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The Magazine Rack

Over the last decade or so, we’ve heard all the things the smartphone has replaced.

  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Rolodex
  • Pager
  • Mp3 player
  • Boom box
  • Computer
  • Typewriter

But what you never hear about is the bathroom magazine holder. For as long as I’ve “played house” which is about 38 years now; I’ve had a basket 🧺 of ‘reading material’ by each toilet.

I can almost say with complete certainty that in the last 10 years, not one book or magazine has been pulled out and looked at except by me to clean the greasy dust of them.

So why do we hold onto completely useless things? Because of tradition? Or habit. I heard an organizer on the l radio say that you don’t need a pile of washcloths in your bathroom by the shower if you never use one.

That was HUGE for me!

I tend to keep things- just in case someone needs them.

Although I rarely have house guests, there’s always that ‘chance’.

As I looked around at what my attempt of ‘just in case’ was costing me, I noticed the endless half (or less) empty shampoo bottles that I keep because I don’t want to “waste the money”, yet I’ve outgrown the desire to use that brand.

How much is your time/space/clarity/simplification/order/dust-free items/TIME? Worth?

Amazon has it all figured out in this article. But im more interested in what psychological effect the clutter of these items has on a day-to-day basis. Every single thing in our houses has to be

*Looked at*

*Cleaned*

*Moved*

*Stored*

And before all these things- the mental energy has to be conjured up to do each one. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but we really do only have so much mental energy and time. If there is one stressful thing sucking up that time and energy, it pulls it in even tighter.

I guess you could call it Fall cleaning instead of spring cleaning. Practical Perfection has a great fall cleaning checklist.

THE ULTIMATE FALL CLEANING CHECKLIST 

So today is purge day. I got rid of my toilet 🧺 basket! Now I’m working on unused washcloths.

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“But You’re Still On Something”

Sober Steve Recovery

When it comes to trying to get off of heroin, actually it’s fentanyl now, well, let’s say, opiates, because it’s all the same really. I have tried pretty much everything so when it comes to opiate maintenance drugs like methadone, suboxone, vivitrol, sublocade and subutex, yes, I not only tried them all, I have been prescribed them all. Since the first time I tried using methadone pills “met pills” is what the streets called  them then, all the way to the sublocade shot that I use now.

As people who are addicted to opiates for extended periods of time we really mess up our brains and pain receptors, as well as the pleasure receptors.

I never sucked a dick for suboxone. The brain addicted to heroin is much different than a normal brain. Being addicted to heroin, and crack and meth are similar, the drug becomes the complete and only obsession. Only thing on the addictions mind is the drug. I say addictions mind, because as someone that was addicted to drugs, I hated the word addict, well and junkie, cause there is much more to us than the drug addiction.

The purpose of the opiate maintenance drugs is not to transfer addictions, but to control that part of the brain that was so damaged. The maintenance allows for the addicted to live a normal life.

I really did try to get clean the same year I started using heroin, that was 2008. Life could have been much different but then I wouldn’t have all of this awesome information for everyone. I did buy the methadone and suboxone off the streets, and did use subutex illicitly in a rehab environment. That is a valid point, but I also was prescribed all five of the maintenance drugs and luckily for me because the vivitrol is a shot in my ass and the sublocade is a subcutaneous shot in the abdomen. The first time I tried to get clean through a rehab place was 2011, shows how long I tried on my own and just could not get it. But I left the detox facility and was prescribed suboxone.

Initially suboxone worked well, it does help with the cravings but I was not doing much work that was useful for my recovery. I was prescribed 16mg a day originally, which is and 8 in the morning and an 8 at night, but as I recently found out; a lot of factors go into this. Diet, exercise, weight, and not taking it at exactly the same time all contribute to the buprenorphine which is the active opioid flooding the brain in waves so I would still wake up really sick, or feel nauseous. Suboxone was the one I bought the most off of the streets and the one that I knew would work to get through detox in the short term. I went to the ER from my primary doctors office when I got clean for the last time. Per the primary doctor the ER flooded me with about 32mg of suboxone to tone down how sick I was. Mind you that I puked for about 96 hours straight even after all of that. I was viciously dope sick. I was prescribed suboxone since 6 months before I got clean but I would sell my subs or I would sell my subs. LOL, That was really the most difficult part at first, I wanted to use, so there was that, and I could sell a lot of them, still use, and still have subs when I couldn’t get high. Even trying the suboxone the correct way I would get sick and having the option to take it or not everyday.

At the same time that I was deciding I want to be able to use when I want to but also I want to be able to not be sick when I don’t use. LOL. That was my idea of a perfect world back then. I decided to switch from suboxone to methadone at the clinic. No longer was I going to the suboxone clinic, now like Kid Rock, I was waiting in line at the methadone clinic. The methadone was a liquid dose that I would have to drink everyday, that was whatever and it did work. But I also could just get high on heroin on top of it. I started shooting my take home Sunday dose. I got one take home dose a week and by Monday morning I was sick. Methadone is bad for your tooth enamel and it is bad for your bones. Some people are on it and it saved them, and I think that is great. Sometimes the minor side effects from the methadone are better than being dead from heroin, so I never tell anyone to stop something that is working for them, if it is really working and only they know that. I was only at 50mg of methadone and the detox was horrible and long and it is really like two weeks of hell. I used heroin to detox off of methadone and then detoxing off of the heroin was easier. Either way, I never liked going to the clinics everyday and those programs are optional and for a lot of people having that option is not good for us. During a few of my detox and rehab center stays towards the middle of my use I would ask for subutex instead of suboxone.

