Interview 996 - Anthony Gucciardi Explains How to Change Your Life for Good

01/28/20157 Comments

Today James talks to Anthony Gucciardi of about a pair of recent articles. The first, "4 Ways to Actually Make Your New Years Resolution Work," outlines why our resolutions often fail, and how to make sure they work. The second, "Anthony Gucciardi Donates 20,000 Meals to US Food Banks," challenges other alt media producers, as well as the general public, to start changing the world for the better through giving. Will James take up the challenge?...

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  1. NotDole says:

    Unfortunately, the things my body are addicted to, are known to be incredibly difficult both mentally and physically to get rid of, and much more painful than to stop smoking. My intake of sugar is high, that’s probably the only part of my diet that isn’t very good for me, I eat very well otherwise and very little red meat.

    Yeah, I mean, I’m sure Anthony knows about opiates and benzodiazepines.

    Opiates I need due to a jaw injury that not only messed with the temporomandibular articulation (jaw articulation, a very fragile thing that once is messed up…look up TMJ Disorder, mine was already present and made worse by an accident…a bit freaky accident in a hardcore punk show when I was younger which just deteriorated over time, not somebody who punched me on purpose, it’s part of the crazy dances done in a mosh pit.

    Anyway, I could take less opiates, in my case, oxycodone, which is a semi-synthetic opioid, nothing bizarre and dirty like a fully synthetic drug like Tramadol (which they throw at everyone in most countries, thankfully in Canada it’s not that popular, it’s an SSRI at the same time as an opioid…the amount of brain receptors it messes with is long, long, LONG, oxycodone just acts like morphine but better orally so you don’t need massive doses in case of medium-to-severe chronic pain.

    The real addiction I want to get rid of is my addiction to benzodiazepines though. It’s not funny that when I am out of valium before I can renew my script, because I consumed more than I should have, because I am in constant tolerance withdrawal (wiki it if you don’t know what it is, it’s making me be constantly underdosed at the dose I am currently scripted, so I often end up taking more in a day than I should just to sleep or act normally…my anxiety was bad before I got on benzos, I eliminated what was causing me anxiety (marijuana,’s not uncommon after someone using weed everyday for almost a decade like I did to kill that jaw pain and give me a better mood, the effects kind of reverse with time and it’s a plant that will just make one get panic attacks…I was already generally anxious because of all that I know that most people don’t…my psydoc really doesn’t like that I can’t endure SSRI’s (they make me manic), I even tried less common forms of antidepressants, one kind of worked, but made me feel really happy and dumb, which is not natural for me…Moclobemide, not available outside Canada, UK and Australia, it’s a MAOI, like many plants proposed for depression are.

    Anyway, if you just look up benzodiazepine withdrawal, or better….it is a grueling process to get off them. I once was on an even stronger benzo than Valium, called Rivotril (Klonopin in the US), and I initiated a taper to reduce the dosage because all that Rivotril (they come in 0.25,0.5,1 and 2mg pills, I was taking 3.5mg a day…) I felt like a zombie and nothing bothered me, but I also initiated that taper, which is done by using weaker but longer lasting benzos like Valium or Librium at equivalent doses and then slowly reducing…thing is my psydoc wanted to go too fast, even when he said he knew of Dr.Ashton from the UK (who is the specialist on getting people off benzos, worldwide, her site is wonderful), I did reduce the dosage of benzodiazepine that I take in a day by 66% or 2/3 (when you compare my valium dose now to what I started with…). It’s a good thing, but I didn’t get rid of them completely, when I got to 10mg twice a day of valium, getting lower than that started giving me a plethora of side effects, and benzo withdrawal can kill (seizures).

    I’m going to see my psydoc about reducing from where I’m from the right way, meaning going down to 19mg a day (thankfully its possible due to valium pills being available in 10,5 and 2mg strength, which are all scored to break in halves). But my psydoc didn’t want the last time to slow down the reduction (which is the Ashton protocol) once I start feeling on edge and yes, I regained tons of mental faculties once I got to only 20mg of valium a day compared to the about 55mg worth 3.5mg of Rivotril, which is where I started when tapering, 55mg everyday for a week, then 50 then 45 etc. I will need to start reducing this dose by 1mg month maybe…you guys got an idea on how long that could be until i’m benzo free? It’s discouraging, and especially since I gotta convince the psydoc to follow the protocol correctly. Yes some day I will have to be taking unusual doses of like 1.25mg of valium a day, it’s that complicated.

    But sometimes I just don’t even want to consider it, it takes away my fears of nukes flying because Lindsay Graham or John McCain decided to attack Russia and ignoring the President (which is what they are doing right now because he wants to negotiate with Iran from the white house and that’s it…can’t blame them with such a crazy congress…). It’s hard to start caring when all signs point to nuclear armageddon, the real threat, unlike that dude who comments the Tim Ball interviews with his climate change spiel.

    Those things have prevented me from comitting suicide because I couldn’t endure knowing all the things I know, so even if I know they aren’t good for me in the long run (and april 2007 is when I started my very low dose of 0.5mg twice a day of Rivotril, well very low dose, that’s equivalent to half my dose of valium now more or less). I told my psydoc about this years ago, and he was like “you aren’t afraid of China?” and I told him, no, that missile shield in Europe they deploy for “Iran”….that’s not for Iran, the crazies in control have an actual policy of winnable nuclear war”. So yeah, he acknowledges that I worry about things most people don’t, because most people are ignorant, even when truth slaps them in the face they don’t feel it.

