, you can do something inspiring but also fun. Since you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day, why not throw a dry party where everyone wears white? It’s also a wonderful advertisement for sobriety since white is such a clean color. You can have your own parade, or even spend time giving back to others through volunteering or charity work. There’s always something great to do that’s sober and enjoyable.

Honor Labor Day the Sober Way with Friends

It’s always fun to do things with friends, as long as they understand your recovery so they can take care to stay sober around you. While you’re out doing something enjoyable with them, make sure you wear something comfortable that really makes a statement. Then you can share how important staying sober is to you and help your friends have a great time, as well. Why not get your group together and spend the day helping people who are less fortunate? It’s a beautiful reminder of how far you’ve come and that others still need help, as well.

What if You’re By Yourself During Recovery?

If you find that you’re by yourself, you might want to have a quiet Labor Day and read a good book to inspire yourself. You can also have a day to pamper yourself, where you do the kinds of healthy things that make you feel good. Whether you like to soak in the bathtub, marathon your favorite show or have a special food for a treat, you can celebrate the day in a quiet way, and know that you don’t have to worry about any of the consequences that can come with a lack of sobriety.

To find plenty of ways to inspire yourself and enjoy your sober Labor Day, you can visit My 12 Step Store and find great books, clothing and motivational items. Reminding you of how well you’re doing with your recovery is what we do, and we want to make sure you find the items you enjoy!

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Anxiety Disorders and Addiction: What’s the Connection?

Everyone experiences anxiety sometimes. It is a normal part of everyday life in our faced-paced society. But an anxiety disorder is much more than experiencing a little anxiety over your upcoming interview or worrying about your children when they are away at camp.

Clinical anxiety causes both psychological and physical symptoms that make it difficult to function in your everyday life. Many people with undiagnosed or untreated anxiety disorders turn to drugs and alcohol to calm the nerves, thinking this is an effective way to take care of the problem. What they don’t realize it that it puts them at a greater risk of becoming an addict and set up a vicious cycle. Here’s how it works.

Alcohol and Drugs to Quell Anxiety Symptoms

Initially, alcohol and/or drugs may mask the symptoms of anxiety and make it easier for you to complete everyday tasks. This is especially true of those who suffer from social anxiety as it relaxes them and lets them interact with others without excessive anxiety. To the person suffering from an anxiety disorder, alcohol and certain drugs such as marijuana can seem like a “magical cure” to their problems, but it doesn’t stop there.

Increased Anxiety Symptoms

While initially self medicating with alcohol or drugs brings relief from the symptoms of anxiety, it actually increases your anxiety symptoms when you are no longer drinking. This starts the vicious cycle — you drink to relieve your symptoms, but once the effects of alcohol or drugs wear off the anxiety symptoms return, and with more power, requiring more and more alcohol and or drug use to keep them at bay.

The Road to Addiction

The increased use of alcohol to control your anxiety symptoms may cause a physical addiction to the substance. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 20 percent of people with an anxiety disorder also have a problem with substance abuse. Likewise, 20 percent of those with a substance abuse problem also have an anxiety or mood disorder.


Addicts in recovery who also have (or suspect they have) an anxiety disorder should seek the attention of a professional to treat the underlying disorder. Likewise, individuals with anxiety disorders should avoid excessive alcohol or drug use as it may lead to addiction.

Seeking the proper treatment  for the many types and levels of anxiety is key. We should not underestimate the feelings brought on by anxiety especially when someone is in recovery from addiction.

If you have problems relaxing due to anxiety, try reading A Restful Mind to enhance your mental outlook or The Serenity Principle to find inner peace to help you in your recovery.

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