web analytics
All Posts By

Lonnie McCreery

A New Look at Addiction and Recovery in the Jewish Community

By | Uncategorized

Religion can be an important component for many in recovery. You don’t have to have God as a higher power, but many have turned to their religious beliefs to help them get sober.


In many religious communities, addiction is often still a dirty little secret, which is why it’s now something that is being confronted head-on in the Orthodox Jewish community.


The Religion, Addiction, Recovery and Rehabilitation Connection


NBC just ran a report on addiction in the Orthodox Jewish community, and as one rabbi told the network, “The Orthodox attitude about drug problems is to stay quiet on the issue,” which is something that clearly has to end.


At least one person in recovery told  NBC, “The more Orthodox Jews that end up seeking help, it just raises awareness in general in the community.” This source came back from a hideous heroin addiction. A year and a half after she hit bottom and got sober, she made it her mission to raise awareness in the Orthodox community. She also wants to break down the wall of denial that exists between those suffering from addiction, and those who don’t want to acknowledge the problem.


One rabbi who is working to turn around attitudes about addiction said, “If we can even just save one life, as the Talmud says, you’ve saved an entire world.”


This rabbi launched his own support group that helps people in the Jewish community deal with addiction and mental health trauma. His organization helps people from the ages of 13 to 71, and he’s also noticed a generational shift in attitudes towards addiction and recovery, saying that younger rabbis “get it.”


Religion, Addiction, and Awareness

There are many rehabs and recovery programs that are geared towards people of all walks of life. And when you Google search Jewish recovery programs, it’s remarkable how many will pop up.


While the twelve-steps are the foundation of the recovery process, other rehab programs are also geared towards the Jewish Orthodox traditions.


As one rabbi noted on My Jewish Learning, treatment helps tackle a person’s addiction, while a rabbi can address a patient’s spiritual needs.


As this rabbi explains, “The pastoral caregiver can frame addiction in a spiritual context by using biblical and Midrashic images,” like telling stories from the bible in the context of addiction and recovery.


“Addiction to substances is slavery,” this rabbi continues. “Addiction is a state in which one is powerless and out of control. The story of the Exodus from Egypt is also the personal story of each addicted Jew emerging from his or her narrow place, tempted repeatedly to backslide, but struggling always to reach the promised land of recovery, serenity, and spirituality.”


Analogies can certainly help people visualize the recovery process, and get many to get their heads around the concepts of the recovery process. Thankfully addiction, sobriety and recovery are now things that are spoken about openly in many areas of the Orthodox Jewish community, and while being religious is not a requirement of recovery, it is indeed helping many who need to turn their lives around.

Lil’ Peep’s Family Speaks Out About Addiction

By | Uncategorized

It’s been nearly a year since rapper Lil Peep died at the age of twenty-one. He’s back in the news because a new posthumous album, Come Over When You’re Sober Part 2, is being released, and because so many hip-hop artists are speaking out against addiction and are crying out for help for their mental health as well.


As Variety reports, at a release party for Come Over, Peep’s mother spoke out about the loss of her son from opioids.


The Message of Lil Peep’s Death

Lil Peep died nearly a year ago at the age of 21. It’s too young for anyone to die, and when a young artist passes, it can be especially tragic considering how much music they could have continued to give the world.


Come Over When Your Sober Part 2 premiered in New York, and the listening event was tastefully handled in Lil Peep’s memory.


At the event, Peep’s mother, Liza Womack, told the audience, “This album is an important album because it is the work of a young, creative, honest, trailblazing artist. This album is also important because [Lil Peep] is dead. But this is the album he would have made if he were living.”


Womack continued, “Young music artists in this field are dying too often. The posthumous release of a young artist’s music is a problem you are all going to have to face. You are facing it now: What do you do when a young artist dies long before his time, leaving behind a legacy of finished and unfinished work and a legion of heartbroken fans?”


She concluded, “This is the album he would have wanted.”


The Opioid Crisis Hits Hip-Hop

The U.S. opioid crisis has hit all walks of life, and there’s been a more intense focus on drug abuse in hip-hop than ever. It’s not just opioids that hip-hop artists are hooked on, Xanax has also been a major problem as well. These days there are rappers that are proudly sober, while others still struggle and are looking for help.