Made mostly for pregnant women, subutex is suboxone without the naloxone. The naloxone in the suboxone acts as an opiate blocker. The user can no longer feel the effects of using an opiate because of the naloxone. It is also the main drug in Narcan, the life saving nasal spray or injection, that everyone should have, to reverse overdoses. The active opiate in subutex and suboxone is the buprenorphine and it is used for pain and to curve cravings. I would ask for it because it did not have the blocker we could technically abuse it and of course I was always still trying to get high. However, I am not totally sure about the science behind giving subutex to pregnant women but I think if the baby is born addicted, it’s a quicker detox process if the baby is just on the subutex. I was prescribed it a few times at the detox centers I was at but they quickly realized why I asked for subutex so towards the last 5 years I really was trying to get useful tools out of treatment instead of just using it as a pit stop to get healthy for more drugs.

In 2016 I had my car stolen and was in a high speed chase in the same week. Needless to say it was a bad May but after I bailed out in August I jumped right into treatment and they had recommended the vivitrol shot. In my ass, now mind you, vivitrol is from 2006 and was developed for alcohol dependence treatment but they found out it blocks opiate use. I was in outpatient treatment but I was also scared because I was out on bail, still with the vivitrol, I did not relapse before I was sentenced to jail time. Now out on Huber, I did relapse, so maybe I should have pushed harder for the jail to keep me on the shot. That was the first time on vivtrol, the second time was after my first overdose, there were 4 total, but after the first one February 20th, 2019, I was clean long enough to get the vivitrol shot, which was rare. The one receiving the vivitrol shot has to be opiate free for 7 to 10 days, they use to say 14 days, but most people that are struggling with addiction, that is not enough time. Anyway, besides that factor with the vivitrol, I started it in February of that year and by May I was depressed and felt suicidal which never had happened to me before that. I knew I could not use heroin so I started smoking way too much crack. That was changing addictions. I got off the vivitrol around July and by the end of August I quit the crack which was what I was hoping would happen. Again though, I was off drugs but I was not doing any work to stay clean.

Getting off the drugs for a little bit is not enough for most of us to stay clean. A lot of us need help with every part of our lives when we get clean. I think using sublocade is the best route for when it comes to being able to stay clean but also focus on other things. Sublocade is a subcutaneous once a month shot that they give me in my stomach. It kind of burns going in but then it’s fine after a few seconds. The sublocade does not have the peaks and valleys of sick feeling that I got when taking a daily medication. The sublocade releases an even dose of suboxone and getting the shot once a month is nice for me and everyone that worries about whether or not I took my medication that day. The shot may have some first month side effects where your body is just adjusting but I mellowed out the second month and then the third month they lower the dose. I have been able to live a normal life on each one of the medications.

I always hate when people who are not educated say “you’re just substituting one drug for another.” I never had a heroin prescription. Fun fact, Bayer, you know the apsirin people, their first product was Bayer Heroin. I have been prescribed and medically monitored on the treatment plans and was able to live a much different life then the one I lived on heroin, well fentanyl. Because the heroin we think we are buying is actually just cut fentynal. It’s hardly even heroin at all anymore.

These treatment programs are not substituting one drug for another. The trade off for a normal life is very much worth it.

‘But you’re still on something’ I hear all the time. To that I say 90% of the population is on some kind of medication, or smokes cigarettes or, drinks caffeine or drinks alcohol. Those are all psychoactive drugs. The trade off for a normal life is worth it.

Trying all of the opiate maintenance treatment programs was not the plan, I just kept trying to do the next thing that I thought would work. I also was not afraid to try the program again. I tried suboxone a lot of times thinking I could just “do it myself” and I did do it myself for the most part, but I had to use a team of people to help guide me, I used everything I learned in 13 years of using, treatment and rehab, I really did try it all, and I have been through it all. Really is amazing that I am even still alive. It takes a team of support to help heal the addicted mind but with the right medications, treatment and guidance, We do recover. 

Published by SoberSteveRecovery

(I have no affiliation or guarantee of services)

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My Son Is Healed

He Just Doesn’t Know It Yet

Normally on days like this, I have many triggers regarding my son and the damage his addiction has caused, not only to himself but our entire family.

But today is different.

Today, I choose faith. Not HOPE, but pure faith. I’m not dissing hope. I’ve relied on it for months, year’s even. There’s nothing wrong with hope. Hope that things will get better, is what keeps people from sinking into an abyss of depression at times.

I’m going to get very vulnerable here. When or ‘because‘ hope hasn’t seemed to give me relief lately; I’ve been begging and bargaining with God to take my life in exchange for my son’s complete recovery AND my family to be healed especially for my son’s relationship with his kids to be healed.

(I know, I’m always trying to squeeze in an extra wish, but I figured I could get a 3 for 1 since they are all inter-related)

I also know this sounds very extreme. Before you suggest I go to a meeting and do self- care, thank you for the suggestion. It is what it is, I come to this place with much love and clarity have done a lot of self work. I’m not very well versed spiritually, or even strong in my faith but I believe in asking for help.

So, today I asked a prophetic dreams group that’s run by a lady I met; what prayers I should be chanting to facilitate my desire to fruition.

If this STILL sounds too weirded out, sorry. Desperate times call for desperate measures. My son is in jail on for his the second time this year in his 4th week. As stated in my previous whining posts, its been a roller coaster ride. And not the new flashy, sexy roller coaster, but the old wooden, creaky, break-down-at-any moment roller coaster (where they would casually say: “You knew the risk” if you were to get hurt).

So putting my question to a group of potentially spiritually-in-tune people was a desperate measure also. The answers I received, however, changed my perspective. This is a summation of what they said:

STOP trying to make deals with GOD! STOP immediately because deals are only made with the devil.
God ONLY wants Love & faith from you that he already sent his son to die for all our sins.

You can’t pay or bargain with God!

If you ask for healing you have to believe you have it, whether you see it yet or not, that’s the true test, do not confess what “is wrong with them” instead speak that they are healed.

