Awkward Star Tells Honest Truth about Eating Disorder

Posted on March 24, 2015 By
Awkward Star Tells Honest Truth about Eating Disorder

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Of course Hollywood is a place full of glamour and glitz, so it’s always nice to get a little slice of awkward in the mix, which is what Ashley Rickards did with grace and style as the star of the hit MTV show Awkward. Now Hollywood is also no stranger to the stories of struggles, whether it be drug abuse, mental illness, or relationship drama. So when Ashley Rickards opened up recently to talk honestly about her struggle with eating disorders in her new book, A Real Guide to Getting It Together Once and For All, it was a well-received message of hope.

It All Started as an Awkward Child

Ashley Rickards is a 22-year-old actress, and she is best known for her performance as Jenna Hamilton, the main-character in the show Awkward, and she has also appeared on One Tree Hill among other parts. Rickards actually traces what she described as her “monster eating disorder” as far back as age 7, when she began binge eating. But that was just the beginning of a problem that would be compounded by a neighbor’s comment when she was 9 years old, which would prompt a devastating downward spiral into unhealthy eating habits and negative body image.

In a recent interview Rickards talked a little bit about the role this played in her future, stating,

“I was chubby, and a neighbor of mine said, ‘We don’t need to go to Krispy Kreme, you’ve got a jelly roll right there!’ This sort of dysmorphic idea of myself is still in my head. I’m still that girl. I still feel like that in a swimsuit.”

Ashley moved to Los Angeles at age 13, where eating disorders are rampant according to Rickards, and that surely played a big part of the evolution of her own eating issues considering they had already begun to grow.  She went on to say,

“It became a lifestyle choice rather than a disorder. You’d go out with your friends all day long, and nobody is like, ‘Why aren’t we eating?’ We’re not eating because we have to have our rib cages showing.”

Things Go From Awkward to Awful

Things seemed to go from binge-eating to anorexia, and then the actress began purging regularly. Eventually this life-style choice found its way into her art-form, and Rickard found herself in the hospital while filming an early season of Awkward. Doctors figured out she was suffering from an eating disorder, but she says even this medical scare wasn’t enough to scare he straight and back to behaving healthy.

Rickards Recovery

Rickards recovery began when she finally reached out for help. She was about to find treatment in the form of therapy and says,

“I really had to meet people who were open about their own struggles, and I had to open up to my cast members and talk about it with them. I had to talk about it with my therapist and work on it from a clinical angle, because it’s a psychological thing, too.”

While Rickards is the first to admit that she has not been cured completely, she says she is managing the disorder with healthy eating and finding forms of exercise she enjoys, like kickboxing and Bikram yoga. She acknowledges her journey through recovery, and says he new diet and exercise routine has become a day to day necessity, combined with meditation and affirmations.

When discussing her recent book, Ashley said her goal in writing the book was to encourage other young women to speak out about similar struggles and seek help.

“I wanted girls to know it’s a very real thing and it comes in so many shapes and sizes. I wanted to raise awareness about it because it’s sort of a taboo subject. I don’t want anyone to have to feel alone when they’re in that sort of dark, secretive world.”

Guess its safe to say we can add another beautiful and talented individual to the list of advocates in Hollywood for raising awareness against eating disorders, mental health disorders and addictions. While the book has a lot of Rickards personal struggle, her point about getting the conversation started it huge! Whether the circumstances are the same, the need to overcome taboo and stigma is universal and essential to changing the world and saving lives.

Stigma may convince most that only certain people struggle with eating disorders. I assure you this is not true. Eating disorders can ruin and end lives,it does not discriminate. But neither does recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588


Can Drunken Driving Become A Thing of the Past?

Posted on March 23, 2015 By

Man blowing into breathalyzer

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If every new car made in the United States had a built-in blood Breathalyzer-like device, preventing intoxicated drivers from driving, how many lives could be saved, injuries prevented, and injury-related health costs cut?

