Home Base

Screw You, Stigma

Life Lessons From The Pool

This picture is supposed to be funny, but it really is addict shaming. Contributing to the stigma of “what a person with SUD looks like”. And guess what? I did it myself yesterday. After all my preaching and teaching of why can’t people just have compassion- bla bla……

Yup, guilty as charged.

I was at my complex’s pool again. Enjoying my pool float with my blue water weights in typical old lady fashion. The only other people there were the usual, non-English speaking elderly man, who always gets in the pool with his grandson- I’m assuming; and a lady-assuming the grandma.

Soon, through the crinky electronic gate, comes a dad with his boy. They jump in the pool and I immediately had thoughts of packing up. Then I hear the beat. The low base rumble of a car usually with it’s windows open, but even when they’re closed, you can hear the beat. The beat. It brings to mind a person who’s trouble. Not troubled, even though they probably are, but someone to stay clear of, nevertheless. The low riders. Car and pants.

Sure enough, it pulls up next to my unlocked car- because I hate to lug all my keys into the pool area. I panic, thinking of my wallet under the seat. I decide just to stay a few more minutes to take advantage of the cool water in the 98-degree heat. Then I’ll go rescue my car from Mr hard-of-hearing’s view.

Then he comes in. In all his glory of brazen colorful tattoos on his chest and arms & long khaki shorts with a hole in the knee to show another tattoo popping through.

His ‘tw******* girlfriend soon followed with some contorted mouth movements. Yup, I made a quick and thorough judgment of her too.

Then, he brings in a case of water and starts walking around passing them out. He goes around to everyone. The old guy and his wife were shocked. They tried to ask him how much? The kid said, “free”.

Then he proceeded to play with the kids and offer to cannonball into the pool. He said he hasn’t done it in years, so he kept counting to 3 & chickening out. He then said,

“If I get hurt, will you help me?”

One of the kids said,

” No”

To which he responded,

“I can respect that.”

I thought about that and how he didn’t expect anything from anyone. He spread kindness when it wasn’t expected. He didn’t care what people thought or that they weren’t willing to help him.

I couldn’t believe that with the journey I have been on with my son, that I couldn’t stop myself from passing judgment at first. I’m usually hyper-vigilant about “correcting” others.

Yesterday on a non-drug-related site, someone posted a picture of a syringe they found, with the word “irresponsible junkies” in the post. The comments that followed were, of course, triggering to me. The one that hit me was, “I’m so sick of these kinds of people”.

Of course, I made a snarky comment of,

“I’m soo glad none of US would EVER know or LOVE these kind of people.”

Who are these kinds of people? We moms know…they’re our kids. Our brothers, sisters, spouses. How do we offer a morsel of compassion when these hijacked brains are leaving needles around? For me, it just proves how this is only going to be solved with all hands on deck. Not with an “I’m sick of these people, but let me go on with my perfect little life while someone else fixes the problem”.

Shatterproof writes this about stigma:

"There is enough negativity in our world today—further judgment and blame towards those actively using drugs or in recovery needs to go.
Let’s create connection in an unprecedented time of isolation, and give those who are all too used to social isolation and shame the love and support they have always deserved."


Sharing the following story as a way to emphasize the truth in addiction and hopefully help everyone understand. I did not write it but it is how I believe. To win this battle best we can we need to be educated on it.

We were uneducated when our son told us he had a drug problem. We hadn’t given much thought about whether addiction was a choice or a disease. We had so much to learn. My husband and I started seeing a counselor who specialized in addiction. We had to educate ourselves. We read and read, and read some more. Our views quickly changed and we began to understand why our son couldn’t just see the damage and stop, why family wasn’t enough. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to stop, it wasn’t that he couldn’t see what the drugs were doing to his life or that he didn’t love his family or that we weren’t enough. We learned how opiates change dopamine levels in your brain, the chemical that regulates pleasure. We learned it takes a minimum of a year for those levels to even begin to return to normal. We learned things which would normally bring pleasure no longer do because of the change in dopamine levels. We learned that the brain’s response to opiates overrides everything else. We learned it is not a choice. We learned recovery was a long process and that relapse is part of it. We learned that people struggling with addiction need to know they matter and that someone cares. We learned once the addict was clean that the battle wasn’t over, that it would remain a lifelong fight. We learned there are not enough quality treatment centers. We learned most treatment centers are not affordable to most of those in need. We learned that many treatment centers have waiting lists and that many people die waiting to get in. We learned that many things need to change in order to stop this epidemic. We learned volumes.

Our son was a good kid from a good family. He was loved very much. He had a big heart and was always helping others. I know without a doubt he never thought he would be that person. I know he hated he ever crossed that line. I know he hated himself when he was actively using. I know he hated seeing the pain he put us through. I know he wanted more than anything to be clean. I know he fought with everything he had. I know he was winning the battle. I know he loved his family. I know his daughter was his pride and joy. I know he was proud of himself for being clean. I know he was looking forward to his future. I know he deserved more. I know he didn’t want to throw his life away or to die. I know without a doubt that no one would chose to be an addict.

Our son was and will always be our hero.

“Everybody has their own opinions on drug and alcohol addiction, but until you’ve been there, your opinion remains insignificant. Yes, they chose to use a drug or alcohol thinking they would be one that would be able control it. You don’t control a drug or alcohol, it controls you. There are some lucky ones who have beat it, but don’t think because they’re still alive that life is gravy. They fight everyday all day to stay clean or sober. It’s a constant battle from the time they open their eyes until they close them and it never goes away. Most are good people who made a bad choice.

Battling a drug or alcohol addiction is a beast for the person addicted and the ones who love them. So, in loving memory of every family member and friend who has lost their battle with drugs and alcohol and to those who continue to conquer it, put this on your page if you know someone who has or had (no such thing as had) an addiction.
They need every single ounce of encouragement.”

Shame and stigma help no one.

Written by a mom whose son lost his battle

Home Base

Experimentation with Drugs in Youth Linked to Addiction in Adulthood

By Ren in drug prevention at Narconon Arrowhead

June 6, 2021

Most parents want to do everything they can to ensure their children grow up to lead healthy, productive, successful lives. That goal acts as a driving force behind how parents raise their children and the day-to-day actions that parents take in doing so.

Parents may be interested to know, a new study showed that when young people (in their teen years and early 20s) experiment with drugs, they are more likely to become addicted to drugs in adulthood.