Thank God that they are healed by his stripes, that he bore their sickness, thank him OUT LOUD for each promise, it could take a few months or sooner but stick with it everyday, do not let other people confess so called diagnosis over your loved ones in distress, either.

I start now.

I start calling my son into healing. I’m through letting him slide back into an excuse to blame the devil or some other entity. Evil can be fought. And if he can’t see it or say it, I will be his voice. He still has to be the one to do the work and to first DECIDE to do the work. So through the jail message system I sent my first born incarcerated son this message of not only HOPE but of FAITH.

"Your potential is not measured by your surroundings in the moment, but by the quiet moments of your heart. Where you ache deeply for your family and kids. Where your shame has pushed you into places and spaces that smothered you into numbness.

Whatever it is that pushed you into those conditions you're in; whether it was a society who said you wasn’t worthy of getting well; or your own spiral into self- defeat; you can come back.

Anytime, come back.

You’re needed. You’re wanted.

It might not seem like it.
We might be scared and worried at first, but it’s only because we care. We have been conditioned to fear the worst. So have you. That’s why it horrifies you to think of being that person you were before. After all – those were the days you needed to escape from. The stress and pressure of expectations and disappointment were off the charts some days.

What if you fail again?
Oh but my son, what if you don’t?
What if the last half or more of your life is filled with unbelievable joy? What if your kids and grandkids are gathered around you to hear your war stories? Not real war, but your days of the drug war. You won’t glamorize it, like alcohol is. You will tell the cold hard truth. You will tell those precious souls that evil starts small. With a thought. A nudge. A risk. A desire for something more. You will tell them not to be afraid or embarrassed to admit their concerns. If they are in over their head, it’s the right thing to do to seek help.

Come back.
So much love awaits you.

Please pray for mercy from the courts for my sons case Thursday- that he will be allowed to get help not locked up – prolonging his treatment. Thank you.

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Recovery Tools

12 Useful Alexa Skills for Addiction Recovery

Nova Recovery Center | Posted on August 19, 2019

12 Useful Alexa Skills for Addiction Recovery

If you own an Amazon Echo smart speaker, you have access to dozens of great sobriety maintenance tools you may not even know about. Whether you’re new to recovery or you’ve been sober for several months or years, these skills can add an extra layer of support to your sobriety journey. Here are some of the most useful Alexa skills for people in recovery.

sober now alexa skill

1. Sober Now

Sober Now offers four different sobriety tools wrapped up into one Alexa app. Get inspirational quotes, realistic self-care tips, interesting statistics on addiction and recovery, and relatable podcast episodes that will work together to help you keep your sobriety top of mind daily. With useful tips and powerful advice, this Alexa App is an all-encompassing tool that will help you stay motivated and prevent relapse.

headspace alexa skill

2. Headspace: Guided Meditation for Everybody 

This skill from Headspace is particularly helpful if you want to incorporate meditation into your sober daily routine. Use it daily to learn how to meditate and live mindfully with consistent practice. Complete with a sleep exercise to help you wind down at the end of the day, Headspace can help you manage stress, focus, and be happier with guided meditation.

sobriety birthday alexa skill

3. Sobriety Birthday

If you like to keep track of your days sober and count down to your sobriety birthday, this Alexa skill is for you! Sobriety Birthday allows you to easily count down to your special day by telling you exactly how many days remain in the countdown. This is a great way to stay motivated and remember all the progress you’ve made.

make me smile alexa skill

4. Make Me Smile

Some sober days will be easier than others, but if you’re feeling particularly down or depressed, you can simply ask Alexa to make you smile and she’ll give you plenty of reasons to feel hopeful and happy. The Make Me Smile Alexa app is a great instant pick-me-up for those dark gloomy days in recovery.

alcoholics anonymous alexa skill

5. Alcoholics Anonymous

Looking for a local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting in your area? The Alcoholics Anonymous Alexa skill can help you find the next available meeting and offer additional meeting times and options if you need it. You can also ask Alexa when your next meeting is to receive a reminder of the date and time. An additional perk: this skill rewards you with virtual sobriety chips as you earn them!

sleep sounds alexa skill

6. Sleep Sounds: Rain Sounds

Insomnia is common among people in recovery, but the Sleep Sounds Alexa skill can help you get a good night’s rest. This skill provides relaxing, ambient sounds that loop for an hour, including rain sounds, fireplace sounds, ocean sounds, white noise, thunderstorm sounds, café sounds, and more.

recovery speakers alexa skill

7. Recovery Speakers from Alcoholics Anonymous

Hearing someone else talk about their recovery journey can be extremely powerful and motivating, especially if you’re new to recovery. With the Recovery Speakers from Alcoholics Anonymous app, you can listen to random Alcoholics Anonymous speakers talk about their journey from addiction to recovery by simply saying, “Alexa, open Recovery Speakers.”

emotionally sober mind sober skill

8. Emotionally Sober Mind

Learning how to feel your emotions and manage them without drugs or alcohol can be challenging. The Emotionally Sober Mind skill helps you accept your emotions as they come and fully experience them without letting them take over completely. When paired with therapy or counseling, this Alexa skill might just be life-changing.

senenity prayer alexa skill

9. The Serenity Prayer

A simple but effective Alexa skill, the Serenity Prayer will lead you through the complete serenity prayer for 12-Step support groups. Whether you’re new to the 12-Step Program or you’d just like to hear the words spoken aloud, this Alexa skill can easily be integrated into your daily morning or evening routine.

yoga music alexa skill

10. Yoga Music

The Yoga Music Alexa app provides an hour-long background track of calming, peaceful music for your yoga practice. Stay calm, focused, and centered while you practice your yoga and forget about searching through endless Spotify playlists to find the perfect one.

talk me down alexa skill

11. Talk Me Down

Having someone to talk you down off a ledge is helpful if you feel like you’re about to use or have a drink. If your sponsor is unavailable and you can’t get ahold of another trusted support person, the Alexa Talk Me Down app can provide a timely and supportive message of courage when you need it most.

my mindful journal alexa skill

12. My Mindful Journal

If you’d like to get into the habit of journaling regularly but you don’t know what to write about, the My Mindful Journal Alexa app can help. This skill provides insightful prompts and questions to help you reflect on everyday moments in your day-to-day life. The best thing? After using this skill for a while, you’ll likely find that you can write in your mindfulness journey with any prompts or questions!

