Interesting Facts On Fashion’s Favourite Rebel Vivienne Westwood

Largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave into the mainstream, not only is Dame Vivienne Westwood a fashion designer, activist and businesswoman, but also most certainly a fashion mastermind.

Punk pioneer Vivienne Westwood is undoubtedly one of Britain’s most recognizable living icons and has left a clear mark in the fashion world, as well as in other areas. Her contributions to modern times are not only creative, but also political and cultural.

Get to know the fashion world’s favorite rebel with these interesting facts of her life and career.

1. She was born Vivienne Isabel Swire

She became Vivienne Westwood when she married Derek Westwood. The marriage only lasted 3 years.

2. Vivienne is a war baby.

She was born during World War II on April 8, 1941 to working class parents in Tintwistle, Derbyshire, England. She lived in a part of the country that had grown up in the Industrial Revolution. She didn’t know about art galleries, seen an art book, nor been to the theatre.

3. She almost gave up fashion and art

Vivienne started sewing clothes for herself at the age of 12 and studied fashion and silversmithing at the University of Westminster’s Harrow School of Art at age 17. But after only 1 term, she left to study at a teacher-training college and eventually became a primary school teacher. Reason why she left the university – she didn’t know how a working-class girl like herself could possibly make a living in the art world.

4. Fashion still calls for her.

Even as a teacher, Vivienne still was able to create her own jewellery, which she would sell at a stall on Portobello Road. She even made her own wedding dress for her wedding with Derek Westwood. After her split with Derek, she met art student and soon to be music business maverick Malcolm McLaren and he became her business partner and lover for 10 years.

5. Vivienne Westwood is the Godmother of Punk

Malcolm opened doors for her in the fashion and art world starting by dressing up the punk rock band that Malcolm managed, the Sex Pistols. The partners soon opened a boutique on King’s Road in Chelsea and called “Let It Rock”, later known as “Sex”, then as “Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die”, “Seditionaries” and lastly “Worlds Ends”. When it opened, the shop proved to be an important fashion and cultural centre for the punk movement, which began in the 70’s in the UK, then spread around the world, and is still very much alive today.

6. A Fashion Mastermind continues to evolve

After the punk era, Vivienne experimented with other themes in the early years of her career starting with her main women’s ready-to-wear line entitled “Pirate” that offered a romantic look which burst onto the fashion scene of the British capital and ensured the collection’s place in history. Her following collections took inspirations from diverse sources such as the film ‘Blade Runner’, the desert landscape, undergarments and Tokyo’s neon signs. She dubbed the period in her career from 1981 to 1985 as “New Romantic” and the one from 1988 to 1992 as “The Pagan Years”. During the latter period, Vivienne’s heroes changed from punks and ragamuffins to ‘Tatler’ girls wearing clothes that parodied the upper class.

7. She does the unexpected

Fast forward to present day… 2014 was a big year for Westwood. She designed not only the new Virgin Atlantic uniforms but also beloved pop culture icon Miss Piggy’s wedding dress for the Disney film ‘Muppets Most Wanted’. The highly anticipated wedding of Miss Piggy and her groom Kermit the Frog took place at the Tower of London where the bride walked down the aisle in a Vivienne Westwood long ivory court wedding gown, with corset detailing and paillettes made from recycled plastic bottles.

8. She’s a Rebel with a Cause

Vivienne often uses her catwalk shows, especially for her menswear and Red Label lines, as platforms to campaign about issues that she supports, such as climate change and Scottish independence. During London Fashion Week in September 2014, for her Red Label Spring/Summer 2015 collection, she sent her models down the runway wearing ‘Yes’ badges, proudly showing her wish for Scotland to break away from the UK. So it is no surprise that Vivienne was inducted into the Scottish Fashion Awards Hall of Fame for consistently used Scottish textiles and fabrics within her collections as well as for the significant impact she has made for campaigning for human rights and environmental issues.

Vivienne Westwood’s distinct point of view and passion are very much unique and worthy of praise, as she has shown throughout her career which so far spans over five decades. To this day, she remains as one of the most sought-after and influential designers, inspiring other brilliant and creative minds such as Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano. She has dressed everyone from the Sex Pistols, to the Princess of Wales and many of today’s most iconic celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams and Marion Cotillard, just to name a few.

Simply Coco – How One Woman Changed the Fashion Industry Forever

Deep in the countryside of Saumur France, August 19, 1883 bore the birth of a baby girl given the name Gabrielle Chasnel. As the illegitimate daughter of a forsaken romance between an aspiring seamstress and a Nomad, Gabrielle would grow up ashamed of her family and later lead her life in denial of her past. Still against all odds, she would become a legend; one who would eventually be known to the world as Coco Chanel. As an integrative fashion designer, Coco single-handedly launched what is now considered to be one of the world’s most recognized brand names: Chanel. Named after her adopted surname, the company which first began in a small French village nearly 100 years ago is now worth an estimated 11.8 billion dollars. How exactly did Coco Chanel accomplish such a rags-to-riches fairytale? Her journey was not a simple one.