The Findings

Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, worked with Dr. Beth Han and Dr. Emily B. Einstein to determine some of the long-term effects of drug use when a person begins using drugs during their adolescence. One of the most critical findings of the study was that the younger a person was when they first began experimenting with substances, the more likely they were to transition to regular substance abuse and then addiction.


According to the researchers, young people are most likely to experiment with alcohol, cannabis, and tobacco. The younger those surveyed in the study group were when they used these substances, the more likely they were to become dependent on those substances later on in life. Furthermore, the researchers found that people who experimented with one substance in their youth were more likely to experiment with other substances later in life.

For example, someone who used cannabis when they were a teenager was also more likely to use cannabis or hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, or prescription opioids later in life as opposed to someone who did not use cannabis at all in their youth.

However, the study did not go so far as to make the claim that people who do not use drugs in their adolescence are more likely to live sober, healthy lives.

Dr. Volkow, who led the study, commented on the findings. “We know that young people are more vulnerable to developing substance use disorders, but knowledge is limited on how the prevalence of specific substance use disorders varies by time since first substance use or misuse among adolescents and young adults in the United States. Though not everyone who uses a drug will develop addiction, adolescents may develop addiction to substances faster than young adults. This study provides further evidence that delaying substance exposure until the brain is more fully developed may lower risk for developing a substance use disorder.”

“Research has shown that brain development continues into a person’s 20s, and that age of drug initiation is a very important risk factor for developing addiction.”


Emily B. Einstein, Ph.D., chief of NIDA’s Science Policy Branch and a co-author of the study, also commented: “Research has shown that brain development continues into a person’s 20s, and that age of drug initiation is a very important risk factor for developing addiction. This underscores the importance of drug use prevention and screening for substance use or misuse among adolescents and young adults. Offering timely treatment and support to young people who need it must be a public health priority.”

Five Tips for Preventing Young People from Ever Experimenting with Drugs and Alcohol

Some would say that prevention is the best tool for tackling addiction, as most agree it is easier to prevent someone from ever becoming addicted to drugs than it is to help them get off drugs once they are hooked. Following are five tips on how parents can help ensure that their children never experiment with drugs, not even once:



1. Communicate, communicate, communicate.It’s important to talk to kids about drugs, to have this conversation as early in their life as you are comfortable. Then, continue to have the conversation, and continue to engage your children in that conversation as they grow up.

2. Play an active role in your child’s social life. Rather than letting your children spend time with anyone and everyone, play a proactive, engaged role in their social life. Get them involved in positive and healthy groups, such as sports teams, art programs, youth groups, etc.

3. Make sure the family engages in activities together. When young people feel as though they are involved in the family unit, they are less likely to venture off and seek camaraderie and a social network elsewhere. Simply making sure that the family gets together and does fun activities together can play a significant role in ensuring sons and daughters do not experiment with substances. One study even indicated that teens who eat dinner with their families were less likely to use drugs or become delinquent.

4. Set a good example. Being a role model for your children is important. Whether they show it outwardly or not, your children look up to you, and they look to you for information on how they should act. That’s why parents must not experiment with substances.

5. Teach your kids how to say no. In most circumstances, young people use drugs for the first time because they are peer pressured. If your children know how to say no to drugs, they are much less likely to be peer pressured.

Addiction Treatment – What to Do When a Young Person Becomes Addicted to Drugs



There are many reasons why parents would not want their teen or young adult children to use drugs. The risk for addiction is one of the most obvious concerns, but other health problems can befall young people when they use drugs.

For example, something as widely accepted as marijuana use harms young people. Several studies have found that cannabis use in one’s youth can cause brain damage, harming critical areas of the brain that monitor cognitive function. Other studies suggest a link between marijuana use in one’s adolescence and stroke later on in life.

Another article, this one published by Harvard Health, discussed how cannabis use can even cause memory loss. Quoting those findings, “There’s no question that marijuana (the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant) can produce short-term problems with thinking, working memory, executive function, and psychomotor function (physical actions that require conscious thought, such as driving a car or playing a musical instrument).”

If a young person begins using drugs or alcohol and cannot stop using, they must get help. This is true even if they are using prescription medication in a way not intended by their doctor, as pharmaceutical drugs can also harm young people. When a young person begins experimenting or self-medicating, they put themselves at serious risk for injury, accidents, even death. If you have a son or daughter who is using substances and who cannot stop using them, make sure they get help at a drug and alcohol rehab center as soon as possible.

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/article-abstract/2777817

https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/american-medical-association/prevalence-of-substance-use-disorders-by-time-since-first-substance-y0eTzsdTKX?key=JAMA

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/younger-age-first-cannabis-use-or-prescription-drug-misuse-associated-faster-development-substance-use-disorders

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/what-are-marijuanas-long-term-effects-brain

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/STROKEAHA.119.027828

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/the-effects-of-marijuana-on-your-memory


Reviewed by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, RAS, MCAP, LCDC-I

Home Base

Discovery

A few months ago, I wrote a story about a place in Texas that I visited called Natural Bridge Caverns. 61 years ago, Clara Wuest from New Braunfels, Texas stood on a spot on her farm and asked God to help her raise her 2 little boys alone after her husband died trying to milk a cactus, sort of. Little did she know what was underneath.

This story was similar to this newer cave that was discovered, recently in another country:

https://fb.watch/6UoAZvH75E/

The reason these hidden treasures appeal to me- other than normal treasure hunting curiosity- is because one day we are just walking around with certain elephants on our shoulders, or the opposite: not a care in the world; & the next minute our world drops out, literally, from us.

“They” say – whoever “they” are- that we are all one paycheck away from homelessness or one argument away from divorce. I could apply this to substance use and say “one h..¥¥ or one bottle away from losing everything & ruining family cohesiveness and family functions, but my sarcasm isn’t even funny today. So ignore that comment.

Yesterday was my son’s 35th birthday. For one year, I have prayed he would make it to 35. I even made all my passwords reflect that hope. So imagine that I woke up to his continued “missing in action” in Las Vegas of all places, and had the feeling to call the Clark county morg.

Yup, that’s where we are. I’ve called Emergency Rooms once before, and the booking report is on my home screen, but never this. As the answering service paged the mortician on call, I find myself wondering like Brandon Novak states repeatedly:

“How did we get here?

Luckily the very nice mortician, who must receive worried mom calls alot; informed me there was no John Doe’s in the last 24 hrs.

This debilitating fear.

Addiction loves to shroud us in it’s victimhood and make us go dark with brooding thoughts of death and destruction. I mean, we really don’t even need the thoughts- we can SEE the devastation. But we don’t have to stay there.

So how do we turn this fear into hope or at least some sense of inner peace?