-From Nova Recovery Center– which I have no affiliation with or guarantee of services.

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Alcohol Use Disorder

The effects of alcohol can be misleading as it’s often called, “a slow form of suicide”.

As I’ve stated in many of my posts, alcohol is much more accepted than illicit drugs, making it seem as if it is less dangerous.

Since prohibition was lifted in 1932, alcohol has caused extreme heartache and millions of deaths, despite being legalized. Not that I am a fan of prohibition, heavens NO! I’m just always surprised at how accepted it is until a drinker crosses the line of being unable to control themselves, then they are shamed as much as a drug user.

The marketing for alcohol is insane! It’s easy to see why it sometimes gets a free ride since there were 253 million in sales in 2019 alone- according to New Leaf Detox & Treatment center in California.

The video above and the next section are from – New Leaf Detox which I have no affiliation with or verification of services, but they have a lot of great information on their website.

"The industry spends a further $42 million annually lobbying state legislatures and donating to members of Congress. More than 300 professional lobbyists for the industry work in Washington DC. The result is the complicity of politicians, who otherwise oppose illicit drugs, pontificate about opioid addiction, and rave about punishing drug traffickers with the death penalty.- 


ALCOHOL USE DISORDER

The Pervasive Addiction

Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD is indiscriminate in its demographic reach, affecting people of all races, age, social and economic class, education, and gender, due to the singular reason that it, unlike other drugs, is legal. Its legal status accords tolerance to drinking and normalizes and erases the stigma of overconsumption. It is viewed as a glue for social bonding and fellowship, and as a ritual to mark celebrations including healthy, wholesome activities such as sports. Drinking is so ingrained and socially acceptable in our culture, that those who abstain from alcohol are the ones considered different and unconventional.

As alcohol manufacturers and purveyors actively market their products to persuade and convert non-drinkers to use alcohol, the number of Americans afflicted with AUD has risen. Alcoholism ranks behind nicotine as America’s leading addiction. Those most susceptible to the lures of alcohol are youth between the ages of 14 to 24.

AUD is a persistent, progressive disorder marked by an overpowering compulsion to use alcohol, an inability to control the amount consumed, and the necessity to drink to feel emotionally stable and positive. Afflicted individuals feel powerless to cease drinking despite its negative effect on their health, relationships, work, and school. Mild, moderate, or severe AUD is diagnosed when a person meets any 2 of 11 DSM-5 criteria over a 12 month period.

The general acceptance of drinking makes alcohol a highly profitable commodity for manufacturers and purveyors. In 2019, domestic alcoholic beverage sales reached $253 billion. The industry spends over $3 billion each year marketing liquor to Americans, half that amount on advertising. The rest is spent promoting the benefits of alcohol at music festivals, sports events, spring break, movie theaters, billboards, and social media. The goal of alcohol marketing is to protect market share from competitors, persuade people to switch brands, introduce new products, and most importantly, to attract new users—mostly young people.

The industry spends a further $42 million annually lobbying state legislatures and donating to members of Congress. More than 300 professional lobbyists for the industry work in Washington DC. The result is the complicity of politicians, who otherwise oppose illicit drugs, pontificate about opioid addiction, and rave about punishing drug traffickers with the death penalty.

Alcohol advertising to youth is strategically designed to persuade and groom young people to drink. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found a pattern of alcohol advertising in magazines that had disproportionately youthful readers. Routinely, the ads glamorized drinking. The ads linked drinking to fun and good times, showed drinking near activities requiring concentration and coordination such as water sports, highlighted high alcohol content in products, equated drinking with popularity, and presented sexualized messages. Alcohol advertising in social media is also pervasive and designed to engage young people to interact with the messages through views, clicks, shares, and comments.

The Scale of Addiction

The numbers point to an urgent public health epidemic looming over the horizon. More than 18 million American adults suffer from AUD—75% men and 25% women. AUD is the leading cause of preventable death among adults, killing 75,000 men and 25,000 women each year.

Alcohol’s impact on kids is even more serious. More than 131,000 kids age 12-17 were arrested for liquor law violations in a year. More than 400,000 kids suffer from Alcohol Use Disorders—300,000 girls; 100,000 boys. Each year, nearly 5000 youth under 21 die in alcohol related deaths in car crashes, homicides, or suicides. For kids, drinking is a precursor to other problems including other drugs, risky activity, sexual activity, mental and emotional disorders, and future alcoholism.

The Scale of Addiction

The numbers point to an urgent public health epidemic looming over the horizon. More than 18 million American adults suffer from AUD—75% men and 25% women. AUD is the leading cause of preventable death among adults, killing 75,000 men and 25,000 women each year.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking refers to excessive drinking in a short period—5+ drinks for men and 4+ drinks for women. The group most likely to indulge in binge drinking are American youth, mostly college students. Additionally, more than a third of college students nationwide engage in extreme drinking—10+ drinks for men and 8+ drinks for women.

The dangers of binge and extreme drinking go beyond progressive harm to physical health. According to a recent survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in addition to fatal outcomes, nearly 700,000 students age 18-24 had been assaulted by drunk students, 97,000 had been victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape, and a quarter of AUD students reported a slew of problems including academic failure and absence.