Gabrielle Chasnel began her life as the second child of Jeanne Devolle and Albert Chanel, a young and unwed couple searching for independence and identity. When Gabrielle was born, her birth was recorded by two illiterate employees of a local hospice. The workers were not sure of how to spell ‘Chanel’, prompting them to improvise and spell her surname incorrectly as ‘Chasnel’ on the birth certificate. Later as an adult, Gabrielle would refuse to correct this mistake in fear that the truth of her illegitimacy would become public. The Chanel family struggled financially during Gabrielle’s childhood, with Albert and Jeanne often sacrificing their own food to feed their children. By the time Gabrielle was 12 years old, she had 4 siblings in total. Despite having relatively close relationships with her family now, Gabrielle would later insist that she was an only child, and pay her real siblings off as a way to prevent public humiliation from the truth about her real family. Her father left early in 1895 that year to expedite across Europe, leaving Jeanne alone to support their 5 children. The combination of loneliness and stress led Jeanne to face a series of medical problems. Her health matters only became worse over the years, and she eventually died from tuberculosis in the winter of 1895.

Gabrielle’s father returned for a short while, but soon left again in hopes of saving up money to raise his family. Because of his absence, the Chanel children were divided to stay with extended family and orphanages. Gabrielle, along with her older sister were sent to an orphanage. Since they had no money, the girls stayed at the home for free. Still, this was in no way considered a privilege. The nuns or “aunts” as they were referred to at the Catholic-based home were extremely cruel to the Chanel sisters in particular, and often singled them out for being ‘charity cases’. To ‘earn her keep’, Gabrielle was forced to became a seamstress. Though assured that her stay there was temporary, Albert never returned to his family.

Gabrielle remained in the orphanage, visiting her other relatives only during school vacations. On the occasions that she did visit, various female family members adamantly taught Gabrielle techniques to improve her sewing. At the age of 18, Gabrielle left the orphanage and began working for a local tailor. Despite talking freely about her experience at the orphanage, and explaining in meticulous detail the abuse in which she encountered from the ‘aunts’, Gabrielle later insisted that she was more than thankful for her upbringing. She once told a French newspaper that “I’ve been ungrateful toward the odious aunts. I owe them everything. A child in revolt becomes a person with armor and strength. It’s the kisses, caresses, teachers, and vitamins that… turn [children] into unhappy or sickly adults. It’s the mean and nasty aunts who create winners… under nastiness looms strength, and a passion for grandeur.” Still, Coco frequently contradicted herself, blaming the aunts for her all her inferiorities. This irregularity from her interviews led many to question her honesty in later years.

The first decade of the 1900’s not only brought the fresh start of a new century, but also many personal changes for Gabrielle. After adopting the name Coco during a brief stint as a cafĂ© singer from 1905-1908, Gabrielle met and began an affair with a man she was introduced to while working at a tailoring shop: a French playboy and millionaire, Etienne Balsan. Gabrielle, hereafter referred to as simply ‘Coco’, quickly turned into a member of an accustomed high-class society. Life became a materialistic game in which Coco thrived to have more riches than anyone else. Balsan endowed Coco with splendors of the rich life, including diamonds, dresses, and pearls. During her time spent living with Balsan, Coco took on the hobby of designing hats for herself. Soon, this frivolous pastime became a much more profound talent and interest of the budding designer. In 1907, Coco opened up her first shop which offered a range of chic raincoats and jackets for a generous cost. Coco later confessed that the shop was in fact Balsan’s lavish Paris apartment, and that she had taken it over after leaving him the prior year. Though the fashionable boutique was located in the center of thriving Paris, France, the store was not as prosperous as Coco had hoped. She was requested to surrender the property in early 1908. Still, the lack of success from her shop failed to disappoint or discourage Coco; it only made her more determined.

On a chance occasion prior to World War I, Coco reconnected with Etienne Balsan’s former best friend, Arthur “Boy” Capel, a wealthy English polo player who Coco later referred to “the only love” of her life. The two soon began a madly passionate relationship that lasted from 1909 until 1918, though Capel was never completely faithful to Coco. Still, Arthur had a lasting impression on the styles of Coco, and his abundance of money helped her to gather enough resources to open another shop. With his support, Coco eventually gained access to a desirable property and financial assistance to open her second millinery shop in Brittany, France.