A recovered addict had this to say about us Moms:

Shared with permission

Disclaimer: I do not agree with the word enabling as it has negative, guilt-inducing connotations AND it means different things in different situations, so I cut out the middle part….

“I see so many mothers in this group with broken hearts and it honestly kills me. I was in active addiction for 15+ years and have been in recovery for 8+ years. One of my biggest regrets, through it all, was the heartache I caused my parents and my daughter. My brother still struggles with addiction today and I wish I could help him! I wish I could bottle up how good it feels to be in recovery and pass it on to every struggling addict. Recovery can only be received by a person that is ready. No amount of begging, screaming, talking, crying will ever work unless they are doing it for themselves. We can place our loved ones into treatment by court order or they can be placed there as part of their sentencing, but until they want it to stick, it will not………….. Love yourself as much as possible. Live and enjoy the life that you have left. You are killing yourselves for ones who will not save themselves. Let your children know you love them and when they are ready for treatment, you will be there. This is a battle only an addict can win. You can be a part of their addiction or their recovery, but not both. Also, We DO recover!! It takes some longer than others.

My prayers are with you all and if I could be of any assistance, please let me know”.❤️- Tamika Watts


I want to highlight the take care of yourself part. Hold onto hope and live in your peace despite the chaos around you. Just like the caves in my story, you never know when that moment will come that your life will be changed. You could be standing over a GOLD MINE while worrying about how the ground looks or looking at all the weeds. They say complaining brings about more of what we don’t want and gratitude brings about more of what we do want. The challenge is trying to find that gratitude in the middle of dire circumstances.

Where is my hidden cave of gems? Is it gratitude waiting in the darkness for me to discover it? Am I losing diamonds because I see too many stones? Am I unable to see the blessings of strength & perseverance because the prize isn’t in front of me, all shiny and being worshipped?

I’m in darkness regarding my son’s illness.

I don’t know the outcome, yet as of right now – there’s hope because I haven’t been told otherwise. If I can get out of my head & not jump to catastrophe thinking, I might have some moments of peace for my gratitude to expand.

It is in gratitude that we find true happiness. 
Home Base

Emotional Harm Reduction

This is a blog from Corey Ranger at Community at Practice hub.

Enduring Prolonged Grief

Author: Corey Ranger

How do you safeguard your heart and mind from the devastation of the fentanyl poisoning crisis? In the wake of countless preventable deaths, how do you stay afloat? What is emotional harm reduction, and how do I use it to survive in this sector? I was asked to cover this topic for The Drug Hub, and the irony is that I myself, am not doing particularly well as of late. Shortly after taking on the assignment, we here in Victoria lost a pillar of the harm reduction community – someone who was so loved and cared for that I could feel the collective grief surge as the news hit social media. Another face in my mental slideshow, another beautiful human with hopes and dreams, killed by toxic drug policy. At times, I am numb to the losses. It’s almost as if someone has taken a lighter to my nerve endings, and I feel sad about being unable to feel sad.

As a nurse working in harm reduction amidst the backdrop of an increasingly volatile drug supply, I am no stranger to grief and loss. In the last year however, I have witnessed more trauma and despair than in all of my previous years of work combined. The global pandemic created a perfect storm for drug toxicity deaths, and I’ve grown fearful of answering my phone in case there is more bad news waiting for me on the other end. 

The pain is worse for me when I see how impacted my coworkers, friends, and community members are by the War on Drugs. They are collateral damage in this war; field medics trying to stopgap death while being under-resourced and unsupported. I want to take their pain away. Of course, I can’t do that, and truthfully none of us can. So the question then becomes, how do we mitigate the harms of this endless grief? 

Enter emotional harm reduction.

I first heard this term about a year ago. I was speaking with a trauma counsellor who suggested my coping strategies were wrongfully geared towards avoiding grief and anxiety entirely. It was explained to me that, as long as I worked in this sector, there would be painful losses. To avoid this pain, would be to become despondent and ultimately ineffective in my role. No, we need to grieve, even when it hurts so much. So then, is emotional harm reduction just a fancy new wording for short-sighted self-care and resiliency tropes? If so, it sounds like emotional harm reduction is just more bullshit aimed at forcing humans to normalize what should never be normalized.

Self care and resiliency language have become tools of oppression in the field of harm reduction. Every day, communities of compassionate people are trying to keep each other alive and safe despite unwinnable odds.

When individuals falter, because they can no longer withstand daily trauma, they are met with suggestions like ‘take a bubble bath’ or ‘practice mindfulness’. Make no mistake, this is how we victim-blame and gaslight people who are understandably damaged from the work.

This is how organizations and managers avoid being accountable to their staff, while simultaneously demanding them to continue showing up for work. Thankfully, that is not what emotional harm reduction is.

As an individual, I practice emotional harm reduction by surrounding myself with other caring people. I know that isolation is where my slideshow plays on repeat. Rather than avoiding the pain, I have a support network that understands it. I reciprocate whenever I have the capacity to do so, and we often cycle between supporting one another. We make space for each other to not be ok, and remind one another that it is in fact, ok to not be ok. There is nothing normal about the overdose crisis, and we should never waste our energy trying to normalize it.

As a manager, I practice emotional harm reduction by understanding the untenable work conditions my team finds themselves in every single day. Why suggest someone practice self care by ‘going for a massage’ when they have no health benefits to cover a massage and they themselves live in poverty? No, instead, consider pushing back against your own shitty institutional policies. Offer paid days off when a member of your team is not doing well. Be prepared to step in and cover their shift, even if that means you need to be the support worker that day. Pick up the slack and don’t make someone feel bad if they aren’t able to keep up the pace.

Finally, remember that at the core of harm reduction is a social justice movement aimed at redistributing power and resources to those who are made vulnerable by oppressive forces. That includes your staff.

People with lived/living experience have been at the forefront of innovation during this prolonged public health emergency. They have assumed the most risk, and have lost more than most of us could even begin to comprehend. If you are reading this and thinking ‘easy for you to say, we can’t just start giving people paid time off to grieve’ ask yourself why not? Emotional harm reduction, just like the broader harm reduction movement, is about challenging power structures and fighting for equity. If we are going to stay afloat, we must do it together. 

Corey Ranger:

Home Base

Harm Reduction Conversations to Have With a Loved One with SUD

Harm Reduction: What is it?

The best comparison I heard recently to harm reduction, is the designated driver for alcohol. It’s well accepted & well advertised as a means to save lives, reduce fines and jail time, and still allows people to choose to drink as a stress reliever. Yet when people hear about needle exchange programs for heroin or meth users-or the granddaddy of HR- Injection sites; they lose their minds.