The answer, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Injury Center and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute say that, if every new car had a built-in blood alcohol (BAC) level tester, which would prevent alcohol- impaired drivers from operating the vehicle, the US could avoid 85% of alcohol-related car crash deaths; in just 15 years, that would mean preventing more than 59,000 deaths, the team reports in a paper published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Can Drunken Driving Become A Thing of the Past?

The researchers looked at the impact of installing alcohol ignition interlock devices in all newly purchased vehicles over a 15-year period and their estimates of positive impact, such as injury prevention and cost savings, are significant.

Another 1.25 million non-fatal injuries would also be prevented as the nation would see a reduction of 84-89%, they calculate.

And when it comes to health costs associated with alcohol-related injuries, all these lives saved and injuries prevented translates into a savings of $343 billion over those 15 years. And in fact, the cost of installing the interlock devices would be recovered after just three years of the program.

“We knew our modeling would yield significant results, but the sheer numbers of preventable fatalities and serious injuries were surprising. Our analysis clearly demonstrates the significant public health benefit and societal cost savings associated with including alcohol ignition interlock devices as standard equipment in all new cars,” says lead-author Patrick Carter, M.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the U-M Medical School and core faculty at the U-Michigan Injury Center.

This is the first study of its kind in the United States; it extrapolates the impact of the universal policy to install alcohol interlocks on all new vehicles sold in the U.S. The study was based on two national data sets that are used frequently in analyzing motor vehicle crashes – that of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Automotive Sampling System’s General Estimates System data sets (2006-2010).

Younger drivers would benefit most

Although the prevention of injury is something that would benefit all ages, the policy would most likely significantly benefit younger drivers, who are closer to the legal drinking age. Among drivers aged 21 to 29 years, the policy could prevent 481,103 deaths and injuries, nearly 35% of total deaths and injuries for all age groups. Drivers less than 21 years old who engaged in drinking while driving would also benefit substantially, with an estimated 194,886 deaths and injuries prevented.

“It is often difficult to penetrate these age groups with effective public health interventions and policies to prevent drinking and driving,” says Carter. “By capitalizing on recent technological advancements that make alcohol-detecting sensors seamless to the driver and applying such technology more broadly to all newly built vehicles, we can actually have a substantial injury prevention impact among traditionally hard-to-reach high-risk populations.”

If you have ever been arrested for DUI or DWI and still continue to drive even under the influence, this is a definite red flag indicating a drinking problem and possibly alcohol addiction. Even if you haven’t incurred any legal issues as a result of your drinking or drugging, there are many other negative ways in which it can impact your life and the lives of your loved ones. If you’re unsure whether you have a problem or if you’re facing charges, give us a call so that we can talk about your options. Please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.





Actress Liza Minnelli Returns to Rehab

Posted on March 20, 2015 By
Actress Liza Minnelli Returns to Rehab

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Actress Liza Minnelli has entered a Malibu rehab facility for her addictions, a spokesman said.

The 69-year-old actress, singer, dancer, and choreographer has struggled with alcohol and drug addictions in the past. She is one of the few artists to win an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy and a Grammy. Perhaps her greatest role was as cabaret singer Sally Bowles in the film version of “Cabaret,” for which she earned her Oscar in 1973. Minnelli also showed off her comedic acting chops with her role on Arrested Development as Lucille, the arch nemesis to the Bluth family matriarch, also called Lucille.

“Liza Minnelli has valiantly battled substance abuse over the years and whenever she has needed to seek treatment she has done so,” said spokesman Scott Gorenstein. “She is currently making excellent progress at an undisclosed facility.”

Tragic History

Minnelli is the daughter of the famous, multitalented Judy Garland, who also battled addiction most of her life, and ultimately died of an overdose in 1969. It’s clear that both talent and addiction run in the family. This is not Minnelli’s first stint in treatment; she’s been in rehab multiple times, the most recent being in 2004. As her representative says, “Liza has valiantly battled substance abuse over the years.”

Liza was even offered half a million dollars back in 2010 to do the reality show “Celebrity Rehab” but she turned down the offer.