The death of Lil Peep hit the hip-hop community hard, and musicians of other genres also felt the loss as well. Right after he died, one rapper tweeted, “Even if you don’t know who [Lil Peep] is this bring up a HUGE issue we NEED to discuss. Hip hop has a drug abuse problem! Too often do we promote things that will literally kill us and say nothing when something like this happens. WAKE up ppl.”


Another rapper tweeted, “Depression isn’t trendy, it’s an awful rotting feeling. Lil Peep deserved a happy ending.”


Thankfully the stigmas around mental health and addiction for hip-hop artists are disappearing, and more are seeking help. And perhaps the music that Lil Peep left behind will also be a cautionary tale for people who many who are suffering from addiction and are looking to quit.


Come Over When You’re Sober Pt. 2 will be released on November, and the first single from the album is “Cry Alone.” Rolling Stone is calling the song “bittersweet, somber and haunting,” and it features lyrics that are indeed haunting to hear today: “I don’t wanna die now, I just did a line of blow right now…”

Rock Legend Joe Walsh On Addiction and Sobriety

By | Uncategorized

Joe Walsh is the legendary guitarist of The Eagles, and he’s had a strong solo career as well. Like many rock stars, he’s also had major bouts with alcohol and drugs, but he’s been sober twenty-five years now and is living to tell the tale of his rehabilitation and recovery.


Life’s Been Good?

Walsh spoke out about this recovery and rehabilitation for a non-profit event. Another fellow rock star with many years of sobriety under his belt, Ringo Starr, also attended the event.


Walsh wrote one of the funniest songs about being a rock star, Life’s Been Good, and while it was a great parody of the rock star life, some wondered if it really was a parody. But Walsh, like many rock stars, learned the hard way that the sex, drugs, rock n’ roll lifestyle wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.


As a kid, Walsh had mental health struggles. He reportedly struggled from attention-deficit disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Asperger’s syndrome. The awareness around mental health problems in the fifties wasn’t like it is today, in fact, Walsh told the Associated Press, “There was no awareness of what that was…You were just difficult. I was difficult.”


Walsh had serious social problems, but he would get courageous after a few beers. “That planted the seed,” he says today. “I thought alcohol was a winner.” He then discovered cocaine and other drugs in college.


When his albums did well, he mistakenly thought it was the booze and drugs that fueled the hits. When an album didn’t do well, he thought, Well obviously I’m not drinking nearly as much as I need to.


Walsh told Rolling Stone, “The worst part of success is that a lot of things come along with it that you didn’t really know you were going to get in the package…Money, drugs, women, partying. …When you’re young it’s really easy to lose your perspective, which I did…It was a real challenge to stay alive and end up on the other end of it.”


Hitting Bottom and Getting Back Up

Walsh then said that vodka and cocaine were his “higher power,” and he “turned into this godless, hateful thing.” As many discover once they get into rehab, Walsh realized his problems weren’t so special. “Gradually they showed me that I’m not a unique individual, one-of-a-kind person. I’m just an alcoholic, and for the first time in my life I felt like I was somewhere where I belonged.”


Walsh even wrote an album about the recovery process, The Confessor, and while he was often considered the clown prince of rock n roll, it was one of his first truly serious efforts as an artist.


Today Walsh loves his family and has learned to control his emotions so his emotions don’t control him. As he told Rolling Stone before he got sober, “I would fly into rages or I would just feel extremely sad. In settling down and just living life, I can experience emotions but I don’t become them…Man, being in the moment is where it’s at.”

Teletherapy Can Be a Great Boon for Mental Health

By | Uncategorized

One of the hardest steps for many people with mental health issues is to open up and trust someone. Yet some believe that many people can feel more comfortable seeking help with teletherapy, and it could be another crucial step forward for this technology.


Opening Up With a Therapist Online

Many are now looking into the benefits of telemedicine, where you can consult with a doctor online and get virtual help from practically anywhere in the world. And telemedicine is not just a boon for physical wellness, it can also potentially do wonders for mental health as well.