Harm Reduction becomes easier to accept when you have tried everything to get your loved one to stop. You realize that it’s now about keeping the substance user alive and safe until they can stop. Deedee Stout has a great video that explains it.

We become so accustomed to being shocked at our loved ones continued and usually progressive use, that we end up shutting down communication. Some parents even go so far as to say: “Call me when your clean”. What if someone you care about said to you, ” Call me when you are responsible and doing everything in the manner and time that I think you should”.

Instead, what if we find out what it is that keeps driving substance use? What if we could actually help them work on the original problem, not the symptom of the problem- which, in a lot of cases, substance use is.

This twitter thread has some great responses and ideas on harm reduction approaches, such as motivational interviewing questions.

https://mobile.twitter.com/MyHarmReduction/status/1403775714600554505

One of my biggest day-to-day struggles with my son’s SUD is the reality of his risk of death. Fear drives us to into a place of powerlessness. We then project that fear onto a person with SUD who already has figured out how to numb his emotions and not ‘give a damn’ to those thoughts and feelings in themselves; so to have to somehow “fix” YOURS too – is overwhelming to them. They NEED us to be healthy, even-keeled, and strong. In this article it gives suggestions on how to parent using a harm reduction approach instead of with fear:

http://www.barrylessin.com/blog/no-need-panic-parenting-harm-reduction-approach

These are quotes from a past Harm Reduction event in NoBox Philippines last August, 2015 with Dr Andrew Tartarsky, who wrote ‘The Book’ on it: Harm Reduction Psychotherapy: A New Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Problems.

from www.andrewtatarsky.com
from www.andrewtatarsky.com

On Beginnings

Dr. T: “How can I be of help to you? “
Client: “Nobody ever asked me that question before, they just started telling me what I needed to do.”

On You:

“You are where you are for very complex and personal reasons, and we need to respect that.”

On Reality:

“Some of you might think a drug-free society is a good thing. Some might disagree. But the question is: is it realistic? What’s realistic? What’s realistic today?”

On Compassion and Acceptance:

“Maybe I don’t want you to be injecting drugs, maybe I don’t want you to be putting your life at risk. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t accept that that’s what you’re doing, with compassion, and then see how I can possibly be helpful to you.”

tumblr_inline_nt7xvyBc7Q1tp5lq4_1280.jpg

On Obvious Things that are Not So Obvious:

“What do you love about the drug? How do you benefit from the use? If we can’t talk about the positive benefits of drug use, how can we talk about alternative ways to get those benefits?”

On Assumptions:

“If people are using drugs in a way that is not problematic, they’re not likely to come to us for help, and it’s likely that they don’t need help. We shouldn’t presume that all drug use is problematic.”

On Risk:

“Risk is a part of life. Human relationships are risky. Intimacy is risky. Getting close to somebody is risky. We cannot live a risk-free life. So we identify the risk, learn about it, and learn how we can reduce that risk.”

On Things That Aren’t Making Sense:

“They call addiction a disease, but they treat the person like a bad person. It’s not a true disease model. Like a diabetes doctor kicking his patient out for eating a donut. Do we arrest people who have diabetes when they eat Twinkies?”

On Roads and Journeys:

“There are many roads to addiction, so it should make sense that there are many roads to recovery.”

“How long it takes is how long it takes.”

“We don’t need to know the destination to begin the journey.”

Taking on a Challenge … :

“How can we make treatment more appealing, engaging, and effective for this large group of people? If the treatment isn’t more appealing than the problem, why would somebody go to treatment?”

“They’re looking for help that will feel helpful.”

… And Not Underestimating People:

“Addictive people are not just having fun; they are frequently managing a great amount of distress. […] We learned that if we give them resources that appeals to them, that fits their needs, they will access them. What did that teach us? Drug users care about themselves, they care about their community, and they have the capacity and skills to access care.”

When One Size Fits All No Longer Fits:

“Many treatment programs are manualized, one size fits all, go through the phases. No doubt that some people benefit from that, they want it, they need it. [Harm Reduction] doesn’t have a cookbook. The form, the focus, the structure, the timing of the therapy completely emerges from the collaborative process. It’s much harder, and much more scary. We’re making it up with our clients as we go along. This is part of what makes it so radical, but also much more effective.”

On Whenever You Feel an Urge:

“Unwrap the urge: is there a part of me that lives in the urge? An angry part? Scared part? Sexual part? Playful part? Is there something that the urge wants to say? And if I know what this urge wants, is there an alternative choice that I can make that is actually less harmful and more effective?”

On Being Kind to Yourself (Because Science):

“Studies have shown that when we cultivate self-compassion, kindness towards ourselves, it is associated with reduction in anxiety, depression, and substance use. “

On Ambivalence, and Why It’s a Good Thing:

“If you only invite one part of you in the room, the part that wants to change, and we don’t invite the part that doesn’t want to change, what happens with that part? If we make an agreement only with the part that wants to change, the part that doesn’t want to change takes over as soon as the person leaves the office.”

“If you can split the ambivalence, get rid of the part of you that doesn’t want to use, now you’re off to the races. ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’ Splitting can grease the addictive flight. Helping patients stay ambivalent, sit with both sides, be connected to both parts of themselves, that’s the goal, really. So that when the part of them that wants to use, wants to engage in potentially destructive behavior, they can stay connected to the other part of them that doesn’t want to die, hurt themselves, lose the money, risk the relationship.”

On Small Positive Changes:

“Having to commit to abstinence only is like going from no exercise at all to signing up to running a marathon.”

“Tiny little changes can help people begin to feel more empowered, more in charge, more in control, builds a sense of self-efficacy, a sense of hopefulness — these tiny changes can begin the process that leads to quantum change.

“These small steps build, they build optimism, they build on one another.” 

“Each time someone makes a positive steps, they’re feeling a little better, they’re feeling more hopeful.”

On What — Who — Matters:

“Somebody once pointed out: a dead drug user can’t recover. We can start by keeping people alive and safe: You’re worthy of staying alive. I care about you.”

Recovery Research Institute has more great advice.

https://www.recoveryanswers.org/resource/drug-and-alcohol-harm-reduction/

Harm reduction doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t mean you’re condoning their drug use. It’s not encouraging more usage. Think of when you first found out your child was sexually active. It seemed too soon, you wanted them to wait, you wanted to at least be told before it happened! You might have lectured them or even shamed them, or secretly cried when you were alone. You might have consulted your clergy or your higher power, but soon you came to the realization that you probably didn’t have control over their actions; & the next best thing is to prevent harm. Teaching responsible disease and pregnancy prevention or directing them to someone who could.

