This upcoming weekend will see the commencement of the National Day of Unplugging, billed as the largest attempt to bring awareness to a technology-addicted America. From sundown on March 7 to sundown on March 8, the non-profit group Reboot will be challenging people to a nationwide – and even worldwide – effort to ditch their gadgets for 25 hours cold turkey.
Along with Reboot, rapidly growing Digital Detox and Camp Grounded is promoting tech withdrawal festivities that are drawing considerable attention, even online. In what is being billed as the largest “off-the-grid celebration” to date, the March 7-8 event will be marked by planned events in San Francisco and Los Angeles as part of the National Day of Unplugging Campaign.
As a “slow down, not a start up,” Digital Detox and Camp Grounded were created by Levi Felix and Brooke Dean in answer to what they saw as a world quickly becoming obsessed with technology. In their eyes, rapid communication has been affecting the quality of life in a way that requires a counter-balancing movement. In the last year, their organization has sponsored many getaways, or "analog zones," and promoted the idea of technology balanced with humanity, with wellness as a priority.
The National Day of Unplugging created a stir last year, as well as a few criticisms for using high-tech mediums to advocate disconnecting from said technology, promoting their events and ideas, and growing their community. "We absolutely recognize the irony that we're using a high-tech device to promote a low-tech day, but that's the best way to get the word out," said Tanya Schevitz, the national communications manager for Reboot.
The community does seem to emanate from within the tech industry, and all the related media industries that rely heaviest on digital communication and hyper-connectivity in order to compete and create in the modern world. There is, however, a call among these same groups for an awareness of the impact that an overindulgence on digital technology has on the world around them, both positive and negative; a demand for greater responsibility in how personal interactions with technology need to be balanced with community interactions and a healthier approach.
All of these groups are headed by people who have felt the effects of digital addiction and burnout firsthand, and who have seen themselves and others recover from the consequences by engaging in community activism and advocating for wellness and mindfulness beyond the technological sphere of influence without demonizing the technology itself. The National Day of Unplugging Campaign might be viewed as a harm reduction model for individuals caught up in the world wide web with dwindling opportunities for escape. The upcoming events look to be an honest attempt to make use of the digital networks that are so obsessively consuming to create a more balanced consumer experience.
Naturally, Reboot has a smartphone app called ‘Sabbath Manifesto’ which they created several years ago to enable tech weary individuals the opportunity to unplug more readily. The National Day of Unplugging campaign has been growing ever since. Around the time Reboot unveiled their app and promoted the idea of unplugging for a day, Felix and Dean were living off the grid in Cambodia after a traumatic experience that sent them traveling the world on a spiritual healing quest. It was while in Cambodia that they reportedly first developed the ideas that would grow into the Digital Detox venture and the first Camp Grounded experience.
“On our return we realized that the world had not slowed down, everyone was always plugged-in, and burnout was all around us (or looming on the horizon especially for those involved in tech). So we decided that we wanted to share what we had learned traveling with those back home.” Felix said. “At our Digital Detox you surrender your phone, computer, iPod, watch and all other forms of technology. Then our dedicated team works to create a space that gives you the freedom and permission to truly unplug and decompress.“
This Friday in San Francisco the first event will begin at 7 p.m. within an "analog zone" that includes live music, arts, meditation, "device-free drinks" and where conversation with eye contact is encouraged until 1 a.m.
The rules are as follows: No work talk or networking, no digital technology, cameras or watches, and use nicknames. Admission is free with RSVP. The only price is unplugging your digital devices. Bring money for food, drinks and certain activities. Admission is first come, first served. Doors close when capacity is reached.
Saturday night’s event begins at 7:30 p.m. next to Venice Beach. The literature for the event, similar to the previous evening's, states emphatically, “Check your phone at the door and together we’ll redefine what it means to truly be connected. It’s like summer camp for adults, in the city, for one epic night of pure unadulterated fun. Unplug after a busy week and take time off the grid to feel awesome. Live music, board games, typewriters, analog photo booth, arts 'n crafts, face painting, wellness lounge and more...”
There has been a lot of publicity in the last year for the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and tech fatigue syndrome, which are rapidly becoming more commonly talked about and experienced by an ever growing number of people. Incidents of increased traffic fatalities from drivers using devices; obsessive-compulsive issues around internet shopping, pornography, and gambling; and unsuccessful relationship counseling outcomes due in part to digital technology are felt by many professionals in the mental health field to be ominous indicators of the necessity for some type of outreach and treatment plan that embraces the ideals espoused at these events.
It is obvious that there is a growing need for a more cohesive approach, some sort of peer-to-peer support group for those who have incurred serious consequences from being too plugged in. Whether or not events such as the National Day of Unplugging hold the key to such future solutions remains to be seen, but they do offer hope for a dialog by and with those driving technology at-any-cost success. At the very least, this weekend's events will allow us to plug in a little more sanely than before.
- Lamar Odom's Drug Dealers Allegedly Stole $250,000 In Jewels From Kardashian Home, Sources Say [TMZ]
- Third Graders Caught Smoking Pot In California Elementary School [FOX40]
- Customs Agents Seize $30 Million Cocaine Shipment Near Puerto Rico [Huffington Post]
- Washington D.C. Council Decriminalizes Weed [Reuters]
- Big Majority Thinks 'El Chapo' More Powerful Than Mexican Government [Daily News]
- Indiana State Senate OKs Drug Testing For Some Welfare Recipients [IndyStar]
- Southern California Man Sues Las Vegas Casino After Losing $500,000 While 'Blackout Drunk' [ABC News]
- Deranged Oregon Couple Tries Burning Down Pizza Joint With Moonshine, Fails [Gawker]
Outpatient programs for drug and alcohol treatment in the state of Washington may have received a serious and possibly fatal blow by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.
A report from Seattle’s KING 5 News has stated that executives at publicly funded addiction recovery centers are facing substantial cutbacks now that federal funding from the ACA has assumed control of their budgets.
In the past, the state has helped these facilities bridge any funding gaps. But with the passage of the ACA, some agencies have been forced to tap their reserve funds to cover the difference or consider ending outpatient services for thousands of Washington residents, or even shuttering their locations altogether. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), which oversees Washington State’s social service programs, has said that it is the job of the state legislature to authorize the payments needed to keep these non-profits in business.
According to the KING 5 report, the legislature has two weeks to amend the state budget in order to allow or deny these payments. Agencies like the Recovery Centers of King County have considered selling off some of their buildings, while other smaller programs may be forced to close altogether.
What remains out of the equation is the care of patients across the state that rely on counseling and meetings several days per week. “The patients will not go away,” said Recovery Centers of King County CEO Pat Knox, Ph.D. “They will be on long waiting lists to receive treatment, and they will fill the hospitals and jails. More of them will be living on the streets of Seattle and surrounding neighborhoods as their addiction progresses.”
The first-ever commercial for medical marijuana in the United States wants to make you laugh. The one-minute ad, created for MarijuanaDoctors.com, features a shady dealer peddling sushi and the "finest sashimi this area has seen in years" from the inside pockets of his jacket.
“You wouldn’t buy your sushi from this guy,” the voiceover says. “So why would you buy your marijuana from him?”
While pot doesn't spoil as easily as sushi does inside jacket pockets, the logic is sound—there are no set standards for quality, freshness, and safety for street dealers.
“We felt the viewing public would agree that in the states providing safe access, continuing to obtain medicine illegally is as absurd as purchasing raw fish from a drug dealer,” said MarijuanaDoctor.com’s CEO Jason Draizin in a press release.
The company acts as a middleman, finding and connecting doctors who prescribe medical marijuana with patients who need it. Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 20 states. The new ad will air in New Jersey on major Comcast networks, including Fox, CNN, and ESPN. According to Draizin's press release, getting networks to air the marijuana-related spot was not easy—a fact the Marijuana Policy Project knows well.
”Marijuana has been demonized by our government for decades, so many people still have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything that even mentions the substance,” said Mason Tvert, the communications director for the MPP. “Over the past decade, we have been rejected by countless TV networks and billboard companies.”
See MarijuanaDoctors.com's commercial below:
Jonathan Singleton, widely considered to be the top first baseman prospect in all of Major League Baseball, has opened up about his past struggles with addiction. But instead of detailing his battles with painkillers or some harder substance, Singleton described struggling with an addiction to weed.
"I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can't block that out of my mind that I enjoy that," Singleton said. "At this point it's pretty evident to me that I'm a drug addict.”
Singleton discussed his substance abuse with the press in the dugout of the Astros' spring training ballpark in Kissimmee, FL. Originally signed by the Philadelphia Phillies, Singleton was traded to the Astros in 2011 and first tested positive for marijuana in June 2012. Just six months later, in December 2012, he tested positive for a second time while playing in the Arizona Fall League and received a 50-game suspension. But even then he was unable to stop.
"I knew I had a problem," Singleton said. "Even after I failed the second drug test I couldn't stop smoking weed. It was really bad."
Singleton eventually realized that he had a problem and checked into a 30-day treatment facility for inpatient care. "They would turn off the lights at 11:30 and I would just sit there and stare at the ceiling because I couldn't go to sleep," he said. "My heart was beating too fast. I would get night sweats. It was bad. I legitimately went through withdrawal."
Even though he managed to kick weed, Singleton’s problem only grew worse when he substituted pot with alcohol. "I went through some slight anxiety, some depression because I wasn't being successful," he said. "That was definitely difficult and that drove me to drink."
After drinking virtually every day and “waking up hung over every morning,” Singleton got his act together once again and prepared himself to earn a major league spot on the 2014 Houston Astros roster while maintaining his sobriety.
"Recently I've been more or less just sticking to myself and worrying about what I need to do to get better and become better as a person, not just a baseball player," he said.
A New York grandma accused of selling cocaine and painkillers while babysitting her grandkids could spend the next 11 years behind bars.
Geraldine Horsefall, 59, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in Buffalo to third-degree drug possession involving cocaine and fifth-degree drug possession involving the painkiller hydrocodone. She faces up to nine years in prison on the cocaine charge and 30 months on the painkiller charge.
Michelle King, 42, also pleaded guilty to charges involving selling prescription drugs she stole from a doctor for whom she worked as a nurse and selling them to Horsefall. King was referred to the judicial diversion program for nonviolent drug addicts involved in other crimes. The charges will be wiped from her record if she completes the year long program, but faces over five years in prison if she is unsuccessful.
The women were among 25 suspects indicted in “Operation Lockport,” which was conducted on the Native American reservation of the Tonawanda Band of the Senecas. The operation resulted in the seizure of $100,000 in cocaine, $60,000 in cash, a variety of prescription painkillers, and items used to secretly transport cocaine.
But it was Horsefall’s behavior that was most prominently highlighted among all the suspects. Not only did she make drug transactions while babysitting her four grandchildren, but she employed her adult children to sell drugs. Her daughter, Arylyn Horsefall, 33, and son, Eric Parker, 38, of Pembroke, were among those arrested in the sting.
“When someone brings small children along, that’s about as low as you can get,” noted State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.