In fact, an article on Greatist has called teletherapy “the one great tool changing mental health.” One example this article points to is our increasingly hectic schedules. Having to work as hard as we do is stressful enough, but without seeking therapy, we can run the risk of running ourselves into the ground.


With teletherapy, it’s easier to set up an appointment without having to travel to a doctor’s office, and people in rural areas can get easier access to help as well. (Remarkably, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells that that there are no psychiatrists in 55% of U.S. counties, which can make teletherapy an even more important necessity for mental health in the future.)


And while many would think it would be hard for some people to open up through teletherapy, in today’s technology age it could indeed be easier. (Think of it like talking to your therapist over the phone.) As one doctor explains, “Psychiatry is uniquely suited for telemedicine services since psychiatrists don’t typically perform physical exams.”


Mental Health Breakthroughs with Teletherapy

In technology terms that people today can understand, one doctor called Teletherapy “FaceTime on steroids,” and many patients are excited about the possibilities of teletherapy.


In addition to being able to hook up with a therapist if you live far away, and being able to make time for therapy when it’s convenient for you, there’s also the aspect of what is called the “impossible task.” When you suffer from serious depression, everyday things we all have to do can become “impossible tasks.” If people become paralyzed with mental health issues, a therapist can reach out through a video conference, and help people in the privacy of their homes.


As for the confidentiality aspect of therapy, this report tells us, “the video chat systems that psychologists and psychiatrists use have to meet security requirements that are extremely stringent,” making your session with a psychiatrist as private as an in-person visit. (the technology is already in place with many mental health apps that keeps patient sessions safe and confidential.)


While teletherapy is still in development, there is tremendous potential for it to grow and help people all over the world. Already therapists and patients alike feel it can be a powerful tool in improving people’s mental health, and it can also make it easier than ever for people to hook up with the right treatment, and get the help they need.

Teens and Vaping

By | Uncategorized

You see commercials for it all the time, public service announcements warning teens against vaping. Concerned parents should always be watchful about what their teens are ingesting, but how seriously should they take warnings against vaping? Should a teen with an addictive personality stay away from vaping? Should teens seek treatment if they are vaping a lot? Well according to the FDA, we should take teens and vaping very seriously.


An “Epidemic”?

As USA Today reports, Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, is calling vaping among young people an “epidemic,” and a crackdown could be imminent. Vape manufacturers have been given a strong warning, and they have sixty days to come up with a plant to help prevent youth vamping. If the plan isn’t strong enough, the FDA is threatening to step in and take charge.


The companies being targeted include Juul, Vuse, MarkTen Xl, Blu and Logic. These companies make up over 97% of the American market for vaping and e-cigarettes.


Gottlieb took a look at the current data, and was alarmed by what he discovered. Over two million kids in middle school, high school and college are vaping, and he said, “Teenagers are becoming regular users, and the proportion of regular users is increasing. We’re going to have to take action. No one can look at the data and say there’s no problem.”


Vaping and Addiction

One parent who spoke out to USA Today said he has two kids in his family who are addicted to vaping, and another parent said his teen bought Juul vaping cartridges using a parent’s name online, and he got them shipped to a different address so the family wouldn’t find out. While Juul says they require age-verified signatures when vapes are delivered, parents are demanding more, and the FDA is getting tougher than ever.


As Vox explains, teens who vape are often “Juuling.” One teen who spoke to Vox said it didn’t take long for him to feel addicted from Juuling. “After about a week, you feel like you need to puff on the Juul. To some people it is like a baby pacifier, and they freak out when it’s not near.”


And as Vox reports, “E-cigarettes have quietly eclipsed cigarette smoking among adolescents. The possibility of another generation getting hooked on nicotine is a nightmare scenario health regulators are scrambling to avoid.”


Juul is incredibly popular these days among teens, half the vape sales in the country are Juul and one source at an academy school says, “Ninety-five percent of the disciplinary infractions we dealt with in the fall and continue to deal with into the spring are all connected to the Juul.”


Some who run schools are glad to see teens staying away from smoking, but teens don’t understand the risks that come with the vaping. While it’s still not clear how addictive aping is, it could eventually become a very addictive habit with teens.