Binge and extreme drinking cause dangerous amounts of alcohol to surge through the bloodstream, forcing the shutdown of vital organs and functions. Alcohol poisoning and overdose can result in choking and vomiting, hypothermia, respiratory and heart failure, seizures, loss of consciousness, and death.

The effects of alcohol on the body accrue and contribute to a range of threats to physical health. They are a contributor to serious harms including fetal alcohol disorders, cardiovascular diseases, liver cirrhosis, cancers, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, mental health disorders, and accidental injuries.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Heart

spikes blood pressure, increases risk of stroke & congestive heart failure, changes heart beat.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Stomach

inflames stomach lining & causes pain.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Blood

represses bone marrow, lowers white and red cell & platelet counts.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Cancer

increases risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, breast, liver, and colorectal cancer

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Brain

Affects cognition and muscle coordination. Slurs speech, blurs vision, decreases reflex & reaction. Causes memory loss, increases risk of dementia, and fuels anxiety and depression.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Immune System

lowers immunity to a host of diseases.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Liver

depletes ability of the liver to rid itself of fat as it diverts attention to rid body of alcohol.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Kidney

lowers hormones that enable circulation of water to the body.

Alcohol Use Disorder: The Pervasive Addiction

Central Nervous System

Wreaks havoc throughout the network including slowing and stopping breathing. Memory making portion of the brain that creates blackouts.

While the responsibility of committing to recover from alcohol addiction falls solely on those afflicted by the disorder, it is important to consider AUD in the context of contributing factors.

Your genetics, heredity, family, culture, and friends do affect your vulnerability to AUD. Parental neglect, poverty, adverse childhood experiences such as abuse or trauma, family members who drink, access to alcohol, and peer pressure all heighten the risk of AUD. Conversely, good parenting, stable family, and nurturing caregivers, relatives, teachers, and mentors can protect a person predisposed to AUD from affliction. Research has found that genes are at least half the reason why a person is susceptible to the disorder. Undiagnosed disorders such as depression, bipolar, ADHD, and anxiety may also compel people to self-medicate with alcohol.

But, AUD does not need to be a person’s inevitable fate. Despite genes and environment, or nature and nurture, learning behaviors to manage the risk can prevent a person from falling victim to this voracious addiction.

New Leaf Detox & Treatment for Drug Addiction
(I have no affiliation or verification of services)

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Projection Perfection

I broke my husbands heart yesterday.

No, I didn’t lie to him, or cheat on him. I didn’t dishonor him, unless you call crushing everything he loves- dishonoring.

We were parked at a business hooking a trailer up to the truck, when I wandered back to a beautiful row of thick sunflowers. I was admiring the giant blooms and trying to avoid the many buzzing bees who were ravishing the plants. I wanted to see if the seeds were dry enough to remove for planting later, so I was intent in concentrating on my task.

What I didn’t know, was that while I was lost in the beauty of the yellow and greens, and knowing this beauty meant one thing- FALL! Which meant winter- sigh……..; he was quietly taking pictures of me.  When he sent them to me later, I was aghast. Not being dramatic, I really was shocked to see my backside.

These pictures were everything I hated about myself and what had “become” of me the last few years. 

These pictures were also everything my husband loved about me the last few years.

Me: weight gain, low energy, finding enough gives to give a damn; trying to keep my hair colored and cut and weaved and somedays -even brushed. Trying to transition back from “skinny jeans” to “mom jeans” that were now suddenly “in”, but still look like crap on an older Mom. Oh, and my damn quarterback shoulders.

Him: the woman he loves, quiet beauty in nature, noticing things he would never notice, in my “zone”, peace, reflective state, low maintenance (sometimes).

As I told him to not send me anymore pictures, I could feel his energy drop. He took those pictures in love. His love. I crushed his intent-To remember my peace, my tranquility among nature at every opportunity.

Isn’t that the pits? We don’t see in ourselves what others see in us. We want to be different or at least better. We kick ourselves for not being what we think we should be. Sometimes, as in my case, we even despise ourselves. Coincidentally though, we also WANT others to BE something different! We want them to be what would make US feel better, instead of who they are.

Where is this dissidence coming from?

A need for perfect order in our lives? To fill some invisible hole of deficiency?

It sounds a bit crazy. Everyone wanting something else.

I heard somewhere that perfection is a form of self-harm because it is never attainable, thereby it ALWAYS knocks us back into a cycle of not achieving and subsequently hating ourselves or doubting our abilities or the worst:

Questioning our worth. 

Our worth, is not only being measured by what we assume others want out of us, but in our own however-messed-up Richter scale of perfection.

The trouble is: with perfectionism, the goal post is always being moved- by ourselves.

Photo Credit

My issue, with my picture is more of a self esteem/ body image concern, but it still rages: 

NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!

DO BETTER—–

For society’s standards, we will never be good enough. That’s why we must find our own place; in peace with ourselves. We can start with moments.

Moments when every thought, every picture that appears in your mind of how it should be, can be recognized for what it is: an opportunity to change it to thoughts of:

  • Good enough
  • Smart enough
  • Pretty enough
  • ‘Skinny’ enough

I may never see myself as my husband sees me, but I can find ways to love me exactly how I am, so I can then love others exactly how they are.

Matt Kahn describes it “perfectly” haha…

"In every moment, you and everyone else is always doing the best they possibly can. If anyone could do better — they would. When anyone can do better — they will. While spiritual teachings can give greater focus and attention to heart-centered choices, they are not to be confused with rules used to punish yourself with. Instead of ridiculing yourself with unrealistic ideas of perfectionism, most moments of healing call for a deep level of self-forgiveness where you are able to truly forgive yourself for any misjudgments in perception and reaction by truly accepting yourself — talents, flaws, and all. No one is designed to do this perfectly and it’s for such an important reason. It is to guarantee that in en route to realizing how conscious, liberated, and heart-centered you already are, life creates moments to intentionally burst any bubble of perfectionism the spiritual ego tends to hide in. As the spiritual ego gets down on itself for not “nailing it”, you are able to embrace such a part within you, allowing your love to further set free the aspect of self who only knows how to be rewarded with praise, honor, and accolade in exchange for doing something “right”. Let your journey be insightful, illuminating, clarifying, and sometimes, as messy as it's meant to be. No matter the roads traveled and the choices made, everything is made right in the end.