This time Coco experienced much more success than she did with her previous shop. Impressive clientele at Chanel’s shops, including famed American diplomats and renowned French actresses helped to build her notable reputation. In the middle of 1913, Coco opened her third and largest boutique in Deauville, featuring original women’s sportswear. This was a huge change from the common corsets that most women opted to wear to impress their husbands. A preferred location helped this shop become more profitable than the others; most women in Deauville during the World War I era were coming to realize that women should dress for themselves instead of their men. The wardrobe in which Chanel offered seemed captivating and liberating to women of this time.

Nonetheless, Capel’s influence played a huge role in deciding what fashions Coco would choose to style and sell. For example, the design of Arthur’s favorite blazers inspired Coco to incorporate a squared, masculine touch on classic suit designs. These styles still remain a staple part of the Chanel wardrobe. Coco and Arthur’s affair lasted for many years. Though Capel married Diana Wyndham, an honorable English aristocrat in late 1918, he still remained close to Coco. Later in her life, Chanel listed Capel’s fatal car accident in late 1919 the “single most devastating event” in her life. Many believe that the tragic loss of her great love was the sole reason why Chanel never married.

In the year preceding Capel’s death, world ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev introduced a distraught Coco to famed composer Igor Stravinsky. Aside from consoling Coco’s broken heart, Sergei became a close friend and supposed companion. Chanel offered Diaghilev and his family to reside with her in her French estate. During the time in which this temporary abide took place is when it was rumored that the two had an affair. Two years after her so called ‘illicit affair’ with Diaghilev ended, Coco introduced a new product: a perfume, called Chanel No. 5. The new fragrance quickly became, and remains one of the most lucrative products of the Chanel empire. A man named Pierre Wertheimer was announced Coco’s partner in the perfume portion of the business in 1924. It was also speculated that Wertheimer may have been yet another one of the many lovers Coco had in her lifetime. Still, Wertheimer remained a close confidant and his family continues to control Chanel’s perfume company today.

In 1923, Coco told Harper’s Bazaar magazine that “simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”. Chanel applied this statement to each and every feature of her company. The clothing she designed was always ensured to be simple, comfortable, and revealing. One of Coco’s greatest talents was the art of upgrading fabrics that were considered ‘poor’, such as jersey. Coco was also extremely influential in helping design the iconic 1920’s flapper: young women who strutted around with sleek hair and flat chests, publicly applying their makeup and smoking with long cigarette holders.

In 1925, a woman named Vera Bate Lombardi became Chanel’s official public relations liaison to several European royal families. Lombardi was reported to have had the highest correlations to build the House of Chanel. Interestingly enough, it was Lombardi’s personality whom Coco established her English Look based upon. Lombardi introduced Coco to her aristocratic family members, including her uncle, the Duke of Westminster and her cousin, the Duke of Windsor. Her close relations with many other royals only assisted in Chanel’s creative rule of the fashion world.

Also in 1925, Coco introduced her long-anticipated signature cardigan jacket. The iconic Chanel jackets have several distinguishing designs, and are constructed differently than the traditional tailored jacket. For example, Chanel’s original pieces contain silk lining quilted directly to the fabric, opposed to the usual inner structure of pad stitching. Additionally, Chanel jackets all feature machine sewn and hand-stitched fabric, providing them with more durability. The distinctive Chanel three-piece sleeve is also constructed similarly before being hand sewn to the jacket’s body. The arrays of heavy trims, metal buttons, and curbed chains sewn to the hem have a functional purpose as well. All of these factors together grant the finished product with a tremendously comfortable garment. Most of Chanel’s inventive fashions, including her signature jacket have not changed much since their original debut. This can prove that Chanel’s integrative styles were the product of a brilliant woman beyond her time.

The year 1926 brought the birth of what is now considered to be ‘the’ staple item in every woman’s closet: the signature little black dress. Now commonly referred to as simply a “LBD”, the little black dress was an instant success for Chanel, prompting American Vogue to call it the “Ford”; just as Henry Ford’s Model-T car, the LBD was an immediate hit and widely available. Chanel’s first creation of the little black dress was a slash-necked, short silk dress with diagonal pin-tucks serving decoration. Though many may perceive the LBD as too plain, Coco strongly believed that fashion should be just as functional as it was chic. Ideally simple, her interpretation of the LBD was designed to conceal stains and to fit every woman. The little black dress also is extremely versatile and can be dressed up or down to fit different people’s needs perfectly. Some believe that Coco’s early years spent at the convent orphanage with nuns offered Coco an intuitive affinity for the “uniform” worn by the women who had raised her in her time of need. Regardless, Chanel’s legendary LBD has remained the epitome of simple elegance for over 80 years.

In 1939 at the start of World War II, Coco closed all of her shops. She believed that in the middle of the entire world’s chaos, fashion was not a top priority. Coco began residing in what would become a more than 30 year stay at the Hotel Ritz Paris. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, she was widely criticized for engaging in a steamy affair with Hans Gunther von Dincklage, a German officer and Nazi spy who secretly arranged for Coco to remain in the hotel. During this same time period, Coco maintained two other residences, both of which were also located in France.