The important thing is to keep the communication open so ultimately we keep the connection to our child, even though they may be an “adult”.

Home Base

Perspective Is How Everyone’s Truth Manifests

One of my little jobs I have is calling rest homes & assisted livings across America & surveying them on their experience they had with their loved one.
Since I call the same facilities every month, I get a feeling for which ones are pretty well ran & which ones are going to have a bunch of very angry southern folk yelling at ME for it all!

I know when I call the Bible belt facilities, I will get a lot of “Bless you’s” & “praise the Lord!” which I appreciate!
But it always amazes me how much of a different experience people can have in the SAME place, same time period, SAME food, somewhat same staff.

Yesterday I called my only local building. I had to keep reminding myself this is the SAME building that all these people are taking about!

It just goes to show that Sometimes (keeping in mind there ARE lots of variables in healthcare) it’s our attitude that can make or break our experience of life.

These are the answers I received to the exact same questions:

“I appreciated everything!!! I’ve never seen a group of people who treated their residents like family. Everyone was very professional and willing to help out if you needed them to.

“I’d say it was a great experience and the best place for rehab.

“They treated like you like long lost family, accommodating, communicative. If I had a question they would answer it.

“They never returned my calls.

“Communication is lacking. Management was poor. They made promises and would never follow through with anything.

“They were very attentive to my dad, the nurses were always good to contact me.

“If you can rate it into the negative, do that. It was horrendous.Nothing redeeming about this building. I appreciated NOTHING about this place.

“Very poor, if I could go below one I would. The care was that bad.

“If you guys are serious you should send in someone who has empathy for their patients.Have them go undercover, if anyone is not doing what they should, you should fire them on the spot.

“Therapy was disorganized and too much into themselves.

“The therapy was ok.

“GIve therapy FIVE STARS!

“The food was terrible.

“Food wasn’t properly prepared and no special diets.Lettuce was tired.

“The food was not good at all.

“The quality of the food was a five.

“Their food was edible and a good variety

Everyone’s experience differs according to what they’re dealing with. Fear can takeover how we see things and how we treat people – which then creates a dynamic of how they treat us back. If you’re coming from a place of unhappiness most of your day will look bland and negative (I’m speaking from MY experience). If you see a gray sky you may never notice the bright pink flowers. When your emotional energy is spent on worry and fear for your loved one or for a pressing problem, such as finances, you see everything through that lens, as stated in this lens of trauma.

I spent a lot of time listening to Abraham Hicks over the years. She (orthey’ – since she channels a spirit guide through her) preach on keeping your vibration at stellar heights in order to achieve the results you want. This article describes the cult like following of Abraham, but I still find her rants and speeches helpful to pull me out of a slump. It’s basically the theory of The Secret which has been tweaked into different psychology fads for years. Her quotes are helpful to pull my perspective into one of gratitude and grace by acting as if I have everything I need, so the universe doesn’t detect ANY LACK. The old saying:

If you're not grateful for what you have, why would the universe give you more?

After my Abraham binge, I moved over to Matt Kahn, who believes quite the opposite. He advocates accepting all feelings as valid and to be loved, so as to not glaze over them in some kind of fake positivity.

With so many opinions and paths to take, my goal now, is to maintain a balance of peace despite outside circumstances. Some days I fail miserably, like yesterday, as I cried all morning after a phone call from the IRS.

Today, I'm breathing life, hope and abundance into my family. I'm trying to appreciate memories for what they were, people for who they are, despite their struggles and actions; and the future for the possibilities.

Knowing that my perspective on life is going to make it as pleasant or as miserable as I decide to let it.

Home Base

Loneliness and Sadness – How Hard Times can Lead to Addiction

By Ren in Drug Prevention

At Narconon Arrowhead

Loneliness and Sadness

Some people get addicted to drugs and alcohol. It’s not the majority. But addiction is prevalent enough and causes enough turmoil for the addict and others to beg the question – Why? Is addiction in the genes? Is it the result of a bad upbringing?

There is no one simple answer to these questions, but there is enough information available to answer the most critical question: Can addiction be prevented? By reviewing some probable causes of addiction (based on studies), preventive measures come to view. Let’s take a look.

Drug and alcohol addiction is not a life crisis that just “happens” to someone. Though no two addicts’ life experiences are identical, most people start using drugs and alcohol because of a significant struggle in their life that they cannot seem to overcome. The emotional and psychological difficulty looms large, and the person uses drugs or alcohol to escape the pain of the immediate crisis.

The pursuit of happiness, success, and goodness from life is more likely to lead to a drug-free lifestyle. Ideally, an individual should view just about every aspect of life through a lens of creating pleasant, meaningful, and happy experiences. Conversely, a negative view of life, fostered by experiences of hardship and crisis, is more likely to lead one down a path towards substance abuse.

Adverse Childhood Experiences Closely Linked to Addiction

Two studies from unrelated sources demonstrate how positive experiences among youths tend to link to sober, substance-free lifestyles. In contrast, adverse childhood experiences tend to be related to substance abuse.

“Behavioral engagement in schools is an important contributor to academic outcomes for adolescents, but may also protect them from substance abuse…”

Sad girl at school

In one study, authors Froiland, Worrell, Olenchak, and Kowalski suggest that: “Behavioral engagement in schools is an important contributor to academic outcomes for adolescents but may also protect them from substance abuse. Positive and negative attitudes to the past, present, and future have been linked to adaptive and maladaptive behaviors in adolescence, respectively. Interventions that teach students to overcome negative thinking about the past, present, and future could promote behavioral engagement and reduce the risk of adolescent substance abuse.” The authors back up their claim by their analysis of two groups of young adults. One group had childhoods full of good experiences, and another group had more harmful experiences.

From a common-sense angle, the findings are logical. Understandably, positive life experiences would more likely lead to positive, healthy, and rewarding lifestyles. The opposite, then, would also be true. The authors concluded with, “The current findings suggest the importance of positive time attitudes as promotive of behavioral engagement and protective against substance use.” Parents should take extra steps to ensure their children have positive life experiences with this information in mind. Parents can learn to promote positive behavioral engagements and healthy, responsible, rewarding, and pleasant lifestyle choices and patterns.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration put forth a great deal of information similar to the above. In SAMHSA documents, hardship experienced in youth has a definition: “Adverse Childhood Experiences,” or “ACEs,” for short.