Why Parents Should Be Concerned

If your teens are vaping, you should open up a discussion with them about the risks involved. As one source told WebMD, “Nicotine is a prime ingredient in these devices. Studies show nicotine is more addictive than heroin and cocaine. And there’s a growing body of evidence that nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain.”

3 Unpopular Psychological Disorders That Are Affecting Thousands

By | Uncategorized

As sad as it seems, it isn’t bizarre for one to know at least one person who is diagnosed with a certain mental disorder. A study reveals that approximately 18.5% of adults living in the US experience mental disorder. While this percentage doesn’t even reach a quarter, there is no doubt that this percentage sums to a large quantity of the population. Mental disorder awareness grows throughout each year, spreading awareness through social media, billboards etc. The main goal for mental disorder awareness being spread is to show that a mental illness is not something that should be held as a secret and to message those who suffer that they shouldn’t be afraid to seek help. Even with all the awareness going on, there seems to be a “mainstream” of mental disorders that are known much more to the public than other mental disorders. Schizophrenia, Major depressive disorder, and psychosis are examples of “mainstream” mental disorders that seem to be among the popular disorders that are known the most. There are thousands out there, affected by unpopular mental disorders that inflict damage to one mentally and even physically! Spreading the message about these unpopular mental disorders is just important than the more known ones, which is why we will be discussing 3 examples of unpopular mental disorders.



The names of these disorders come as chilling as they affect one’s body. Trichotillomania is a mental disorder where one has an unstoppable urge to pull hairs off of his or her body. The urge can come when one is overwhelmed by a negative emotion, under stress, and under anxiety. Some get the urge to pull hairs without even realizing it, causing this mental disorder to be often misinterpreted and underrated as a bad habit. The damage is mostly physical and has to do with personal appearance, leaving some with large patches of hair on the scalp, as opposed to their bald spots.


Alice in Wonderland syndrome

Just as it sounds, this mental disorder affects one’s perception, just like the main character in the Disney film, Alice. One diagnosed with the Alice in Wonderland syndrome experiences abnormal visual perceptions of the world around him or her. Objects that seem to be smaller or larger than they really are and size distortions are common examples of the effects of this mental illness. Common causes for the disease come from brain tumors, lack of sleep and migraines. People diagnosed with this mental disorder can often experience disturbances in their hearing perception and sounds being misinterpreted, often causing paranoia.  



People diagnosed with Aboulomania experience trouble making decisions, ranging from the simplest of decisions to the more serious ones. This disorder is often associated with stress, anxiety, and Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Anyone trying to live a normal life comes across times where they have to make a simple decision, as simple as taking the dog for a walk or staying at home. As simple as they come, people diagnosed with Aboulomania are mentally handicapped at making the simplest of choices, causing a major effect on the way they live their lives.


By | Uncategorized

It’s one of the most uncomfortable conversations you can have with your teen, but it’s also one of the most important to have: suicide. There has been a lot in the news recently about suicide, and in recent years we’ve lost a lot of great entertainers who ended their lives much too early.


While it’s a hard subject to talk about with your teens, now that it’s Suicide Awareness Month, this could be a good time to speak with your kids about how they’re feeling, and if they’ve ever had suicidal thoughts.


Opening Up the Discussion Around Teen Suicide


There’s a stigma among suicide and people experiencing suicidal thoughts. Many people are afraid to get help because they don’t know how to ask for help. Just like many are trying to destroy the stigma around addiction, others are also trying to get rid of the stigma around suicide.


Dr. Renee Solomon, a clinical psychologist, says, “A lot of times people worry that if you talk about suicide, we’re going to make people do it. I find it’s the opposite. If you make it taboo, your kids will get the information another way…[Teens] need to know that they can talk to someone, and that it’s okay to talk about.”


While there has been a lot of awareness about suicide in the news with many celebrities recently taking their lives, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that over 40,000 regular people a year take their lives, and it’s the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.


Solomon continues, “Increasing awareness of these issues by putting them in the spotlight for a month is important and helps society see this as a real issue. People go through their day and don’t think about it, but if there’s this awareness, it might make them reach out, or it may create an avenue for people who are depressed to reach out and not feel alone.”