In fall of 1943, Coco sought to end 4 years of professional partition with Vera Bate Lombardi who was staying in Rome. Though Lombardi was unaware of it then, Coco’s true intention was to contact Lombardi’s relative, Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill was a member of the Walter Schellenberg Nazi plan “Operation Modellhut”. Chanel extended an offer for Lombardi to resume her work for Paris’ House of Chanel. Lombardi was overwhelmed until she discovered the truth behind Coco’s request. Vera adamantly repudiated Coco’s request, citing the fashion designer’s guise as “cut-throat”. Vera was later captured as an English spy and was locked in a Roman prison by the Gestapo. Chanel was also briefly arrested for war related crimes, shortly after Lombardi’s detainment. However, Coco’s close ties with the British Royal family ultimately prevented her from being taken to trial.

Two years after her close encounter with prison, the Nazi Empire crumbled and France was free once more. Still, the French government warned of harsh punishments to French citizens who may have partnered with the Nazis. Coco’s previous ties with Hans Gunther von Dincklage provoked several rumors about her loyalty to France. Fearfully Chanel fled to Switzerland, in hopes of obtaining a fresh new start. Coco chose to convey an upscale, yet relatively low-key lifestyle, residing in upper Lausanne aside the sandy shores of Lake Geneva. She could often be seen indulging in beauty treatments at the Valmont Clinic, which was in close proximity to her oceanfront home. Chanel was also frequently witnessed at the Steffan tea room in upper Montreux, a popular spot for local celebrities. During her stay in Switzerland, a distraught and spiteful Coco began to create her own collection of perfumes without informing her partner Pierre Wertheimer. Though Wertheimer believed his legal rights were breached, he settled the disagreement with Coco civilly. She eventually sold inclusive rights to her name to the Wertheimer family in exchange for a monthly remuneration. This stipend helped to support her and her live-in friend: former Nazi spy, Hans Gunther von Dincklage.

1953 marked the year that Chanel finally returned to Paris, only to discover that famed designer Christian Dior was now the alpha of the couture world. Coco decided to consult her estranged former business-partner Pierre Wertheimer for guidance and financial back-up. In return, Wertheimer was awarded full rights to all Chanel products. Their alliance was hoped to have sparked a flame that would reignite Coco’s majestic stance in the fashion industry. However, this was not the case for the French selection of her clientele. Chanel’s new collections were not successful with local Parisians. It is widely speculated that this is because of Coco’s publicized previous relations with German officer von Dincklage. Still, her collection was celebrated by Americans, who would later become her most prevalent purchases.

In February of 1955, the now famous Chanel suit was re-introduced to the public. Her casual yet sophisticated styles once more captured the eyes of women globally. Also in the same month, the fashionable Chanel chain handled quilted leather handbag originally premiered. Coco additionally and impressively established her first men’s cologne, referred to in France as eau de toilette, which she named Pour Monsieur. Chanel’s spring collection was granted the Fashion Oscar at the 1957 Fashion Awards in Dallas. Soon after, Chanel introduced pea jackets and bell bottoms, whose popularity soared in the 1970’s. Coco is also believed by many to be the initial trend-setter for the now popular suntanned skin look. On the eve of her return from St. Barts, Coco sported a summer glow to a fashion show, standing out from the rest of the powdered and pale faces of all the other women.

January 10, 1971 was the final day of Coco’s life. Her obituary listed her as still “designing, still working” at the time of her death. Though she led a remarkable and extraordinary life, Chanel died alone, with only the presence of her sketches and fabric samples to keep her company. In the last years of her life, Coco had become somewhat of a recluse, only leaving her home when absolutely necessary. She had few real friends, and no family. Many may have envied the aspects of Coco’s glamorous and wealthy lifestyle in theory, but most would not have traded their own lives for hers. Though Coco died with a superfluous amount of money, she was lonesome, and never got to experience the one-of-a-kind love and joy of having a husband or children. After her death, Coco Chanel left behind a true legacy. Still, her life seemed as empty as her pockets were during her childhood. She was 87.

The Importance of Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) is one the most important trade associations in America and the world. Its main motive is to promote American art and culture using fashion as a tool. Thus the purpose behind its foundation has turned out to be successful venture as it has achieved its goal handsomely.

Since 1962, when it was founded, it has remained one of leading fashion associations committed to the cause of bringing excellency in fashion arts. It has been successful enough to enhance the aesthetic and artistic quotient in the field of fashion design and accessories.

By nature, it is a non-profit trade association. Basically, its main task is to provide right direction to all the aspiring, talented and enthusiastic fashion designers who have the potential to emerge on the horizon of fashion.