The SAMHSA researchers put forth the idea that there is a correlation between the number of ACEs a child experiences and that child’s risk for substance abuse later in life. According to the data, “Research has demonstrated a strong, graded relationship between ACEs and a variety of substance-related behaviors. ACEs can predict earlier age of drinking onset. Therefore, underage drinking prevention programs may not work as intended, unless they help youth recognize and cope with stressors of abuse, household dysfunction, and other adverse experiences. ACEs, such as childhood abuse (physical, sexual, psychological) and parental substance abuse, are associated with a higher risk of developing a mental and/or substance use disorder later in life.” This information suggests that experiences in one’s past do much to mold their present.

One of the problematic aspects of ACEs, mainly as they occur in one’s youth, is that the young individual does not always possess the tools for coping. And while they might not turn to substances as a coping mechanism at that moment, if a young person experiences a severe hardship in their youth and is not helped, counseled or cared for through that experience, the experience may plant a seed for future difficulty. That seed matures as the individual grows up. By the time adulthood is reached, just one unaddressed ACE in youth could be the source point for addiction.

For this reason, in addition to attempting to raise children with little to no adverse experiences, parents should do their best to address difficult life moments when they occur and help their kids work through them.

Father mentoring and giving advice to a younger man.

Why Educating Young People About Drugs is Important

As it turns out, doing one’s best as a parent to ensure that a son or daughter grows up to live a sober, productive, and fulfilled life is not just dependent on making sure that kids have a “good upbringing.” The harsh reality is that young people are often peer pressured into using drugs, no matter their background, socioeconomic status, home life or quality of living.

Therefore,’ it is vital to educate young people about drug and alcohol addiction. Parents have the primary responsibility for doing this, but they should insist that schools help too. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, schools are the perfect setting for educating young people on drugs and alcohol for a few reasons:

  • Drug prevention and education are best implemented before someone starts forming erroneous beliefs about drugs. Those false beliefs tend to come from peer pressure in one’s teen years, so implementing drug education programs in elementary and middle school is wise.
  • Schools offer a systematic way of reaching many young people quickly and effectively.
  • As safe havens of learning, schools can utilize a wide range of resources, educational materials, and program steps to deliver a comprehensive education about the dangers of drugs to students.

In addition to doing their part to talk to kids about the harms of substance abuse, parents should also be proactive in their insistence that the local school system offers true information about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Addiction Treatment – How to Overcome Drug Abuse

Harmful life experiences take their toll. And when loneliness, sadness and other adverse life events lead to drug or alcohol addiction, the best way to overcome such a crisis is with the help of a residential drug and alcohol addiction treatment center.

We should all do our best to ensure that the people we love have good experiences in life, not bad ones. If we see loneliness and sadness impinging on someone we care about, we can do something about it. Now we know that such life experiences are not just harmful in a temporary sense. They have long-term repercussions. Therefore, let’s take it upon ourselves to ensure that our loved ones have positive experiences, not bad ones.

But if you know someone who has fallen prey to a drinking problem or a drug problem, please help them get to a qualified drug and alcohol treatment center. Doing so will be lifesaving for them. Don’t let a series of bad life experiences lead to a potentially fatal drug problem for your loved one. Please make sure they get help today.


Sources:


Reviewed by Matt Hawk, BS, CADC-II, ICADC

Ren

Home Base

Grieving Someone Alive

It’s a daily roller coaster of emotions, wondering if today is the day; intertwined with wisps of hope for recovery of the person you once knew so well. My upcoming book is mostly about this very subject, but I came across this article that explains it so well.

From the American Academy of Bereavement: “Unconventional “Grief:”

Grieving someone alive is not a conventional form of grief that is often talked about, but is a real issue that is faced by the living. Death is often viewed as the base requirement for grief but mourning the deceased is only one facet of death. If you have never experienced this, you likely do not understand what we’re talking about. How can you grieve for someone that you haven’t lost? If you have experience this sort of grief, you probably are cheering inside your head that someone has finally put to words what you’re feeling.

Grieving for someone alive, is not the same as anticipatory grief. Anticipatory grief is the type of grief that comes about when you know that you will soon be experiencing a loss, such as when a loved one is dying or in the hospital. If you are experiencing anticipatory grief or looking for resources on it, please visit the following link: http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/anticipatory-grief/.

WHY UNCONVENTIONAL GRIEF HAPPENS

If you’re not familiar with this form of grief, you may be unsure how this is possible or what often triggers this form of grief in people. Often, this form of grief is caused by a loved one becoming someone that you no longer know or recognize.

COMMON CAUSES OF UNCONVENTIONAL GRIEF

• Mental Illness
• Drug or Substance Addiction
• Dementia or Alzheimer’s
• Brain Injury
• Family Trauma

 
The unfortunate truth of grieving someone alive is that they are still there as the person you once knew but psychologically are a different person than they were before. Also, many of these factors are outside of the control of the person experiencing them or the person who is watching their loved one suffer. It can be hard for either party to recognize because the person does not always look like they are sick.

 
Don’t look at these causes and think that they mean that you love this person any less though. This form of grief, just like grieving someone who is deceased, does not change the level of attachment to the person. Simply, this person is no longer acting how they were before and have had a dramatic shift in personality. If your brother is suffering from a drug addiction, his behavior may become erratic and he might start stealing from yourself or other family members. Some will grieve the life that he is not living as he focuses living for his addiction. If someone is dealing with a mental illness, they may now be dealing with depression so badly that they are unable to go on living their life or they may be experiencing delusions or hallucinations.

 
A person will experience many emotions while grieving someone alive. These emotions may be more powerful and more confusing than the grieving process for someone who has recently passed. Anger is a prominent emotion that shows up. The grieving individual could feel anger towards their loved one for the issues they are dealing with and have a hard time understanding that they may not be able to change, such as in the case of mental illness. While experiencing anger, you may feel guilty as well that you are experiencing anger or guilty that you cannot control or change the situation.

 
Unlike when someone dies, you are unlikely to experience positive emotions while grieving someone alive. When someone passes, you are surrounded by the comfort of their loved ones and are often able to look at the joy of their life. This rarely happens with unconventional or ambiguous grief. Just like when someone dies, you are likely to be overcome with sadness. However, the reminder of your sadness is constant every time you think of this person or hear about them.