Confessions of a Spiritual Perfectionist

by Matt Kahn
Matt Kahn
Home Base

West Side Story

I went to the underbelly of my city yesterday….sort of like every city’s west side…

I noticed the run-down houses, the graffiti, the old cars -parked behind crumbling brick buildings- that looked like someone’s sleeping arrangements.

I saw the “tent city” of the homeless.

I waited and paused because I wanted to experience how it made me feel, in contrast to a few years ago, when I probably wouldn’t have advocated for the downtrodden as much- with regards to addiction and homelessness. The last 3 years of having a front row seat to the thirsty fangs of addiction had exposed me to things I would have preferred to never see.
I wanted to feel if I still had judgment for them after that.

As I looked at this car behind McDonald’s with a guy advertising to clean headlights for the drive-thru customers, I felt it. The judgment. The pity. I felt shame for him.
I also saw my son in him.
The scavenging.
The desperation.
The living 15 minutes at a time.
Survival.

Except for my son probably would have too much pride to do that. He would just starve…or steal a candy bar, as much as I hate to admit it.

I wanted to just give the guy $10.

But my old judgemental person said, “you know what he’ll do with it.”
My new heart-broken, marinated in-all-things addiction Mama said, “it doesn’t matter what he does with it. It’s about compassion. It’s about showing that someone cares”.

The moment to act was gone as we moved further down the street.
I saw a lady, by a car loaded full of bags and clothes. She had on an old halter top and shorts. A guy with a dirty backpack came up & spoke with her. What were they planning? A score? A hit? Or just a hamburger?

My eyes stung with what? Tear’s of desperation? Of that feeling that no one has your back? No one cares. People back away from you or avoid you? What does that do to an already shattered soul?

I noticed that they still scared me. I was NO different than all the other people-in- a- hurry in their shiny black or gray cars with tinted windows. Windows meant to keep out the UV rays AND shade us from scenes such as this.

I noticed that they still scared me. I doubt I would dare approach any of them.

They were the street people. They knew this game. Some live it by choice, some by circumstance. I know because I’m part of a local facebook recovery group, where people post about needing to move their car somewhere else because a business kicked them out.
I’m also part of my state’s Unhoused group of volunteers who help feed them.

I should do more.
I’m still in save-my-own-son survival mode which takes up most of my emotional energy.

My son doesn’t live in this area but this is his people now.
It still stings. I’m still trying to help him NOT
“вє тнσѕє ρєσρℓє”

I want him back….
Into the working class.

With a lawn of green lush grass bordering all the way around a- white-plank-siding- and-slate- stone-veneer halfway up the bottom- house.

With kids and dogs running around.

But what I want, and what’s reality is a pretty long stretch.

All I can do is,

ℓσνє нιм ωнєяє нє’ѕ αт.

And where he’s at, is in jail.

He’s a bit quiet now but hopeful.
He’s back into his lifting weights routine- doing the daily survival that’s necessary when living in close quarters to 70 other struggling males.

He’s agreed to rehab while they are preparing his sentencing. He wants to live in a different area if he doesn’t get a long sentence. That’s huge.
I’m hopeful but realistic.

I do what I can.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll go back and have my headlights cleaned.

ℓσνє αℓωαуѕ ωιиѕ

Home Base

Shudda, Wudda, Cudda

Today, I “should” be taking my son to rehab.

Today I “would” be thanking the lawyers, judges, and all jail personnel for their combined efforts of treating my son like a person who is unwell instead of like a dime store criminal.

Today, I “could” be exhaling a huge mega sigh of relief, that my son is on his way to true recovery.

We “should” be walking in the door with a hastily packed suitcase (by me) with everything he needs to begin his new re-set on life after 2 1/2 weeks in jail.

This was/IS his second time behind bars this year; and #6 overall. Yup, all those old jokes and sarcastic jail comments & jokes about our kids or others are not so funny anymore. And my son would have been the first to say them.

A circus performer was pulled over by a police officer for speeding. As the officer was writing the ticket, she noticed several machetes in the car. “What are those for?” she asked suspiciously. “I’m a juggler,” the man replied. “I use those in my act.” “Well, show me,” the officer demanded. So he got out the machetes and started juggling them, first three, then more, finally seven at one time, overhand, underhand, behind the back, putting on a dazzling show and amazing the officer. Another car passed by. The driver did a double take, and said, “My God. I’ve got to give up drinking! Look at the test they’re giving now

source: http://www.jokes4us.com/peoplejokes/prisonerjokes.html

It takes more than juggling, for a person with substance use disorder to NOT go to jail these days. They must prove that they are completely responsible and model citizens, according to society’s standards. I may be exaggerating a bit, but this morning, as I drug myself into work with the usual gnawing fear, of wondering if my son made it through the night; I find myself wondering: “why is my son in jail again? And being treated like a criminal-no less!”

It sounds like a no-brainer, I know; Until you’ve been there.

But here we were, facing years- yes, years- in prison; for possession. Possession of a substance that he used, in order to feed the cravings of his disease. I know, I know, that said substance is illegal. I get it, I do.

But I also know that there is no other disease, in which people can’t manage; that gets treated like this.

My son had a hearing yesterday, in which we thought he was signing a plea deal, after which, we thought we would scadoodle right on up to the rehab I had been communicating with for 6 months.

Since the plea wasn’t signed at the hearing, we couldn’t request to be released to rehab. So back he went into “the slammer”.