For the better implementation of its strategies and to gain the maximum benefits of its mission, the CFDA starts functioning from the very basic level. It provides help and support, by all means, to not only the students of universities but it uses its resources in the high schools too.

The membership of Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) counts more than 300. All of them are leading and famous fashion and accessory designers of America. Most of them were noticed in their aspiring age, thus picked up by the association for their better grooming.

The fashion association has developed a very strong tie-up with Vogue. Apart from working together on fashion front, they raise funds to fight HIV and AIDS. Also the association works for the cause of breast cancer under the banner of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. The CFDA’s members take active parts in such human-friendly works.

Moreover, the fashion association gives an annual award to recognize the impressive works done by a fashion designer in the field of fashion. The annual CFDA Fashion Awards are given under various categories such as menswear, womenswear and accessories. Also, the association promotes fashion journalism. Thus it gives awards in the fields of journalism also

Award Winning Underwear

Marlies Dekkers graduated from the Academy of Art with distinction in 1991. Her style is visionary and ground-breaking. Typified by an innovative strikingly graphic character that utilises modern materials whilst retaining superb craftsmanship. A real trend setter who finds inspiration in poetry, literature, visual arts and film.

Marlies Dekkers was born in 1965 and after graduating in 1991 she began work on her ‘Undressed’ collection founding her own designer lingerie company in 1993. Subsequently she exhibited her fabulous swimwear collection with the unique signature ‘straps’ design. The ‘Sundressed’ collection by Marlies Dekkers only uses the best quality materials and the comfort and gentle fit of the garments is renowned.

Many of Marlies Dekkers’ creations are displayed in modern art exhibitions and are sought after worldwide with Pussycat Dolls wearing Marlies Dekkers. Awarded the ‘Dutch Body Fashion’ award in 1993.

NEW YORK, 6 August: Marlies Dekkers’ scorching hot lingerie collection ‘Dare to Bear’ won the coveted CILA award for Best Fashion Lingerie.

Contours Magazine, the number one US lingerie publication, present the Annual Contours International Lingerie Awards (CILA) to reward the most creative and outstanding designs around. The event also highlights how ‘intimate apparel’, a 16 billion-dollar industry, plays a major role in influencing and directing mainstream fashion.

The brand, Marlies Dekkers, beat fellow finalists Christian Lacroix, Elle MacPherson, John Galliano and Chantelle – scooping home the prestigious award. The jury were said to be amazed by Dare to Bear’s innovative style, originality and print.

How Do Christian Louboutin Shoes Manage to Get All the Coveted Fashion Awards?

A woman with a good eye for the good stuff knows when she sees the right pattern and style. The woman truly knows what good style is all about and how she can use it to the best of her advantage. Women also know their bodies really well and what suits them.

They study the trends that are there fastidiously and then choose what suits them the best. The selection is based on not only their body types and the latest fashion trends but also on the amount that they need to spend in order to get the coveted style. Christian Louboutin replicas are always a solution.

When the winners are announced in the shoe style center, Christian Louboutin is always in the forefront. They have been presented with a special award from the house of women of all nations to thank them for dressing their feet so very wonderfully. It is almost like a life time achievement award. The celebrities have an array of these fashion shoes with the most wonderful of accessories in their closets. The best of high end styles, which come from Christian Louboutin fake with no high end prices that are attached to them! The trends that are inspired from the latest in the fashion world and of the kind that are classics never ever go out of vogue! And since these stars are the main inspirations for recent fashion trends, women are always trying to find out what these stars are wearing. Obviously, these Hollywood icons only wear clothes from the top designers, and unfortunately for most women out there, these designer items are way over their budgets. But the best news is now here because of the Christian Louboutin replicas!

The inspiration for these Christian Louboutin replicas are the type that are drawn from all over; it could be from nature, the monuments, a part of one’s body or just the particular color. That is what makes these shoes a class apart. Something, that gets the brand the coveted prize and gets the wearer the coveted assignment, project, job, business deal or the man in her life. Different people look for different things out in life. And, with these fabulous shoes on one’s feet it becomes extremely simple to be able to achieve it. These shoes are not only very light on the pocket, but they are so indistinguishable from the originals because of the very same materials used. So you are not only assured of the stylish look but also the comfortable feeling that these wonderful replica shoes will give you.

If you are in the mood to greatly pamper yourself then these Christian Louboutin replicas will allow you to do so. The wonderful leather, the smartest of suede, the best of satin, the softest and lightest of chiffons will allow you to do so. Shoes are certainly the most essential of additions in a woman’s wardrobe. The right variety and brand will allow one the best of both worlds.

Do Addicts Really Recover?