Actress Liza Minnelli Returns to Rehab

A representative for Minnelli confirmed that the legendary singer and actress has been in the facility for several days, and that her main issue this time is alcohol. Also according to the rep, Minnelli is already making “excellent progress” in treatment.

Last September, the entertainer underwent back surgery to correct an injury that kept her from performing most of the past year and from attending Joan Rivers’ funeral in New York.

It is not known whether the recent surgery was a precipitating factor in the actress’ relapse.

We here at the Orchid Recovery Center want to wish Ms. Liza Minnelli a successful recovery and hope to see her back in action soon.

Relapse is not a necessary part of recovery however the statistics paint a grim picture; as many as 50% to even 90% of people will experience a relapse after rehab or even after having had a period of sobriety. Addiction is a chronic, progressive, relapsing disorder which means that it lasts a lifetime – whether in remission or actively – and gets worse over time. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

With constant vigilance and a program of recovery that fits you, healing and recovery are absolutely possible. The Orchid Recovery Center is a place for women to heal. We offer holistic as well as traditional, tried-and-true methods of therapy while addressing the issues that women face in their daily lives. Please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 today to speak with an Addiction Specialist. We are here 24/7 to take your call.

Wonder Woman 18 Years Super-Sober

Posted on March 19, 2015 By
Wonder Woman 18 Years Super-Sober

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The Amazon warrior princess who wore a star-spangled corset and accessorized with indestructible gold bracelets has for a long time been a powerful punch in the arena of DC comics, and the name Wonder Woman says it all. Complete with the ‘Lasso of Truth’ and an invisible jet, this beautiful heroine has historically fought for love, peace, justice and equality as what is considered by most an icon of feminism.

Now behind all the superhuman heroism’s and glamorous battle-gear, Lynda Carter is actually very human, although she is still pretty super. Carter was best known for playing the character of Wonder Woman in the hit ’70s show, originally airing from 1975 to 1979 on the ABC network.

Now Lynda Carter is putting her heroine powers to use once again, opening up and speaking publicly about her battle with alcoholism and recently celebrating 18 years of sobriety! Sounds pretty wonderful to me.

The Lynda Carter Story

Not only was Lynda Carter an actress and singer, but it only made sense that a woman to carry the name of such an empowered and admired character of the time be a former Miss USA! In 1978, Carter was voted “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World” by The International Academy of Beauty and The British Press Organization.

Carter says she didn’t even start drinking until her mid-20’s, which was actually well after her period of portraying the amazing Wonder Woman ended. However Carter admitted that her drinking problem was very “gradual” and that it had slowly begin to take over her life.

Carter was first married to Ron Samuels, her manager at the time. After the marriage ended in 1982 her drinking escalated after marrying second husband Robert Altman in 1984 and moving from Hollywood to Washington, D.C. Carter recently stated,

“Alcoholism is an abyss [and] you are terrified of the addiction. You just can’t stop. The disease has taken over [and] it is not a matter of having willpower. It happened over a period of time. It’s not like methamphetamine or heroin, where you get hooked and that’s it. But … over a period of time you begin to crave it.”

The phrase “emotional difficulties” was how she described what she was experiencing in her first marriage that Lynda Carter said she was trying to avoid with excessive drinking. But beyond the behavioral or personal motives, Carter said she believes in a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, which in her case she says only intensified the issue for her.

Like any good alcoholic, she was letting alcohol destroy relationships and alienate her from her loved ones. Even more honest of an alcoholic was that she admitted she was not sure if she’d ever be able to stop.

“I wasn’t really present for my two children, though my kids never saw me out of control. When I had a drink, I couldn’t stop. My liver doesn’t process alcohol until I’ve had three drinks. Then I’d fall off the cliff or under the table. It’s just devastating.”

Finally the day came where some emotional leverage was created to drive a wedge between her and her alcoholic drinking as one day her husband began urging of her to stop drinking for the family, especially for their children, and Carter entered rehab and sobered up.

Back in 2008 Carter did an interview where she stated that rehab taught her the best measure of a human being is,

“how we treat the people who love us and the people that we love.”

