Don’t Touch The Glass

I stare.

Nothing stares back.

They just swim.

And swim.

I wave. Nothing.

I tap on the glass.

Nothing.

The glare.

The waves.

The piercing lights that feel dark.

Nauseating.

I press my red, tear- soaked face against the cold glass.

See me. Please. See ME suffering.

I scream…..My breathe gushes back into my face.

I know, I’ll shame you into noticing.

I’ll yell! I’ll yell to change the flow.

Soundwaves.

HEYYYYY!!!! YOUUUU!!!!

The death of silence.

I sit. The cold floor feels like 100 jabs of icicles.

Or is that my heart? Melting into the floor.

Sliding somewhere. To the glass. Under.

I see red.

Swirling red.. up, up, up.

I feel nothing.

Someones tapping……

I hear it.

I just can’t feel it.

Is that a scream? I can’t hear it, I feel its vibration. Yet…….. Nothing.

Why can’t I care?

I wish I could care.

Instead, I swim, I swim.

I swim. I swim. Going nowhere.

It seems ok. So I swim.


Alcohol is NOT Exempt

I know I usually write about addiction in the form of opiods, but I actually have some intense interest in the fallacy (?- is that the right word?) of alcohol dependance.

Since it’s so widely shown, glamorized and basically accepted, on the movie and media scene; and since it’s even politically correct (does that even mean the same thing anymore?) to laugh at an alcohol meme; it sometimes gets overlooked as the horrible, slow killing addiction, it is, or can be.

So I was happy to see Matthew Ward’s An Open Letter to Myself About Sobriety post on Medium.

“We live in an opioid epidemic. The articles about it come out every week. People are addicted and dying and it’s horrible. According to the CDC, there were about 47,000 deaths related to opioid use in 2017.

So, it might surprise you that according to the same CDC data, there were about 88,000 deaths related to alcohol use”.

Originally published in The Ascent

If someone you know insists that they have it under control, there’s a great questionnaire on The government’s website SAMSHA
This is the very same website that the social media influencers will give you when they say they “have access to rehabs all over the country” including the ones they ‘broker’ for, if you have good insurance.

But all that aside, if you need help please  CLICK or CALL. I’ve called it and they’re very informative. There’s also tons of articles on this site for moms of teens and everyone. This site is our tax dollars at work, so use it.

Meanwhile, if you have managed to quit, or moderate your usage, or even thinking about it; I’m sure the thought has crossed your mind of what would you do instead of drinkng?

It’s sounds like an easy enough question, but those who spend hours and hours with their ḂḕṠṮ ḞṙḭḕṆḊ will understand this fear.

No worries,  Benya Clark (from Medium again) has the answer. He listed cooking, drawing, and running as his top three.

Now to those who are used to massive amounts of dopamine that substances provide; these are going to sound boring. And they probably will be at first. Until the natural Dopamine sources get built back up, you’re going to have force yourself, with some good accountability partners maybe, to start small and build up the habit—
Ya know-

ᴊᴜꜱᴛ ʟɪᴋᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅɪᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴀʟᴄᴏʜᴏʟ ᴏʀ ᴅʀᴜɢꜱ

Boredom, ingrained habits in the brain, and the lifestyle of connection  that all and drugs bring; along with this lack of Dopamine; is the reason for allot of relapses. People feel alone, lost, and bored, without their old coping mechanisms.

The good news is, new friends, new coping skills, new job opportunities can and WILL happen when you don’t have the consequences that addiction brings. You will mostly have your FREEDOM back. You won’t be enslaved to the time and MONEY.

THIS Article quotes the average American spends $22,600 over 40 years drinking 1 – yes 1- cocktail a week. ($11). There’s a Spending calculator you can use HERE. I guess it’s variable what constitutes “too much” spending on alcohol. I certainly would not use that to predict if someone is addicted.

It’s surprising how much addiction actually cost – just for the point of sale. Not even touching on the money from jobs lost, fines, insurance, and the many  other fees that go along with alcohol & drug use.

Drugs are a completly different story when it comes to money.I would say you can quadruple those numbers, easy, if a movie star or wealthy person.

It’s all very sad.

Not sad for the business end, but sad for families and children.  

It’s not a fact that escapes people with a substance use disorder (SUD- not addict). It’s one thing that contributes to their shame and blame of their condition. So much so, that I think it keeps alot of them IN that very cycle, because they think they can never pull out successfully or make up all that money or fix all that they’ve broken.

Our healthy brains KNOW it can be done, but remember,  their brains are technically damaged or at least temporarily hijacked in the areas of emotion, self control & that darn jacked up reward center.

My favorite person with a SUD-turned Doctor, says it best in this video. If that link doesn’t work- here’s next best one. Nicole Labor. Also buy her book and stuff… She humanizes addiction because she’s been there. Even while in Med school!

Regardless of where you or someone you love is at in their consumption journey, there is no reason to not at least have the conversation about how they’re doing and where they feel they want to be in 5 years.