How to Grieve Someone Alive

• Let yourself grieve. Don’t attempt to hide or suppress your grief for this situation just because society or your loved ones don’t understand or acknowledge what you’re going through. Be open to sharing how your feeling to close family and friends and don’t push yourself to be someone you’re not at this time.
• Find other people in the same situation. Connecting with other people who are experiencing the same kind of personal loss as you is an invaluable resource. This can come in the form of a support group or finding an individual to speak with. Having someone understand what it is like to be grieving someone  alive will help to put your situation in perspective and help you to gain insight on the validity of your feelings.
• Don’t forget your memories or the past. When you are experiencing ambiguous or unconventional grief, it is easy to forget why and how you previously loved someone in the midst of their hurtful behavior. Remind yourself of the good times that you had and why you originally loved them. It is okay to cherish old moments and mourn that they are gone. Remember that that person is still here though, just not at the moment.
• Open yourself up to change. One of the hardest parts of grieving someone alive is that you are forced to accept a changed relationship that you do not want. It may be difficult for you to look on a loved one in a different life, but you may be able to experience a rewarding relationship with them in new ways than before. Focusing on finding joy in your new relationship will help keep your mental state positive rather than gloomy.
• Always remember that the illness is not the person. For many people, this is the hardest mental hurdle to overcome while grieving someone alive. Stop yourself from thinking of your loved one as the disease they’re dealing with, whether it be addiction, Alzheimer’s, or depression. You will still likely feel angry towards the person but understanding what they’re actually dealing with can help you process some of those feeling.

I miss my son, who he was. But I’ll bet he misses himself too. I’m sure he misses being the family hero, the boss that everyone went to, the funny guy, the guy who had everything. How humiliating and degrading to know you sold- not only all your worldly possessions but your family- to this evilness. I believe that’s why my son stays hidden, behind this vale of numbness & pain. People can call him a coward, a criminal, a druggie, or as even family like to say, ‘a junkie; but I know that he is mentally unwell. So unwell that he doesn’t know how unwell. Like an Alzheimers patient- they have a heart of Gold but they just can’t see how they are hurting their family with worry and despair.

With their aghast, innocent demeanor they may say:

“Whats all the fuss about? I have it under control”.

This, while their life is spinning continuously into a black hole of chaos, turmoil and more pain.

This nonchalant attitude gives the impression that addiction is someone’s choice, but to me it’s further proof of how very ill they are.

Home Base

The Merry-Go-Round of Conversing With an Addicted Loved One

Connection. You KNOW it’s important. From toddlers to teens, we’re told to try to truly connect with our children.

So we do. We try constantly to let them know we are here, and we care. As adults, the dynamic changes into trying to not being so motherly and being just friends, in a way. We thrive in being connected to our adult children. It gives us a feeling of all those little ducklings in a row, not necessarily behind us crossing the street, but out in the world, doing their thing.

When those children become dependant on a substance it twists their brain into believing anything the drug tells them to.

As with everything addiction spreads it’s volcanic ash onto; this dynamic quickly evolves back into nagging mother- disobedient child.

My mom used to always say:

“Never argue with a drunk”

It was all funny until now. 30 some years later, trying to convince my 34-year-old son -35 in 4 days- that his thinking is thwarted. As a nurse, I should know better. Alzheimer’s patients can’t be told they are unsafe to be alone- they think YOU’RE the crazy one. I swear that’s how my son acts. Of course, that is a form of gaslighting in addiction.

Banyan Treatment Center ( I have no affiliation or recommendation) Describes it this way:

"While gaslighting can occur in relationships involving addicts, it does not mean the individual is evil or doesn’t care about others. Addiction has the potential to completely twist a person’s mind until it’s only focused on getting high. This disease is characterized by an inability to control one's use of drugs or alcohol and the uncontrollable desire for these substances. A person who’s suffering from this disease may have trouble with various things in addition to gaslighting. Most people with substance use disorders will go to great lengths to sustain their habits."

That’s all. Once you understand that the hijacked brain will do ANYTHING to get what it needs, you can begin to not take it personally and see the person as extremely ill. Of course, you can’t throw that at them either or it will start a new defense mode/crazy-making conversation.

Good advice from a mom in CA:

  1. Do not try to rationalize with a drug brain, you will never win. You would make more progress by beating your head against the wall.
  2. Do not state the obvious, you need a job, you will never amount to anything, you are throwing your life away, etc. remember job equals money equals drugs. Get them clean first then the job will come.
  3. When the addict tries to pick a fight and tell you every wrong thing you ever did, do not respond and most importantly DO NOT BELIEVE IT. It is what I call the drug game, pick a fight, say bad things, you respond, it escalates, they get angry and leave, they use more drugs. I used to sing songs in my head or just stare at her blankly like she was speaking a foreign language, or say I know what you are trying to do and you can’t hurt me or suck me in, they stop real fast when you do not play. If I thought I was going to be provoked, I would wipe my hand across my mouth and that motion kept me quiet.
  4. If they use the child as manipulation, take the power back by calling CPS or serve them with guardian papers. It stops them cold in their tracks.
  5. If they yell at you on the phone, tell them you love them and when they can stop yelling call back, then hang up.
  6. Do not be guilted into giving them money for food. The hard, cold truth is addicts rarely need food. Just tell yourself if they can get money for drugs, they can get money for food.
  7. Addicts smell fear or weakness and take advantage of it. look them straight in the eye, never look away, never show fear. They know your biggest fear is that you think you are a bad Mom. Tell them when you knew better you did better and now you know better.
  8. Do not make threats you do not intend to keep. Do not say I am going to kick you out if you do not mean it.
  9. Really listen to them. Let them talk without judgement. Tell them they can tell you anything and you will still love them no matter how horrible it is. Let them know you no longer intend to fight. You plan to change the paradigm because what you were doing didn’t work.
  10. End every conversation with, I love you no matter what. You never know when it will be your last conversation.

A common theme among moms here GUILT — that we’ve somehow contributed to this horrible situation. While responses like “didn’t cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it” are true, a deeper understanding of “false guilt” was helpful to me. Our enemy uses false guilt so effectively on us!


From Focus on the Family:

False guilt has nothing to do with what’s true and accurate, nor is it related to true repentance. Rather, it is usually the fear of disapproval in disguise, and this problem especially hounds people who have a hyperactive or malfunctioning conscience. This problem can be especially hard to decipher among Christians, who take matters of conscience seriously and who might be prone to find reasons to feel guilt where there are none.

This tricky emotion puts us on the hamster wheel of life, a never-ending treadmill of uncertainty. There is no pleasing this task master because there is always another chore to fulfill, another person to try very hard to please—even when pleasing her is sinful. People driven by false guilt often feel that they have to go through life perfectly so that they can avoid criticism and disappointing others. A quick look at the life of Christ proves otherwise: He was perfect and yet Jew and Gentle alike still plotted His murder.