In my line of work as addiction professional, I’m often asked “Do people with addiction get better?” The question may sound simple but it’s not really that simple. There are so many facets to addiction. The chemicals are but one aspect. There also are the addict’s personality attributes, attitudes, lifestyle, and values – all contributing and feeding the addiction syndrome. For most people, the obsession by the addict to consume chemicals is the most salient aspect of addiction. This becomes their focus of attention when asking the question, “Do addicts really recover?” Meaning can they give up drugs and become “normal” people again?

After a closer look at addiction, one begins to realize that the chemical abuse is intimately tied to the person’s mental health, lifestyle, and personal values. For example, it is hard to ignore an addict’s criminal activities related to supporting his drug habit or an alcoholic’s scheming and manipulating behavior to hide his alcoholism when the addicted or alcoholic is trying to pursue “recovery.” Can people “recover” from addiction and still carry on with these criminal or anti-social inclinations? What are the chances of a recovering person remaining abstinent while continuing to sell drugs or maintaining his connection with friends who are involved in criminal activities? Can a recovering alcoholic remain sober while bar-tending?

My point is that there is a “quality of life” a recovering addict or alcoholic must maintain to achieve a certain level of healthy living. For some this may mean pursuing counseling or following medication regime to control psychiatric symptoms. For others, a complete lifestyle change may be necessary to re-align personal priorities and internalize pro-social values. With addiction, old associations — people, places, and things – can easily trigger a relapse to old “bad habits.” There is a common belief among recovering persons that “picking-up” drugs or any substances is the last step in the relapse process. Long before the actual substance use, the person has already relapsed in his thinking – reflected in noticeable changes in attitude, values, and over-all behavior.

To go back to the original question: “Do addicts really recover?” The answer is a relative yes. For some who consider their addiction as a disorder of the whole person and take a holistic view of recovery, they aspire more than giving up the chemicals to include a reinvention of themselves, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Others are content with minimizing the harmful effects of illicit drug use but still resort to alcohol use. Still others give up drugs but continue to have dysfunctional patterns of coping or residual manifestations of personality disorders.

Do Addicts Really Recover?
Dr. Fernando B. Perfas

How Nicotine Test Helps Employers to Establish Smoke-Free Workplace

Nicotine abuse is an issue affecting the profitability of businesses and the environment at workplaces. Employers are insisting on measures that will help them make the workplaces free from smoking of tobacco so as to make their businesses more productive.

Employers in US imposing ban on smokers:

Increasing numbers of employers in US are rejecting the applications of candidates who smoke. They are abiding by the laws framed by the government for the purpose and are not hiring who they find to be smokers. To know whether the prospective hired is smoker, they conduct tests. Those who are found positive for smoking are not offered employment.

Nicotine test helps them to detect smokers – instantly:

Employers apply different techniques to tackle the issue of smoking. These include testing for tobacco (nicotine) by different methods. These tests are helpful to identify if the applicant really smokes tobacco or not. Generally, a nicotine test can be conducted using urine, saliva or hair follicle samples. Employers use any or a combination of these techniques.

Benefits of establishing smoke-free environment:

A smoke-free environment improves productivity of the employees and reduces health insurance costs. Employers find smoke-free workplace beneficial on the following grounds.

Increased productive hours:

A no-smoking environment results in higher number of productive hours than in a smoking permitted one. Employees not used to smoking concentrate better on work and hence there is greater number of productive hours. They are healthy and take few sick leaves.

Whereas, smoking employees take unauthorized breaks to smoke, which is waste of productive time.

Healthy atmosphere:

As healthy employees are more focused on productivity, there is cordial relation between employees as well as employers. Such workplaces boost the employees’ morale and work potential and encourage talented workforce to work for more number of hours. Employers too reciprocate and get prompted to take positive action on any issue.

Shows professional approach of the business:

A smoke-free workplace, places the employer’s image in a positive view among the employees, peers, government, and social groups. The welfare measures taken serve as an example for professional approach taken by the employer. This will enhance mutual trust between the employer and employees.

Reduces healthcare costs:

Following a no-smoking policy at workplace would result in less healthcare costs. This is because, the employees are healthy and need lower health maintenance expenses – be it insurance premium or medical emergencies. These factors are known to cause increased medical expenses to employers in case of employees habituated to smoking. Studies show that, post non-smoking policy there is remarkable decline in the tobacco caused heart attacks, making current smokers to quit (Source: Forbes, 12 June, 2016).

Taking up nicotine tests to enforce a smoking-free environment at workplace is beneficial. The measures, of course, entail costs to the employers.

Which Is the Most Difficult Drug to Detox From?