Study after study, and -headline after obituary-  show that all addictions are progressive, leading to jail, death or recovery. So early intervention is paramount. It is a treatment condition. Despite the statistics shown, you can be part of the 21 million Americans who are in some form of recovery rather than the 88k who die every year due to alcohol related deaths. 

“You Knew The Risk”

To those wonderful commenters on addiction/or an overdose post who say no one forced people with SUD to stick a pill down their throat or use a needle, I say to you: Thank God.

Thank God, it wasn’t YOUR CHILD. Thank heavens you don’t know what it’s like to feel helpless when you find out your successful son; the hero of so many, the big hearted business owner who took his family on vacations and bought his workers new tires to get to work; is now homeless without a car or a suitcase to his name.

Thank heavens you never had to buy your son Ciggerettes because you were so relieved he wasn’t using heroin.

Thank God you never cried when you saw a simple cement driveway picture.

Oh, but about that forcing thing? Did you ever buy a lemon car? Did the salesman ever promise you that it ran great, would last you years and years, and damn, you would look great in it, very stylish and on top of the world. Then when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, listening to John Phillips Topanga Canyon:

Oh Mary, I’m in deep waters
And it’s way over my head
Everyone thought I was smarter
Then to be misled.

https://mojim.com

And you’re cussing the salesman AND yourself first being so naive?

Well here’s proof that they (‘someone’ in pain or otherwise distressed) were swayed with misinformation (from physicians, brochures in Dr’s offices and a huge marketing campaign) that MAY have led to their drastic downslide into addiction and some into death 😢

Here’s what the investigations found

  • 1. A well-intentioned effort among some physician groups to better manage chronic pain2. False marketing claims about addiction to new, longer-acting opioids
    3. Lack of physician education on the use of drugs with high abuse potentials
    4. Direct-to-physician marketing
    5. Provider-run pill mills
    6. Culture of drug use and abuse
    7. Multitude of cheap, widely available drugs of abuse including black tar heroin
    8. Over-prescription of narcotics
    9. Expansion of Mexican drug cartels
    10. Corporate greed

This is a great video ( if you can call the whole thing great) explaining it. This is what chapter 4 in my book coming out this year is about.

Even Walmart admitted there were Red flags

Whoever and whatever may have contributed to this crises, the remnants of it’s hurricane force winds go on. Not only are the grieving families still suffering the kids if their family member; but others, who have the nightmare of a child still involved, is excruciating.

It’s easy to tell someone to “let go” or ‘live your life” because you can’t control another person’s actions; but that doesn’t make it easy.

Despite, the solution, or the correct course of action, when people are suffering it’s NOT the time to tell them it’s their fault. If its the person suffering with substance use disorder, shaming them into recovery has never worked.

If it’s the the suffering parents, saying such things as:

“You should have got them help….” Is just cruel.

I will never understand the social media comments that are so insensitive towards such a massive problem in our society, no matter what or who is the cause. It doesn’t matter how it started really…… Just how we can give suffering people hope….

God help me to never become that callous🙏🙄🙏

BaNaNaS

Taken by me, this morning, in my kitchen

What an odd thing to write about, right? But every single time my bananas start to look like this, it takes me back 20 years.

I had this thing with bananas. They were touted as soooo nutritious, which led me to buy them a̲l̲l̲ t̲h̲e̲ t̲i̲m̲e̲. I mean ALL THE TIME.

Even though……

They always ended up looking like this….or worse

Banana past it’s time

I know, I don’t understand it. I think they were liked ok by my family.

I mean it’s not like anyone ever said, “I hate bananas.”

So I just kept buying them.

Vacations were the worst. I’d pack the car with treats, never forgetting bananas. I would see them every time we stopped and I would ask one of my kidlets..

“Do you want a banana?”

“No Mom”

“Why not?”

“Because i just don’t”

“Don’t you like them?”

“Yes, I do, I just don’t want one.”

And that conversation was repeated over and over for some 20 years.

And I’m still buying bananas…..

However, after posting this insanity quote, I realized the correlation to “bananas” & “crazy.”

As an advocate for mentally illness as it relates to drug use; I thought..I can’t be posting this…..

I decided to look it up.

Here’s what I found on the site The Real Dope- no less🙀

It’s crazy! I mean……it’s very interesting.

The story of bananas is a lot shorter and more mysterious than one would think.. Here the Oxford English dictionary can reliably get us back only to 1968, when a University of South Dakota publication called Current Slang reported that Kentucky college students (of “both sexes”) were using bananas to mean “excited and upset; ‘wild.’

In addition, (orange you glad I didn’t say addiction?) a 1935 glossary of criminals’ patois called The Underworld Speaks, “He’s bananas” is said to mean “He’s sexually perverted; a degenerate.” Here the connection to “crazy” is all too plausible, considering that at the time homosexuality was still widely understood to be a mental disorder.

Meanwhile, in what may have been an unrelated trend, by the 1850s or so another slang meaning for nut was “a person’s head” (no real stretch there), and “off one’s nut” meant “crazy.”

How the times change to upgrade on slang words to better fit sociatial standards. . There’s even a new dictionary on the block for slang words. The Urban Dictionary.