False Evidence Appearing Real
If false guilt were a chariot, then fear of disapproval from others is the whip upon the back of the horses pulling it. A very helpful acronym for this kind of fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear often has us imagining the worst possible outcome to a problem when in reality the outcome is rarely as bad as fear tells us it’s going to be. Fear is often a liar.

False guilt consumes our thinking while awake and asleep, and creates in our lives both spiritual and psychological cataracts, stopping us from seeing our relationships with God, others and ourselves clearly. Through false guilt, we lie to and bare false witness against ourselves. It’s still a sin. We judge ourselves inaccurately and always too harshly. We become like the Pharisees whom Jesus chastised and corrected with the strongest language throughout his ministry (Matt. 23). Like the Pharisees, who represented false and abusive religion, false guilt is also abusive. It puts heavy burdens upon our backs, burdens we were never intended to shoulder. False guilt is self-abuse.People who suffer from false guilt nearly always have difficulty being truthful with how they think, feel and act. They have great difficulty giving others Vitamin N–telling people “no.” Charles Spurgeon, British Reformed Baptist preacher and author, recognized how important this fact is in a person’s spiritual growth when he told his students, “Learn how to say ‘no.’ It will do you more good than learning Latin.”

Tragic Optimisim
Compare the misery from false guilt to the beneficial nature of healthy guilt, or what Christian counselors sometimes call godly sorrow. Victor Frankl, founder of Logotherapy, one of the most muscular and real-world attempts to make sense of life’s suffering (Frankl was a Holocaust survivor), praised guilt as one of three components that make the case for what he called “Tragic Optimism.” He said that the tragic triad of life are pain, guilt and death. Yet if handled properly, they can spur a person toward abiding meaning and purpose in life. Through guilt, he wrote, people have the potential to change for the better. Healthy guilt is a gatekeeper and boundary-maker. It helps us discover where we shouldn’t go in life, what we shouldn’t do. And it helps us make amends when we do cause others pain and related hardships. Guilt helps us find our way back toward what’s right and repair the torn portions of our lives.

Someone who was once very close to me was also a sociopath, one of those rare souls who are incapable of feeling guilt and remorse. What was astounding about this woman was her inability to express empathy toward others—especially those who she abused. Today she is miserable, alone and sometimes homeless. By looking at guilt’s opposite, we see how valuable healthy guilt is to maintaining the virtue of empathy and common decency. Without guilt, we would be counted among the most despised and wretched people. Thankfully, we feel guilt toward others because we understand that our actions somehow depleted another’s God-given value and dignity. We should treat each other well, and guilt reminds us when we don’t, helping us to avoid sin, the result of which is death in various forms.

For relief and healing, we need to put our guilty feelings under the microscope of our sober minds and see if they are real or counterfeit. One of the best ways to do this is to quiet our minds, close our eyes, breathe deeply, then ask ourselves, “Am I really guilty of what I’m telling myself, or is this another case of false evidence appearing real?” As one who has been hindered by false guilt, this exercise has been invaluable to me…….”- Paul Coughlin

Home Base

Casting Judgement

Life lessons from the pool

Yesterday, my pool was cloudy and murky.

Since I relish in my singular alone time at the pool, I got in anyway & I did my laps. After all:

  • I Needed Relief.
  • I Needed my daily exercise.
  • I needed relief from the 95-degree heat beating down on me.
  • I needed to try to forget the drama of the morning.
  • I needed to soothe my back.
  • & Relax

Suddenly my murky solo time was broken.

2 girls came in and upon seeing the pool said :

Eww gross! I’m not putting my head in, I don’t want to get sick!

I then realized how foolish I had been.

I got out & almost immediately felt a sore throat.
Yesterday & today I’m paying. Fever, earache, cold symptoms.

I get it.

~ It was my choice~.

But that doesn’t make the sickness less painful..
It doesn’t devalue my worth & ability to heal…
Today I am unable to do much of what I need to or think clearly.

It actually hurts to talk so I choose not to.

Relationships/ jobs might be lacking in communication for a minute. And honestly, I’m too exhausted to explain.

That gap of realizing how foolish we were, may span longer than a few minutes, the illness might be worse for some, the conditions different.

That gap might last years. As if we are in some kind of evil spell. Others might think we’re crazy. But we are just doing our thing.. Trying to get through the day.

As a nurse, I was taught to soothe, heal & provide comfort.

Regardless of the source of the injury or pain…

In fact, as nurses, it’s not our place to diagnose… It’s actually out of our scope of practice to diagnose.

But we can treat the symptoms, calm a crying child, ease a feverish pale forehead of an elderly lady.
Decrease the vomiting,

We don’t question them..
Why did you get sick? Why are you wasting my time & money? Why don’t you make better choices?

We just sooth & heal & try to NOT inflict more pain. We give comfort to help them get back to the quality of life they had before.

We can recommend someone with heart failure to avoid bacon. We can tell them all the negative effects like swelling, obesity etc. But if they choose to eat a pound of bacon then have those consequences, we don’t say “If you ever eat bacon again and need treatment for this we are going to turn you away” or post memes about:

Why is Lasix given to heart patients over & over again when Narcan has to be bought? 

Or other ridiculous illness shaming memes.

(Which by the way- narcan isn't free in most places)

No, we give them lasix over and over and over, or send them to the hospital for treatment….as many times as they need it.

And we certainly don’t look them up and tell them to “get over it”. I realize bacon isn’t illegal, but neither is addiction.

I know when a child or someone we love is hurting, we frantically search for a solution and someone or something to blame. It is a self preservation moment. By trying to make sense of something, we attempt to deflect the pain and misery of it. The unfairness of it all, is somehow self- soothing in the moment. But it ends up leaving us more miserable & powerless, unless we are actually promoting change without blaming other hurt people.

My son is in very murky waters. So murky that I can’t even fathom the results. It literally takes my breathe away. I just watched a five hour video on worshipping false Gods. Is MY false God FEAR? We know where that comes from. What can smother fear? LOVE.

I have to keep loving, no matter what. I have to stop blaming & shaming him.

The actions of an addict, if left untreated, will result in illegal and possibly immoral behavior. Even then, we could do society a favor by judging less and brainstorming or helping more. We could also leave the “diagnosing & labeling” to the higher ups. 🌼like God.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone

Only those who are faultless have the right to pass judgment upon others (implying that no one is faultless and that, therefore, no one has such a right to pass judgment).