A few days, I posted on Facebook a rude email the lawyer had written me asking me if I support my son breaking the law.

I was pretty upset about the demeaning and condescending tone of it, so I didn’t even respond. Besides, it’s seriously a stupid question. Of course, there were comments on my Facebook page after I posted it, asking the same thing. “Well, do You? Don’t you think your son deserves to pay the consequences of breaking the law”? My emotional tank was on empty from receiving the email, so I didn’t feel the need to argue with someone who obviously has zero sympathy for prisoners who were addicted.

No, I don’t condone ANY illegal activity. No, my son isn’t a victim of a disease that leaves him unable to know right from wrong. But I do know that the desperation and progressive nature of the disease, leaves them unable to care when the lines are crossed.

I also know that shaming and blaming and the current punishment system don’t seem to work.

After my sons first arrest, he got on the family thread and said, “Im so sorry for embarrassing you. This is awful”. Not one person said one thing to him except me: “we just want you better, son”
He went on to have 4 more arrests until this week, the culmination of all the charges and sentencing to ensue. 😭

If shaming and blaming worked my son would NEVER have allowed himself to be arrested again.

If punishment worked, my son would have quit his disease, the minute the judge, lawyers and cops berated him the first time for not controlling his behavior.

If inflicting more trauma & pressure worked on a traumatized brain who KNOWS it has failed in every single area of life- business, fatherhood, husband hood, financially and societal standards such as housing and occupation; then giving more fines or more jail time where they can’t possibly earn the money to pay the fines, would make someone magically become responsible at that exact moment.

But no.
It all takes time. Time in the proper environment of healing. Connection, nutrition, and mental support to heal all those pathways in the brain that have suffered into unhealthy thoughts and habits.

I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I don’t have any answers. I just do the best I can each day maneuvering through the prickly jungle of addiction and all its tentacles it reaches.

As for today, I am extremely grateful my son is relatively safe. The unit he was moved to today is a bit scary, but not scarier than what he was doing while out.

Despite my ambivalence for the success of long-term incarceration; I Thank my God every day for the possibilities this short-term jail “visit” can provide.

Home Base

Abstinence Can Kill

With contribution by Carolyn Ridout Stewart
The ropes course at JourneyPure.Credit…Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

Before addiction barged its ugly lying-two-faced head into my family, I didn’t know the difference between methamphetamine and methadone. Sure, being a nurse, when someone was “on meth” I knew it was the former. But as methadone started popping up as an alternative to opioids, I wondered how replacing one drug for another could possibly be better.

This subject sparks as big of a debate as the ‘disease versus choice’ argument for addiction.

Luckily there’s a movement to advocate for people with substance use disorder who are unable to suddenly go cold turkey off of years of substance use.

This article, which highlights one treatment center in Tennessee, called JourneyPure, explores all sides of the debate including the premise that medication-assisted treatment is just giving control of the billion-dollar opioid crisis back to pharmaceutical companies.

This was exactly my thoughts when I first started looking into treatment for my son’s substance use disorder.

Did I trust “the industry” that helped perpetuate my sons descent into this darkness? But what is the alternative? Cold Turkey? 

One argument in the article states:

“It’s true that if medications became the main form of addiction treatment, the pharmaceutical industry would benefit — an outrageous outcome, critics of the approach believe, given the industry’s role in creating the opioid epidemic.”

“There’s a small group who will probably need to be on M.A.T. for the rest of their lives,” said Mr. MacMaster, who quit drugs and alcohol 30 years ago, mostly through 12-step programs. “But everybody in this room knows drug-free recovery is really the gold standard.”

Shannon Siedzik came to JourneyPure from New Jersey to be treated for heroin addiction. She said she wasn’t interested in medication because she’d had a previous reaction to buprenorphine.
Shannon Siedzik came to JourneyPure from New Jersey to be treated for heroin addiction. She said she wasn’t interested in medication because she’d had a previous reaction to buprenorphine.Credit…Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

He stated that, as a state official, he had seen people enter the state’s drug court programs on medication, only to be forced by a judge to go off it and pursue abstinence-based treatment.

Faces and Voices of Recovery shows how to advocate for yourself if this happens

“These people were vulnerable, at high risk of overdosing and relapse,” he said. “We have to keep as many people alive as we can.”

There are many cases of deaths in jail cells due to withdrawal symptoms not being taken seriously.

In Kentucky, a woman Gave birth alone, because jail employees believed “she was distraught due to coming off drugs.”

So who is the judge and jury for those of our society who are struggling with obvious brain disorder which affects their rational thinking? Although autonomy and self direction are paramount to a persons success in recovery; they also need a thorough medical evaluation in order to place them in the best position for success.

“I am a clinician. The brain, sadly, knows what it wants. It too often overrides one’s capacity to set limits or to use mind over matter. Take sugar as an example. The vast majority of Americans are literally addicted to sugar. It’s the rare individual, indeed, who can be fully abstinent from sugar. Individuals with diabetes enjoy sugar free substitutes that allow them to overcome the terrible sense of sugar deprivation. If an infant were to go a lifetime WITHOUT sugar, that individual could live his or her life happily without sugar. Sadly, in the US, sugar is in almost everything we eat. Our brains learn to want, TO “NEED” sugar from an early age. Our government puts corn syrup (very high sugar content ) in almost all processed foods. Our citizens suffer from a 70% obesity rate from sugar and many are dying because of this sugar by-product. All that being said, individuals often commence opioid use innocently either as youthful experimentation or as a physician-prescribed drug for pain. I have a few patients with opioid use disorders started because of a sports injury in high school.

Opioid use disorders are informed by the brain’s powerful, cruel, unrelenting biochemical mandate: GIVE ME OPIOIDS OR SUFFER!