Accessing At Risk Teens


While it’s important to keep an open dialog with your teens, parents can’t spot every signal or sign that their kids are in trouble. It’s a good idea to get your teen to a therapist that can assess if they’re really in trouble. “Has the person attempted suicide before?” Solomon says. “Do they have the means or a plan? That affects the level of intervention There is help available; it’s just a matter of finding it.”


At the most basic level, it’s important to talk to your kids and get them help when they need it with the right doctor or therapist. Solomon also lists these important keys to keep in mind with the mental health of your teens:


Ask. Keep them Safe. Be there. Help them connect.


Keep the dialog open with your teens, make your home a safe place where they can discuss anything with you, and let them know there’s help if they need it. There is a strong world-wide effort right now to reduce the stigma around mental health problems and suicide, and reducing the stigma can start right at your home.



By | Uncategorized

With a lot of high profile celebrities ending their lives, there has been more emphasis than ever on people at risk for suicide. For many rock fans, it was a big shock when Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington ended his life.


Bennington committed suicide several months after Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell ended his life, and Bennington ended his life on what would have been Cornell’s fifty-third birthday. A year later, the families and bandmates of both musicians are still trying to pick up the pieces.


Linkin Park Mike Shinoda Paying Tribute to His Fallen Comrade

Linkin Park guitarist Mike Shinoda is currently on a solo tour where he’s hoping to celebrate Bennington’s memory, and he told The Guardian, “Each night we’ve been creating this forum for people to get together,” and as this report explains, “Striking a balance between reflective and celebratory [on Chester’s life] is important to [Shinoda].”


The fact that Shinoda still carrying on creating music is important to the fans. When he meets fans backstage, “The sentiment is usually, ‘Thank you for the music, thank you for carrying on, the new album is helping me, seeing you on stage let’s me know that I can carry on…Different people deal in different ways. My coping style is staying in motion, through music and art.”


Raising Awareness

Earlier this year, Bennington’s widow Talinda launched her own mental health awareness campaign, and one of her biggest goals is to help break down the stigma that many have about mental health issues.


She told the New Music Express, “The passing of my husband cannot be in vain. His passing was a catalyst for opening up dialogue with respect to emotional and mental health…It’s up to us to change the way we think of mental health, to acknowledge that everyone has their own mental health to care for, and to end stigma and shame when we need to seek help for it.”


The Music Business Reacts and Musicians Seek Help

Thankfully anxiety, depression and addiction no longer have to be a secret shame, and these days more musicians have been speaking out than ever.


For far too long, the mental health of musicians has been overlooked. But with many musicians struggling with their mental health and succumbing to depression and addiction, the industry can’t look the other way any longer.


In recent years, there have been efforts made to get musicians the mental health help that they need. After two hip-hop artists died, Avicii and Lil Peep, music manager Nick Jarjour told Variety, “The music industry needs to do a better job at treating mental illness among musicians, artists, writers, producers and professionals.”


An organization formed in England, Help Musicians UK, also found that out of 2,000 musicians they polled, 71% of them have trouble with anxiety, and over 68% of them struggle with depression.

Awareness if the first step. A lot of artists have been very candid with the public about their mental health struggles, and this will hopefully continue to reduce the stigma, and embolden more people to get help and get better.


By | Uncategorized

Depression isn’t just tough on the people who are suffering from it. It can be especially hard on families when one of your children is dealing with mental health issues. Depression can be inherited through heredity, and it can also creep into a family’s psyche from a troubled environment. Yet when someone finally gets help for depression, families can heal as well.


Healing Yourself and the Family

As a new article in The Atlantic explains, “Early evidence suggests that treatment has a ripple effect in families.” The writer of the article, Angela Lashbrook, explains she was in therapy as a kid for depression. “On and off until I graduated high school, I’d ‘hang out’ in the doctor’s office, playing [board game] Connect Four before begrudgingly consenting to more intense discussions. The effect of these sessions was undoubtedly helpful for me. But one thing my self-involved teen brain never considered was that the treatment could improve my parents’ mental health as well.”