The hardest drugs to detox from depend on your perspective. If by “difficult” you’re referring to the severity of dangerous medical symptoms that occur during withdrawal, then the obvious answer is alcohol and benzodiazepine. Both of these drugs could kill you during detox. But if you’re referring to the severity of emotional, mental and spiritual symptoms that affect a person during drug detox, then most addicts will agree that opiates are the most difficult; especially opiates like Methadone that are designed to help wean an addict from other opiates like heroin.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Medical Reasons

The following substances prove especially challenging for many addicts to withdraw from considering the serious medical risks of doing so: Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines and Alcohol. The withdrawal process has been known to cause life-threatening complications in some people. This includes pulmonary and cardiovascular distress, respiratory depression, grand mal seizures, delirium tremens, hallucinations, coma and death.

Fortunately, death is rare but nevertheless the fact that it is possible creates a deterrent to treatment for some addicts. In most cases the risks of withdrawing from these substances can be mitigated by attending detox in a professional medical setting where healthcare practitioners and addiction experts can observe the detox process and respond immediately in case of any complications.

The Most Difficult Drugs to Withdraw/Detox From: Emotional Reasons

Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, the first annals of history were recorded by the ancient Sumerians. Translations of stone etchings show that these early peoples farmed and used opium extensively. In fact, their word for the plant can be translated to “Joy;” an apt description considering the widespread abuse of opium for the next several thousand years. By nearly all accounts, the euphoric high obtained by using opium is the highest feeling of joy most addicts have ever felt. But herein lays the problem.

When a person uses an opiate like heroin or Oxycontin to get high, they rapidly build up a tolerance not only to the drug, but also to euphoria. This means that it becomes more and more difficult to obtain the same euphoric effect with the same amount of opiates, so in nearly all cases users continually increase their dosages – some to the point of overdose and death. But in general the central nervous system becomes more and more desensitized to stimulus that would normally cause feeling of joy or euphoria. In fact, the opposite often occurs, resulting in a state known as Dysphoria; the opposite of euphoria.

Dysphoria is a severe problem for people who are detoxing/withdrawing from opiates because after the stop using the drug they often find it difficult or impossible to find joy or happiness in anything. This causes severe bouts of depression, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and unexplained misery, terrible sadness and overwhelming inadequacy and loneliness; even in the presence of others. These emotional and spiritual symptoms drive many people in the early stages of recovery to return to drug use in order to self-medicate their general state of dysphoria.

Opiates Used to Treat Addiction to Other Opiates

Many addicts report and anecdotal evidence suggests that withdrawing and detoxing from opiates that are used to treat addiction to other opiates is a severe and extremely challenging process. The reasons for this are not understood, but it’s possible that because most opiate treatment drugs like methadone block the release of dopamine, addicts do not obtain a euphoric effect, even though they are spared the normal symptoms of withdrawal (essentially because methadone maintenance merely prolongs the addictive process.)

Support forums on group sharing often results in addicts advising each other NOT to go on an opiate maintenance program and to tough out the initial stages of a more “pure” withdrawal instead. Therefore, it could be argued that detoxing from opiate maintenance drugs is the most difficult type of detox to undergo.

The Kindling Effect

Regardless of the substance, the Kindling Effect can make detox and withdrawal an absolute nightmare; especially if the addict in question has relapsed repeatedly in their lifetime. The concept of Kindling is that with each progressive relapse and subsequent withdrawal, the brain and central nervous system become more highly sensitized (or highly desensitized) to drug abuse and the feelings it creates. As a result withdrawal symptoms are much more severe and potentially dangerous for these individuals than for others.

Ultimately, the most challenging detox is the one you’re about to go through. Taking that first step is extraordinarily difficult regardless of what drug you use and how long and hard you’ve been using it. But the reality of the situation is that left unabated the consequences of continued active addiction are in every instance more severe and potentially life-changing that the actual process of withdrawal and detox, which usually takes 10 days or less for most people.

If you or someone you love is fighting addiction, the most valuable weapon you can give them is action. Do it now; get help, get a free consultation, and take the first step before it’s too late to move forward at all.

7 Habits of an Addict About to Relapse

Many addicts in recovery that are nearing a relapse episode exhibit predictable and identifiable habits and behaviors before the actual relapse occurs. Recognition of these habits is critical in order for people in recovery and their loved ones to take decisive and immediate action to prevent the relapse. This is especially important considering the potential consequences of each new relapse episode: prison, violence, bankruptcy, death. Relapse prevention isn’t just about stopping someone from using again; it’s about saving a life.

The following are 7 behaviors that many addicts exhibit prior to and/or during the early stages of a relapse:

1.) Withdrawal/Isolation

A person in recovery who is on the verge of relapse will likely become withdrawn and purposefully isolate other people around them. This is particularly true of people that will not support or condone a return to drug use or drinking. This could be evidenced by spending less time with family members, staying out later at night than normal or not coming home, and by seeming withdrawn and quiet when others are present.