    Sigh…sorry for the depressing tone. But lately that thing where Nuts N’ Yahoo is invited by Republicans to act like if he was president of the US and whip congress of the US to do what he Netan— no, he’s a fuckin Lithuanian Khazar in origin jew so there you go, Benyamin Mielikowski, that’s his name, and I wish the bastards over there in the middle east with the huge illegal stockpile of nukes (and who knows what else, if there is small enough nukes to be carried in a backpack, no doubt Israel invented them)…My point is, I got a hard time being positive since about 5 years or even more, where I’m just stalled doing my job, going home, and I guess some people would envy my job (I’m a chemistry tech in a paint factory, yeah not good for one’s health…we are protected though heh, but I always think of the dangers in case somebody made a dangerous error.

    I did quit smoking since 4 months now, and nope, I don’t count the days, I totally forgot about tobacco now and when I go near somebody who’s smoking the odor is revolting heh. I suffered though, chest pains that feel like heart attacks and spitting out disgusting stuff is common for someone who stops smoking, and damn I only smoked 9 years, 3 months in and I started getting a better air intake, which also helps me, I sleep better since then, and insomnia (main reason why I got on benzos to start with, but it was as needed then…) is a problem that affects me since a young age, a earthquake we got in my region of Canada that’s really really protected against earthquakes, very far from any seismic zone of importance got a 6.4 earthquake at 9 something PM, developed a nervous tick (cracking fingers, never stopped since then, I was in second grade) plus parents that stopped loving each other when I was 10 and I endured their stupid fights for 7 years before they finally fucking divorced and my dad stopped being an idiot about it (the threats he would make…burning our house down while we sleep etc.)..

    Life’s hard enough, Sartre is right that often hell is other people, and in my case people I don’t even know, mostly!

  2. candideschmyles says:

    How am I getting along with my new years resolutions?
    1. Throw away my crack pipe; I did better…I never made one to start with so that was easy.
    2. Reduce my consumption of deep fried haggis with a deep fried Mars bar for desert to no more than 3 times a week; Success here! I have switched to deep fried pizza and snickers.
    3. Stop drinking coke; I switched to sticking with a neat malt as the great FSM intended.
    Something I need clarification on too… What is “fruit”. No such word is ever uttered in Scotland.

    But a thing about Scotland is we don’t care and give to the disenfranchised in society. This from my home city is nothing but success upon success.

    • NotDole says:

      Are you comparing my addiction to legal prescription anti anxiety medication(no matter how highly addictive) to a crack addiction?
      Getting rid of a cocaine (regular or crack) addiction would be easier, it doesn’t cause a physical dependence, but a massive psychological one. I’ve done coke for 5 months straight in college, stopped when it stopped doing anything worthwhile even if I spent more than a gram a day on it….all that money I threw away…please don’t try at home, children. You’ll hate yourself for all that money you’ll have wasted for those 20 minute highs.

      If not, no problem, but if you were,continue not to believe that Global Warming was invented by the Club of Rome you dunce.

    • kris weston says:

      im trying to stop trolling people on the internet. gah. oh well lasted a month. nice to see some people from my hunk of land mass here, i seem to understand you more than the other quite frankly weird as hell people on here. the ones that write huge novels about stuff nobodies interested in. ah crap. did it again.

  3. Stanley Hakkietakkie says:

    interesting article on addiction: chemical hooks only have limited effect on addiction: social environment much bigger effect.

    by all means read the whole article, but this is what it boils down to:

    “One of the ways this theory was first established is through rat experiments — ones that were injected into the American psyche in the 1980s, in a famous advert by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You may remember it. The experiment is simple. Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Almost every time you run this experiment, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

    The advert explains: “Only one drug is so addictive, nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it. And use it. And use it. Until dead. It’s called cocaine. And it can do the same thing to you.”

    But in the 1970s, a professor of Psychology in Vancouver called Bruce Alexander noticed something odd about this experiment. The rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. What would happen, he wondered, if we tried this differently? So Professor Alexander built Rat Park. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored balls and the best rat-food and tunnels to scamper down and plenty of friends: everything a rat about town could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, will happen then?

    In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

    The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment did.

    At first, I thought this was merely a quirk of rats, until I discovered that there was — at the same time as the Rat Park experiment — a helpful human equivalent taking place. It was called the Vietnam War. Time magazine reported using heroin was “as common as chewing gum” among U.S. soldiers, and there is solid evidence to back this up: some 20 percent of U.S. soldiers had become addicted to heroin there, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Many people were understandably terrified; they believed a huge number of addicts were about to head home when the war ended.

    But in fact some 95 percent of the addicted soldiers — according to the same study — simply stopped. Very few had rehab. They shifted from a terrifying cage back to a pleasant one, so didn’t want the drug any more.

    Professor Alexander argues this discovery is a profound challenge both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by too much hedonistic partying, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage.”

  4. Chatte Noire says:

    The reasons why we do the specific combination of positive and negative things we do are so complex and so rooted in aspects of reality we barely comprehend that our efforts to change them are always going to be largely misdirected. I sort of suspect – though only intuitively – that we have a lot of things the wrong way round and end up trying to alter result and not cause.

    Plus, these “personal change” manifestos can tend to permit the fascist in all of us to come to the fore, and even the most well-meaning of life-coaching has, for me, that disquieting echo of the Nazi Ubermenschen info-movies where the mind-controlled, blond, and perfectly honed masses do calisthenics in robotic synchronisation (not claiming that’s rational, it’s probably just me :-))

    Everyone must make their own choices of course, and I’m sure a degree of this kind of “change your life” stuff can be benign and even beneficial, but for me it’s the messy and conflicted individuals, possessed to some degree by self-destruction, self-doubt and self-contradiction who are the unstructured truth of the human condition from which the best of humanity flows.

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