And new research backs Lashbrook up on this. The American Psychological Association just reported that when teens get help for depression, depression symptoms in their parents can heal as well. “The finding, based on a study of 325 American teens and their parents, points to what might seem obvious in hindsight: happier kids make happier parents.”


The Heredity of Mental Health

In researching this article, Lashbrook noted that 87% of the parents in this study were mothers. An earlier study of women who suffered from depression showed they were more likely to have children with behavior problems. Another study revealed that even if a depressed parent adopts a child, a parent’s depression affects a natural or an adopted child.


It’s hard to see a troubled child going through depression or mental health issues, and as a source at Columbia University says, “Relationships are reciprocal. If one child isn’t doing well, if they’re having mood problems, if they’re more irritable – it’s affecting their behavior that impacts the rest of the people in the family.”


The Collateral Effects of Depression

The collateral effects of depression can affect a person’s surrounding environment as well. One professor told The Atlantic that in schools “teachers report that one of the greatest stressors is mental illness within the student population, so I can’t imagine that if these things aren’t treated, that it won’t affect the overall classroom environment and climate.”


Apparently, there is still more research that needs to be done about how overcoming depression can affect a family. Again, depression isn’t just tough on people that are suffering through it, it can be hard on the people around you as well. But kids and parents getting treated together can be very beneficial, and it can help everyone heal together.


As Lashbrook concludes, “I know my depression and anxiety impacted my parents, but the extent to which my mental-health care has affected them is hard to quantify.” The current research states “it indeed make some difference, and that mental health, both good and bad, has a ripple effect – through families, through communities, and maybe even beyond.”



By | Uncategorized

Tom Hardy is the British movie star of such films as The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk, and the upcoming Marvel spin-off Venom. He’s also currently celebrating thirteen years of sobriety and has been speaking out about his battles with addiction.


Wrestling With the Beast of Addiction

As Metro reports, Hardy had a troubled youth. Your Tango reports that Hardy started experimenting with drugs at the age of 13. He was kicked out of boarding school, and he did several stints in jail as a youth.


Hardy also struggled with anxiety. “I’m just a frightened bloke,” he told Your Tango. “Everything scares me. Not being in control, not knowing, anticipation, waiting for something to go wrong.”


Hardy turned his back on drugs in 2003. His marriage collapsed, and he did a stint in rehab to get himself together.


Like many suffering from addiction, Hardy had a bottom, and he said at his lowest he was willing to “sell my mother” for cocaine. He went “entirely off the rails” after a movie he starred in, Star Trek: Nemesis flopped at the box office. While he wound up passed out in a pool of puke before getting sober, he says, “I’m lucky I didn’t have some terrible accident or end up in prison or dead – because that’s where I was going.”


Hardy calls addiction a disease and “my beast.” He says, “Now I know my beast and I know how to manage it. It’s like living with a 400-pound orangutan that wants to kill me. It’s much more powerful than me, doesn’t speak the same language and it runs around in the darkness of my soul.”


The Turning Point

Hardy came to a point where he says he became “a shameful suburban statistic. I was told very clearly, ‘You go down that road, Tom, you won’t come back.’ That’s it. All you need to know. That message stayed with me clearly for the rest of my days. I am fucking lucky to be here.”


Not that his journey has been easy. “It was hard enough for me to say, ‘I’m an alcoholic.’ But staying stopped is fucking hard.”


When Hardy first went into rehab, he says he “went in thinking I’d do it for a little bit until I can go out and drink and people forgive me. I did my 28 days, and after listening to people who had been through similar circumstances I realized I did have a problem.”


Hardy told GQ, “I’ve been sober longer than I’d been drinking now. It’s a nice place to be. But I don’t turn my back on it – it doesn’t mean for one minute it can’t bite me in the ass. It’s part of ‘the story’ that I used to be Bad Boy Tom – because that’s not true either. Just bog-standard drunk – got lucky, got recovery, stuck to it like fucking glue. Really grateful.”


Hardy’s fans are grateful he pulled himself together and became one of the most versatile and unique actors in the business. While Hardy is certainly glad he’s a successful actor, he’s clearly more proud of being sober and a good family man.