That seems to show she has a pretty decent handle on what it means to be an active and caring member of the family she was fighting to get sober for. Carter has stayed sober since treatment and seems to consider herself fully recovered.

Now the Amazon warrior princess who has stood equal to Batman and Superman to fight for the Justice League is hoping to serve as an inspiration for others who are fighting their own addictions. Carter says,

“Now I’m focused on health, not perfection. I don’t want to be a weak, sick 90-year-old. I try to help others and I’d like to take the stigma out of alcoholism, but I don’t struggle with it.”

While the forces of evil may no longer reside in the bottle for Lynda Carter, and there may not be a supervillain named ‘Stigma-Man’, she is still aware of its presence in the lives of others, and now that she has her family, she is hoping her story can help others to find theirs again.

Lynda Carter may have passed the Wonder Woman torch to Gal Gadot, but 18 years sober she is still fighting for justice, peace, love and equality. So there is no taking the ‘Wonder’ out of this woman.

Sometimes all it takes to be a hero is the willingness to admit your faults, and to accept the help to change. Even a hero needs help once in a while, and every woman can be a wonder woman if she wants. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

Let Your Inner Phoenix Out

Posted on March 18, 2015 By


Let Your Inner Phoenix Out

For those of you who are unfamiliar with or who need a refresher about, the story of the phoenix comes from Greek mythology and is the story of a bird that bursts into flames and then rises again from the ashes. It’s a symbol of rebirth, change, renewal, and most of all, rising above – any obstacle or adversity.

For those of you on the daily grind (i.e. everyone), the smallest of irritations can get us all a fluster, causing us to expend our precious energy on getting angry at stupid things and people. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Take back your power and let your inner phoenix out.

Here are 5 steps to reclaim your power:

#1. Acceptance – of the situation and person(s) involved

Easier said than done, yes, but, after the initial irritation or anger (depending on the severity of the infraction), decide to completely accept the situation as it is. Let go of your need to control the other person.

Now, this isn’t the kind of thing that you just say, “OK I accept this.” This sort of thing will take time and practice to be able to do and it has to be a genuine, internalization of acceptance. Ways to support you in achieving this are practicing meditation, breathing techniques, and yoga.

#2. Managing expectations

Once you feel like you’ve fully accepted the situation and/or person as they are (think: it is what it is), then it’s time to get clear with yourself about what your expectations are and how you can manage them better. Basically, it’s about being open to learning a lesson from the experience.

However, be careful not to focus on the situation or the other person’s behavior because these are the things you cannot control. If you’re not careful, you could be assuming the role of victim, which will never allow you to grow from these things.

#3. Decide what steps to take

Once you know what you want, such as how you can better deal with a similar situation in the future, ask yourself what steps you have to take to have that happen.

Keep in mind that, for the most part, the steps we have to take usually take us out of our comfort zone. We may have to compromise and even sacrifice something — maybe a relationship, or a job. Be prepared for fear to pop up at this point.

You are well on your way to taking back your power; now you can take that deep acceptance and turn it into empowered action.

#4. Write or journal

Write down all the excuses you have – usually self-limiting beliefs – as to why you can’t take these steps to create what you want. For each one, ask yourself, “Is this really true?” and, “What’s the worst that could happen if I did such-and-such?” Usually, the worst thing that can happen is *just* a bruised ego.

Go through all the reasons you have written down and throw out the ones that are simply not true. Now you’re left with just the reasons why you can’t take those steps, which most likely have to do with logic and logistics, such as lack of enough money or time. Then, start strategizing on ways to find solutions to these…

#5. Find a workaround

No matter how desperate the situation, there are always solutions or workarounds. No matter what the reason is that you can’t create what you want, there’s a solution, if you’re willing to look for it and make it happen. As the saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder and/or mental illness, let our Addiction Specialists help you find the solutions to your problems. The Orchid Recovery Center treats women with substance abuse, addiction, and/or mental illness so that they can heal and recover and go on to live successful lives free from their addiction and its repercussions. Please call toll-free 1-877-9588 today.