2.) Decline in Hygiene/Productivity

There is often a lack of care and concern when a relapse is imminent. Meaning, less attention is paid to personal hygiene details, exercise programs are abandoned, employment or educational inefficiencies or neglect occurs, and regular household upkeep suffers. These are all common signs of an addict who is beginning to care less and less about trying to maintain a legitimate lifestyle.

3.) Glorification of Substance Abuse

An addict that is unhappy with or neglectful of their recovery will often yearn for the days when they used drugs or drank. They may talk about using and relive their past drug use in the form of stories, anecdotes and comments that make it clear that they miss those times, despite the severe consequences they suffered as a result. (Levels of Relapse Warning Signs, T. Gorski)

4.) Reconnecting

An early warning of relapse is when a person in recovery begins to reconnect with friends or acquaintances they used drugs or drank with. This refers mainly to individuals who are potentially still using drugs or those who do not support recovery/sobriety. These reconnections are especially troubling when the person in question has withdrawn from people that DO support their recovery.

5.) Engaging in Risky Behavior

An addict in recovery that is about to relapse will often exhibit abnormally risky behavior. This could include extreme sports or other athletic activities, promiscuity, excessive speeding and other dangerous activities. Engaging in behaviors such as these fills a certain need for excitement and euphoria, but for most addicts in recovery the only euphoria that will satiate them is a return to their drug of choice.

6.) Secretive

As people in recovery get closer to relapse, they sometimes become secretive; carefully guarding their phone or computer, remaining tight-lipped concerning where they go, who they’re with, etc. Often at this stage the relapse has already begun and secrecy is required in order to conceal it.

7.) Abandoning Treatment

Addicts in recovery usually engage in some type of ongoing treatment as part of a relapse prevention program. This can take many forms, but when people in recovery are nearing a relapse episode, they often abandon these types of treatment with little explanation. When combined with any or all of the behaviors outlined above, it’s likely that for these people, relapse is imminent. (Carole Bennett, M.A. 6 Common Relapse Triggers PsychologyToday.com)

If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone you love who is in recovery, taking swift action is critical. This should begin by addressing the issue directly with the individual, and escalate to involve the person’s support network, treatment specialists and if needed, an interventionist.

Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘N Roll: The Real Story

Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll is a common dream that few will know; but many try and so the story goes, that there’s riches there in the backstage glow. But looking in subjectively, one must put down the cell phone, the remote and the Wii, for things in the spotlight are never what they seem- when it comes to the combination of these infamous three.

It’s a tempting image we’ve too often seen; fans by the millions who clamor and scream; for a glimpse, just a touch or a kiss on the cheek; there’s no shortage of groupies and their big rock-star dreams. So backstage they go to embrace beneath the sheets; neither star nor fan knowing if the other is clean. Just ask Freddy Mercury of Queen or the legend Easy E, or ponder the math of promiscuity. The more sex one has the more threats one will see; the chances for most are about 1 in 3.

Of course, the risk is increased when one factors in drugs, which diminish good judgment and moral aplomb. To this many a rock star can certainly attest, with unwanted pregnancies, herpes, syphilis and the rest.

But if the threat of disease isn’t enough, consider the sexual dysfunction that could be caused by drugs; with repeated use the good feelings fade – until sex feels like nothing and relationships become strained. Then all that’s left is to get high and play; but the music, like sex, is empty and grey.

This is the way so many rock stars go; they hide in the weed, the booze and the coke. They wait for salvation in the fame or the dough, but round and round with the drugs they still go. It’s a tired old story with so many names, of rock ‘n roll legends this disease has claimed;

Janis Joplin overdosed on heroin and Hendrix choked on his own puke – while passed out and delirious on ‘barbs and on booze. John Bonham from Led Zeppelin would likewise follow suit, and choke on his vomit after 40 shots of booze. Jay Bennett, from Wilco; lost to overdose, not long after Wes Berggren from Tripping Daisy died from cocaine and ‘benzos.

Steve Clark from Def Leppard, Kevin DuBrow from Quiet Riot, both died far too young from a cocaine-based diet. Slipknot’s Paul Grey died from morphine and pills, while Sublime lost their front-man to a heroin thrill. It was heroin too, that took Kurt Cobain and bassist friend Pfaff; the loss to the grunge scene marred its future and past.

Some groups have lost more than one member to the scourge of addiction, the call of drug abuse – The Pretenders, The Grateful Dead, Alice in Chains and The Who – were all scarred forever when their deaths numbered 2. But it’s not a problem isolated to just these few; The Temptations, Sex Pistols, AC/DC, Blues Traveler, Weezer, Mad Season, Avenged Sevenfold and Red Hot Chili Peppers all lost members too.

So it’s clear to the people and plainly we must see, that the image of fame is not presented impartially. And though the story won’t change and it’s long as it goes, there’s still the allure of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll.