August 31, 2007

5 Steps To Responsible Drinking Habits

If you personally make the choice that you are going to drink alcohol, whether on a regular basis or occasionally, you need to be sure that you always drink responsibly. There are a variety of different habits that you need to get into if you are going to drink in a responsible manner. Remember that you will be held responsible for your actions, whether you were drinking or not, so it is important that you only drink in a responsible manner. The following are a few tips that can help you with responsible drinking habits.

1. Only Drink When YOU Want To

It may be easy for you to be pressured into drinking alcohol by friends, but you should only drink whenever you feel like you want to. If you are not comfortable drinking in a certain environment, or you are just not in the mood to drink, stick to how you feel and do not let others dictate when and where you drink.

2. Know When To Stop

If you decide to drink alcohol, you need to be responsible enough to know when you need to stop drinking. If you want to test your limits, make sure you do it at home with someone you trust so you can get an idea of when you should stop before you become out of control and unaware. Many people find that drinking any more than one drink in an hour can cause problems.

3. Drink Slowly

If you are going to drink responsibly you need to be sure that you drink slowly. People get drunk quickly when they gulp down drinks and do not realize how much they are consuming. Take the time to enjoy what you are drinking and focus on the wonderful flavors instead of drinking a large quantity quickly.

4. Double Fist Your Drinks

If you are drinking an alcoholic beverage it is a great idea to have a glass of water there as well and drink the two together. Drinking the water in between sips of your alcohol can help to keep the concentration of the alcohol down in your blood stream. You are also less likely to have a hangover the next day if you keep hydrated as well.

5. Designate a Driver

If you are going out and plan on drinking, always make sure that someone is designated to drive and that they have no alcohol whatsoever. If there is no designated driver, you should be the responsible one and abstain from drinking. Remember that driving under the influence, no matter how little, can kill.

Having responsible drinking habits is very important if you are planning to consume alcohol. Being responsible while drinking can keep you healthy, keep you out of embarrassing situations, and most important of all – it can save your life.

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August 29, 2007

The Dangers of Binge Drinking

If you are a binge drinker, you should realize that not only could it make you an alcoholic it can also lead to death! This article will make you aware of the dangers of binge drinking, so it is important for you to pay attention. In most cases, binge drinking is more prevalent among teenagers and people in their early twenties but could occur a lot earlier. Binge drinking is not something to do just for fun.

Many people binge drink and do not know the seriousness of it. To most people their just drinking and having a good time with some friends, but that do not make it any less dangerous. People who die of binge drinking usually die of alcohol poisoning, which could shut down vital organs and even stop your heart. If you consider yourself a binge drinker it would be wise to stop right away before it turns into something you would not be able to control.

Binge drinking does not discriminate; it does not care if you are black, white, yellow or red. Parents being more knowledgeable when it comes to their children’s activities during college and parties are an effective weapon against binge drinking. Many teenagers agree that peer pressure is a major factor in them deciding to binge drink. Parents should talk to their kids at a young age about the dangers of Alcohol abuse, and throughout their teenage years also. Communication is the best defense against situations like these when it comes to your kids. Try anything within your power as a parent to prevent your kids from abusing alcohol. Let them know the dangers of alcoholism and the shame and hurt it can convey upon loved ones.

Nothing good can come out of binge drinking except alcoholism. Many binge drinkers who claim to only do it at parties or just for fun, usually become alcoholics or worse. Drinking and driving is also another effect of abusing alcohol. Young girls who engage in binge drinking at parties are in danger of being sexually assaulted or worse. Excessive drinking is never good, there is nothing that can come out of abusing alcohol, even if you only do it once a month at parties. If parents fail to educate their children about the dangers of binge drinking, it could cost them their lives. If you feel like you need help with your teen then talk to someone at your local police station, they should have programs that you and your teen can attend.

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August 27, 2007

How To Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol

If you are trying to prevent yourself from drinking too much alcohol at social gatherings or even in your daily life, there are certain things you should know about how to live a life that is balanced and alcohol-free. Here are a few ways that you can keep your alcohol intake under control.

One of the best things you can do to monitor your drinking is to plan your social life carefully. If you want to stay away from alcohol, try to make sure that you are not always in tempting settings where alcohol is served. If you usually go to lounges and parties where there is a bartender or cocktails, try going to the movies or pack a picnic instead. Not only will this give you and your friends something different to do when you go out, but you can be sure that you won’t have to deal with the pressure of drinking if you feel it may get out of control. In addition, the people that you are hanging out with won’t be drinking either, which takes the pressure off tremendously.

You should also make sure that you understand the connection between your drinking and your daily habits. If you normally drink when you are upset or stressed, pay attention to the things that make you upset and try to either eliminate them, or deal with them in a different way. For instance, if you are experiencing stress at work, and usually drink after work, try something else that relieves stress, such as taking a walk after dinner or listening to your favorite music. You can also take advantage of meditation to clear your head and calm yourself down. This may feel strange to you at first but after a while, you will become accustomed to using alternative methods to make yourself feel better. It is also best to substitute drinking with positive activities as soon as possible. Even if you feel that you are just a social drinker and only drink when you are out with friends, you should use things like physical activity, your favorite television show, or spending time with loved ones to replace your tendency to drink.

Asking your doctor for advice is also a great way to get help if you think that your drinking is getting out of control. Your physician can refer you to counselors and therapists that can help you control your drinking before it becomes a serious problem that can ruin relationships with family and friends and eventually destroy your life. It may be a good idea for you to visit an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or two in your area, so that you can talk about your feelings in an environment where you won’t be judged. You will be pleasantly surprised by the insight you will find by listening to others who may have been in your shoes at one point. You will also be able to make an honest observation about whether or not you need to get more help.

No matter which methods you choose to get your drinking under control, it is important to be honest with yourself about how serious your problem is and to ask friends and loved ones for support while you’re making sure that alcohol does not take over your life.

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August 22, 2007

Alcohol Problems

The overuse or abuse of alcohol (alcoholism) or other drugs is called substance abuse. It is common and costly. It can cause or worsen many medical problems and destroy families and lives.

Alcohol abuse causes over 100,000 deaths in the United States and Canada each year. It is the drug most commonly abused by children ages 12 to 17. Alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers. People who drink alcohol are more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior, have poor grades or job performance, use tobacco products, and experiment with illegal drugs. Alcohol and drug use may be an unconscious attempt at self-treatment for another problem, such as depression.

You have an alcohol problem if your use of alcohol interferes with your health or daily living. You develop alcoholism if you physically or emotionally depend on alcohol to get you through your day.

Long-term heavy drinking damages the liver, nervous system, heart, and brain Click here to see an illustration.. It also causes high blood pressure, stomach problems, medicine interactions, sexual problems, osteoporosis, and cancer. Alcohol abuse can also lead to violence, accidents, social isolation, jail or prison time, and difficulties at work and home.

Symptoms of an alcohol problem include personality changes, blackouts, drinking more and more for the same "high," and denial of the problem. A person with an alcohol problem may gulp or sneak drinks, drink alone or early in the morning, and suffer from the shakes. He or she may also have family, school, or work problems or get in trouble with the law because of drinking.

The use of alcohol with medicines or illegal drugs may increase the effects of each.

Alcohol abuse patterns vary. Some people get drunk every day; others drink large amounts of alcohol at specific times, such as on the weekend. It is common for someone with an alcohol or drug problem to call in sick for work on Monday or Friday. He or she may complain of having a virus or the flu. Others may be sober for long periods and then go on a drinking binge that lasts for weeks or months.

Someone with alcohol dependence may suffer serious withdrawal symptoms, such as trembling, delusions, hallucinations, and sweating, if he or she stops drinking suddenly ("cold turkey"). Once alcohol dependence develops, it becomes very difficult to stop drinking without outside help. Medical detoxification may be needed.

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August 20, 2007

Is Alcohol a Problem for You?

Experts define "one drink" in this way:

  • One 12-oz can of beer or bottle of wine cooler
  • One 5-oz glass of wine, or
  • One jigger (shot) of hard liquor (1.5 oz)

Each of these drinks has about the same amount of pure alcohol in it.

Is alcohol a problem for me?

You have a "drinking problem" when drinking causes problems in your life or health. Drinking alcohol affects your judgment, energy level, work performance and health. Even small amounts of alcohol may be a problem if you:

  • Have any short- or long-term health problems
  • Are taking medicines (even over-the-counter or herbal medicines)
  • Have people in your family who have a problem with alcohol
  • Have had problems in your life or health because of alcohol
  • Feel down or depressed

What is a sensible drinking limit?

If you don’t have any of the problems listed above, it’s probably safe for you to drink a limited amount of alcohol without affecting your health. A sensible drinking limit for people who don’t have a problem with alcohol is:

  • For men, no more than two drinks per day
  • For women, no more than one drink per day
  • For people over 65 years old, no more than one drink per day

If you have any problems with alcohol, ask your doctor how much alcohol is safe for you.

Is alcohol causing a problem in my life?

  • Have your family or friends ever complained about your drinking?
  • Have you been late to or absent from work because of hangovers?
  • Have you ever driven after drinking?
  • Have you had trouble with the law after drinking?
  • Have you gotten into a fight after drinking?
  • Do you drink even when you don’t feel well?
  • Has your doctor told you that you have health problems related to drinking?
  • Have you ever tried to quit drinking?
  • Have you ever had a blackout while drinking?
  • Do you sometimes have a drink in the morning to stop your hands from trembling or to ease a hangover?
  • Do you end up drinking more than you meant to drink?
  • Have you stopped doing things you used to do because you would rather drink?
  • Do you drink more than you used to drink?

If you said yes to any of these questions, drinking may be a problem for you.

What should I do?

Some people may be able to handle a problem with alcohol by drinking less. However, you’ll probably have to quit drinking completely if it’s causing problems with your health or life. If you try to quit drinking but are having trouble, help is available. Your doctor can help you choose a program that’s right for you.

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When To Call A Professional

Get help if you or someone you love has an alcohol-related problem. Alcoholism is an illness that can be treated.

If you have an alcohol dependency problem and have decided to stop drinking, call your doctor for help. Your doctor can advise you and can prescribe medicines to make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable if they occur. Your doctor can also put you in touch with local resources that will help you to stay alcohol free.

Alcohol withdrawal is common, but delirium tremens only occurs in 5% of people who have alcohol withdrawal. Delirium tremens is dangerous, killing as many as 1 out of every 20 people who develop its symptoms.

After withdrawal is complete, it is essential that you not begin drinking again. Alcohol treatment programs are important because they improve your chances of successfully staying off of alcohol. Only about 20% of alcoholics are able to abstain from alcohol permanently without the help of formal treatment or self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Of people who attend AA, 44% of those who remain free of alcohol for one year probably will remain abstinent for another year. This figure increases to 91% for those who have remained abstinent and have attended AA for 5 years or more.

On average, an alcoholic who doesn’t stop drinking can expect to decrease his or her life expectancy by at least 15 years.

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August 17, 2007

Effects Of Smoking And Alcohol On Your Skin

Although smoking is best known for causing lung cancer, this habit is also among the biggest threats to your skin. Next to sun and chemicals, tobacco is one of the major accelerators of your skin natural aging process, and it is thought to be one of the fastest acting threats. Young people start showing signs of early skin aging after as little as 10 years of smoking. If you think this is a long period of time, you should keep in mind that many young people start smoking in their teen years (16-19 year olds) and are still below 30 when the first signs appear.

Smoking causes the narrowing of blood vessels throughout your body, including those that supply the outermost layers of the skin with oxygen and nutrients. Thus, your skin is slowly starved of vital oxygen and other substances, such as immunity-boosting Vitamin A. Alcohol has a similar effect by destroying the body supply of Vitamin A. This will lower the role of skin as the first line of defense against bacteria and infections.

The same Vitamin A is used in the skin turnover process to help generate the new cells that replace the dead ones. The vitamin provides a temporary boost in the production of collagen and can lend the skin a more youthful appearance for a while.

Over time, the lack of oxygen and nutrients would allow the formation of harmful free radicals that slowly damage the elastic fibers and collagen, which keep the skin strong and flexible. The result is usually the appearance of premature wrinkles. It is also thought likely that the repeated pursing of lips when inhaling smoke helps build wrinkles around the mouth, while the heat of the burning cigarette tip is also damaging the skin.

Seven Tips For Healthy Skin

Healthy skin is a sign of good health. The skin is the largest vital organ in our body, which is comprised of about two billion cells and has a surface area of around two square meters. Although only very few people can actually have the perfect skin and complexion, we can do something to bring out the best in our skin.

Here are quick and simple ways that we can care for our skin.

  1. Nourish your skin by eating the proper foods. This means a healthy and balanced diet. A healthy and balanced diet promotes general well-being and optimizes the body to function at its best. To have healthy skin, eat plenty of seed food, i.e. fruits that contain seeds, and vegetables – organic is better as it contains additional nutrients.
  2. Drink plenty of water. The recommended eight glasses of water a day is essential in maintaining the elasticity and suppleness of skin. Water also clears your skin and aids in the proper elimination of waste. Remember, less waste products in your body, more beautiful skin you would have.
  3. Exercise regularly. Exercise is good for our hearts and bodies. Even our skin benefits from exercise since blood circulation is increased, thus bringing enough oxygen and nutrients to the rest of our bodies. Exercise also triggers the body to produce more sebum which is natural moisturizer for body.
  4. Be smoke- and alcohol-free. Smoking tends to destroy the Vitamin C in your body and damage the elastic tissues that keep the skin tight. Drinking liquor on the other hand tends to expand your blood vessels causing red spots and itchiness on your skin.
  5. Cleanse it. Cleaning plays an important part in the overall wellness of your skin. Experts agree that we should gently clean our skin, tone it, moisturize it, and exfoliate it.
  6. Protect your skin. Harsh elements can severely damage your skin and can lead to irritation and infection. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15 every time you go out in the sun. For higher levels of activities, use SPF 45 because you will be perspiring, which dilutes the sunscreen. For those who are very fair, have red hair, blue eyes and freckles, add a total block that contains titanium or zinc.
  7. Rest. Get plenty of rest. You are giving your skin a time to rejuvenate and heal while you rest. Stress is extremely bad for your skin and body. It indirectly creates instability in your hormonal system, which in turn leads to more skin problems like breakouts and acne.

The bottom line is that every person who wants to enjoy healthy skin for as long as possible should refrain from alcohol and tobacco consumption and should also take the basic steps in skin protection. There is no reason to harm yourself with unhealthy smoking and drinking and to damage your face with premature wrinkles. It is so simple to stay healthy.

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August 15, 2007

Is Alcohol Considered A Drug?

Alcohol is often mentioned in one breath with drugs, especially when the subject is abuse or addiction. More often, alcohol is referred to as a separate substance and in fact, its abuse is often discussed separately from that of drugs. But can alcohol be considered a drug?

Drug defined

If a textbook definition is used, a drug may be defined as a substance that has an effect on living cells and their function and is also used for medical purposes for the diagnosis, prevention and cure of disorders and diseases. As such, alcohol may not be considered as a drug since it is not used directly to effect a cure. However, it is also a substance that can have similar effects to drugs to disinfect, act as an analgesic, a tranquilizer or rarely, a stimulant.

The link between alcohol and drugs

Alcohol is said to possibly be a contributor to health as some are some drugs, but alcohol, like some drugs can be addictive. When used in moderate amounts, alcohol has been said to improve cardiovascular health. However, health experts discourage non-drinkers to start drinking alcohol for the sole reason of benefiting the heart. They recommend that other methods such as exercising and eating a good diet, should be considered as the first line of defense.

As an addictive substance, alcohol can be as bad as drugs. Alcohol abuse and addiction, often referred in general terms as alcoholism, is a common problem in many communities, able to cut across economic and social barriers. It also produces a physical dependence and when it does, it becomes a chronic disease. The use of too much alcohol, like drugs, can also increase tolerance and produce withdrawal symptoms.

Like drugs, alcoholism can lead to family, health and social problems. It’s not uncommon for alcoholics to destroy family and social relationships, lose their jobs or turn to illegal activities in order to support their habit. It also causes health problems that are potentially life threatening, such as liver cirrhosis and cancer.

The danger of alcohol

Alcohol affects different people in different ways, and for some that may be trouble. Some individuals, for example, are more prone to suffer from the effects of alcohol compared to others who drink the same amount. However, the danger of using alcohol cannot be emphasized enough. The devastating effect of alcoholism on families and society is well documented and recognized.

Alcohol use is also often discouraged in pregnant women, older people, individuals who have heart diseases and hypertension and those who are taking certain medications. Alcohol, like drugs, not only produces physical dependence, it also promotes neurochemical conditioning, where an individual develops a tolerance to the substance, encouraging him to use alcohol in increasing amounts. Alcohol can also change an individual’s perception in its true benefits, allowing a person to think that alcohol is needed in order for them to function socially and emotionally.

Getting help for alcohol addiction or abuse

Once the problem with alcohol addiction or abuse is acknowledged and accepted, the road to recovery may begin. There are plenty of local and national treatment centers and resources that may be tapped for help, either as a source of information or as a means for rehabilitation.

There are several approaches to the treatment of alcoholism, depending on how it is viewed. However, most treatments tend to focus on encouraging people to stop alcohol intake. It is often supplemented by social networking and group supports, along with life training, to effectively help alcoholics from using alcohol again.

Since alcohol, like drugs, often involves a combination of factors that lead to misuse and addiction, these factors are often considered first before a course of treatment is prescribed. It is often more effective in helping in alcohol treatment and in preventing future relapses.

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August 13, 2007

Stress and Alcohol

Stress can be seen from two perspectives. There is the subjective feeling of the individual that is experiencing the stress and the underlying physiological and psychological changes that are going on inside that persons body. From a subjective perspective consuming alcohol is often seen as a way to reduce stress but some studies have shown that the stress responses in the body are in fact increased when alcohol is taken. This article will discuss stress and the affect that alcohol has on the body.

Most people have ‘let off a bit of steam’ on Friday night at the end of a long working week. Quite often this involves drinking alcohol. Alcohol is thought to reduce inhibitions and generally allow the person to be themselves. This is seen as a good way to relieve stress and take the persons mind off troubles at work or problems with relationships. But drinking too much alcohol or doing it too frequently is believed to actually increase the bodies responses to stress.

The body responds to a perceived stressor by releasing hormones into the body. These hormones are adrenaline and cortisol. They give the body a boost of energy and mobilize the body’s immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems for increased activity. The aim is to get the body to adapt to a situation, that could be physical, like an illness or wound, or could be mental like a bout of depression or anxiety.

After the body perceives that the stressor has been dealt with, the hormones are reduced and the body goes back to it’s normal state. This is known as homeostasis. This is the goal of the multitude of systems, specifically the nervous system, that are responsible for running the the body.

When there is confusion in the body as to when to return to homeostasis, the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol continue. If this continues for any length of time, the metabolism of the body can change, the cardiovascular system can be overworked and prone to illness and the immune system can become confused and start acting abnormally or sluggishly. All this is bad news for the individual involved and can lead to health problems.

Tests on animals and humans have shown that small doses of alcohol can reduce the stress response. This may fit in with the idea of a glass of red wine with a meal being good for you. Tests on humans have shown that a small dose will improve the ability to solve a complex problem.

However too much alcohol is shown to increase the stress response. This is especially the case with the hormone adrenaline. Too much alcohol will increase the amount of adrenaline secreted into the body. Over time this will be bad for the body and too much alcohol may diminish a persons ability to function normally and in control.

It seems that, like most things, alcohol is fine in moderation but can be a source of more stress if too much is consumed than a way to reduce stress.

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August 10, 2007

You Dont Have To Be Afraid To Stop Drinking

There are so many people out in the world who are addicted to alcohol, and don’t know that there is a way of stopping, and that it will surely be in your best interest to do so. How many people drink after work, until they go to bed, wake up with hangovers, go to work, and do the same thing all over again? Or, we have the weekend drinkers who refrain during the week, and get smashed on the weekends. Usually these weekenders proceed to make fools of themselves in front of family, friends, and neighbors. They think they’re the life of the party, but it’s more like the clown of the party.