The vast majority of people cannot fight back against the brain’s totalitarian control. Think of being lost in the desert without water. The brain knows what it wants!

MAT: Medication Assisted Treatment saves lives. Methadone and Suboxone gratify the bullying brain and permit the individual to focus on his or her normal life requirements, family, employment, school etc. Without MAT, the individual is locked in an unending, all-encompassing search for opioids to satisfy the brain.

Abstinence is killing our children.

AA is evolving. My son uses Suboxone and is welcome in some AA meetings.” –Caroline Ridout Stewart, LCSW, harm reduction therapist.

As the argument goes back and forth between the risks of going cold turkey and replacing the dangerous needle users of un-regulated street drugs with a safer option; one fact remains clear to me:

A judge, parole officer, jail warden, or any other person in charge of a person with substance use disorder; should not be the one making medical decisions on someone’s long-term or even short-term recovery.

Every single person’s substance use is different, as is every person’s recovery model. Most of them have used substances to self-medicate for years, so yes their opinion may be a bit skewed. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a say in what treatment plan they are most likely to follow, given their own unique circumstances.

For my struggling son, I would give anything if he was off of everything and leading as functional “normal” life as possible. But the reality is, he has been through years of trauma in the drug world while abusing his body with risky behaviors. However, he is still human and deserves to have a choice on living a healthy life again.

Hope, is what every human relies on and should be given- freely without judgment.

Home Base

Taking a Left Turn

Last Friday was an adventurous day for my husband and me! We headed out to look for an old gold mine in the mountains on an impromptu trip, which was 4 hours from our home. 

First, we parked the truck, unloaded the ATV, and took a ride to a place called “The Birthing Caves”.

There were supposed to be old petroglyphs on the cave floor. After a beautiful dusty ride with views of red rock sandstone and 10 foot fall cacti in the hot desert sand;  we  “had arrived” according to the nice google lady. It was then, that my husband realized he had left his gun sitting on the back of his truck 7 miles away. He had to get back to retrieve it; not wanting to lose it and go through the process of having to report it stolen.

We headed back on the 7-mile dusty road and found the gun safe and sound, right where he left it. We decided to load up the ATV and go in the truck to look for the GOLD. We (or I should say- him) did just that. Then we (or I should say- I) reloaded google maps and off we went. Google maps told us to turn left, then left again. And this is where the story starts.

“A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.” 

- H. Stanely Judd

Needless to say, neither of us had been on that mountain before so we followed google’s prompts, thinking all was well.

For some reason, google kept giving us the benefit of the doubt and rerouting without saying it out loud or in print (or else I missed the ques).

The benefit of the doubt, oh how many times I’ve done that- regrettably. Mostly, in the context of money. Money to a less responsible person- but that’s a different story, sort of.

It’s human nature, I suppose. Except google maps isn’t a human. But, with its computer-programmed “brain”, it still wanted to think that we knew what we were doing and would figure it out with what information was provided.

As we wound up the steep mountain cliffs, pulling a 19 ft trailer, on a road that kept getting skinnier and skinnier; we kept thinking that possibly something was wrong. We seemed to be going west instead of south, but google assured us that we were “on track”. As some of you may know, in the backcountry, it’s always wise to download the maps for that area before losing service.

Well, we (or I should say-I) didn’t. In that case, it’s imperative that you don’t refresh or back out of maps because then you have nothing to go on.

After driving in silence, enjoying the varied scenery, I started wondering if this was the road my son took back in October 2018, when our nightmare was just beginning.

It was a Monday morning. I had called him to see how his legs were because he had had an episode of cramping the weekend before. In the past this led to a hospital trip with a Rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition; so my daughter had driven over 50 miles, in the middle of the night to help him with it. She ended up staying with him all night with his cute white, fluffy Labradoodle.

So, on Monday, when he “should have” been to work; imagine my surprise when he was on a dusty road almost to Nevada, “hunting”.

He was a hunter, but, this was odd. It would be the first of many years of a downhill slide to losing his business and everything else.

Did he take a wrong turn, like us, on this very road? 

Chances are, the seeds of addiction were planted long before that. Chances are, his cousin dying that week of an abrupt freak accident sent him spiraling. Chances are, the month before, one of the very few times I heard my brawny tough, grown son cry; when he called to tell me he couldn’t save his marriage – was a huge realization & shock leading to increased use of the only coping skill he had honed in on- numbing.

As we were going down the steep dirt one-lane road, we knew that we were stuck in a forward-moving state, even if our direction and destination were wrong.

There was no turning back. We had no choice in this moment. To do so would surely be death.

Even a ‘100-point- turn- around’ was not possible for miles and miles.

Those who are on an addiction merry go round, who are using just to stay “well”, as my son calls it; also feel this way.

It's- get dope or die- survival. 

They see one path and one path only. The path which leads to their next high. Which isn’t even a high anymore. It’s maintenance. Anything that gets in that path, just like our steep windy road, is just collateral.

Thankfully we arrived safe and sound, at our wrong destination and took a paved road back. But how many don’t arrive safe? How many are berated, and shamed and told they’re doing it wrong yet can’t defend themselves in a logical manner other than lashing out?

Even if a helicopter had came down to rescue one of us, I might have chosen to stay with my husband and our vehicles, rather than leave them blocking others’ path.

As I investigated where we went aray, my husband and I disagreed about which left turn we took wrong. Imagine! Big lesson there too. It’s probably counterproductive to point out exactly where someone may have taken the wrong turn. That’s for them to figure out, just like I spent time after our trip to zoom in on every fork in the road that we missed. It didn’t matter how many people would have told me where I erred (or F’d up), I still needed to figure it out for myself.

Since we can’t get in the mind of an addict, or anyone else really; we sometimes HAVE to give them the benefit of the doubt, like google did us; and have faith that they will somehow “arrive” safe and sound, where we can help them find the road back.