How many purses have been lost or stolen when one doesn’t remember what they did with it? How many cars have been lost in parking lots? How many drunk driving accidents have killed, hurt, and maimed? How many people lose their family because of alcohol? They get a drunk driving ticket, lose their job, lose their house, and their family moves on without them?

It happens every day to a lot of people. Well, then, why can’t people stop drinking? The first reason is fear. They are afraid of what they are going to do without alcohol in their lives. Much like a smoker quitting cigarettes doesn’t know what they’re going to do without a cigarette in their hand. But, although a smoker is endangering their lives, a drinker alters the way their brain thinks, and does things, and acts in ways that are inappropriate and unacceptable. A cigarette doesn’t do that to you. You don’t leave your purse in a bar because you had a cigarette. Or a pack of cigarettes.

A drinker can easily drive home on the wrong side of the road, sideswipe the garage door, and yell and scream for scrambled eggs and cheese! And then have to get up and go to work in the morning. So why not stop? Number one, it’s usually an addiction, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. Number two, without the proper guidance, it’s very hard to do alone. Number three, who wants to not only have to quit doing something they love to do, but do it in front of strangers, as in a twelve step program?

The people who want to stop behaviors and actions that occur when they are drunk, that don’t occur when they’re not! Many get nasty when they drink. If they’re drinking after work with their fellow employees, things can get pretty inappropriate. If someone happens to let them in on their little secret habits while drunk, it can get very embarrassing, leading to even lower self esteem and self confidence. As a matter of fact, there comes a lot of guilt and shame with being a drunk, and worse, to be a blackout drunk. Then you remember nothing, and the town remembers everything! Not to mention the damage it’s doing to your liver.

The addiction is always stronger than the desire to quit. But, it can be done. I did it. I have been sober for thirteen years. I got tired of blackouts and hangovers and acting like someone I’m not when I’m without alcohol. I knew I wanted to stop, but I had no clue how. I went to a twelve step meeting in my church, and kept going everynight to different meetings, for four and a half years. If you let the seriously sober men and women help you, you can beat this addiction. You don’t have to be afraid to go to meetings, some of the nicest people I have ever met came from inside those rooms. There is a silent camaraderie among fellow drunks, and we are more alike than different. There is a humbleness and an honesty that goes with trying to quit an addiction, and we all shared it. It’s the only place you can get your own sponsor who will work the steps with you, and share their experiences, hopes and dreams. They are usually men and women who have been in the program for a while, and can help you with the skills they learned, and turn around and teach you.

If your drinking is out of control, and you want to stop, in my case, the meetings were the way to go. I had support, and knowledge coming in so that I could learn to change my behavior, my way of thinking, and my attitude to a more calmer, peaceful way of life. This also affected my partner and my kids. I was more easy going, and of course, I didn’t drink.

I remembered everything about the night before. I always knew where my purse was, and my car! I didn’t have to worry about getting pulled over for drunk driving. I didn’t have to be embarrassed and ashamed after a party or a family function. I was getting my house in order. I was putting one foot in front of the other, and moving in a straight line. I was more focused, I didn’t put things off anymore, I did them and got them out of the way. I kept my word. I didn’t lie. I liked myself, and that allowed others to like me, too.

There’s nothing pretty about a fall down drunk. There’s nothing nice about a belligerent drunk. There’s nothing endearing about a blackout drunk. There’s just nothing good about drinking if you are an alcoholic, and if you are one, you probably know it, or are questioning it. There are meetings at almost every church. You can call a twelve step hotline. You can stop the nightmare, if you set your mind to it, and follow the steps, and put them into practice in your life.

You’ll be happier because everything will be going better for you. Your bills will be paid because you won’t let them go until you’re straight one night when you’ve run out of booze and the liquor stores are closed. There will be no heavy weight on your shoulders. You can hold your head up high. The help is there, you just have to want it.

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