The old comedies were the best to depict slang words

But all joking aside, we were watching a preview of Eddie Murphy’s “Norbit” from 2007 and realized that movie would NEVER be allowed nowadays. As with many others like Archie Bunker.

The kids can say these slang words for 2020 such as periodt, boomer, slay, shook & yeet; but we can’t make fun of adults in a movie anymore, or someone will be offended.

I mean I get it. I don’t think he should have called Edith a dingbat. Or Rob Reiner “Meathead” but at the time, I laughed. My parents laughed. Did they know that was emotional abuse? Probably not. There was no internet to tell them. 😜🤪

Including me. For my cause, I hate the word “junkie” or “addict.” The correct term is person with a substance use disorder.

Same thing when mentally retarded became politically incorrect. The Federal registry, a journal of the federal government changed it to “Intellectual Disability.”

Anyway…. That’s my banana post for the day. 🍌.

Trails of Smiles-ɢuɪᴅɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴊᴏuʀɴᴇʏ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ Iɴɴᴏᴄᴇɴᴛs

As I watched the little boy in his navy blue fleece jacket; with his warm knit hoodie covering his wavy brown hair, happily bouncing along the sandy path, I couldn’t help but smile with grateful relief.

Every three steps, without fail, he would stop, bend down and draw a circle in the sand. “Look Nana! a circle!”

This was my grandson, 3 years old, diagnosed with mild autism a little over a year ago. I had limited contact with him, partly due to distance, but mostly because of a grueling 3 years dealing with my son’s (his dad) slide into addiction.

It has been heartbreaking to watch the events unfold like a classic textbook of addiction’s strange and darkened chaos. With the collapse of my son’s business he built for over 10 years, his 12 year marriage,and the loss of watching his 2 little kids grow up, my son had now isolated himself from everyone.

Relations had been strained with his now ex-wife, as the hurtful trauma of divorce along with everything else, had everyone scrambling to survive their emotions and salvage what was left of their lives as they knew it.

I was with this little boy for the first month of his life, as a preemie baby confined to oxygen until his little lungs could catch up.

I didn’t see him for almost 2 years after that, while his mom struggled with her transition from the marraige and her new home while ( hopefully) realizing that we were not the enemy trying to inflict more pain onto the situation. 

The first time I saw my little grandson again was Christmas 2019. My amazing daughter had somehow negotiated for the now ex-daughter in law, to come to our family Christmas party and bring the kids that all the cousins had missed for so long.

I can’t imagine her anxiety, walking up to the house we had rented for the occasion, to the family she had been a part of for over a decade. Not knowing if we held any blame or malice to her for anything.  Would there be an argument over the addict? I found out over a year later that she was fearful he would show up, wanting to see his kids,  even though he was safely out of state in his first rehab.

As the door opened and they stepped in, I couldn’t believe how big the kids were. I had seen occasional pictures that were swiped from social media discreetly since we were all blocked, but to see them in person was amazing. I especially was curious if the little boy resembled my son. I watched him be carried inside, with bright wide eyes looking cautiously around. His thick hair and smile was the image of my son.

His long eyelashes melted my heart, taking me back 30 years to my innocent happy funny son playing in the dirt. How I wish I could go back to that moment and tell my son that’s he’s tough enough to resist anything that comes his way, that he doesn’t have to partake of anything that makes empty promises. But of course, I probably did say that. No amount of shudda, wudda, cuddas are helpful with addiction. It happened.

As the salutations and reacquainting took place, watched him casually but with inner analyzation; I won’t deny that my heart instantly sunk a little as I could see that he carried himself a little differently, maybe a bit stiff. I didn’t know what it was, but I hoped It was nothing. I found out later that night,that he had tested for mild autism.

Wow, this is huge. I couldn’t process it adequately while trying to do holiday party activities. I wondered if my son knew. They had talked on and off over the 18 months, mostly in regards to the divorce and bancruptcy and selling their beautiful new home, but I dont think she divulged much about the children, since there was so much hurt and abandonment. Would this devastated him and push him back into his addiction after rehab?

My son had wanted to see his kids at different times the previous 9 months to rehab. And even after, he wanted to be in their life. He asked me recently, “why do you think she wont let me see them?” I was so exhausted by then, trying to get him back into treatment and such, that I didnt have the energy to say, “ Because you are on drugs, you are not reliable and safe, and its better to not go in and out of their lives and have them see you like that”. All I could muster up was, “it’s probably better for right now.”

This is one example of how their (persons with a substance use disorder) hijacked brain lies to them, telling them that they are perfectly capable of using drugs and managing a regular life. They’re not. For one thing, they absolutely do not understand time management. An hour to them is a week in real life, I swear. The part of their brain that controls assessing risk and consequences, is basically in a coma. And future plans? Non existent as their reptile brain is the only one working for survival. “Get dope or die” it screams daily.

So now, a year later, to have my precious first born son’s kids with me, doing one of my very favorite things, -hiking; and in my very favorite place, was simply heaven. 

Such a mix of feelings as I was able to walk and talk and play with these two little humans. Their mother, despite so many ups and downs this year, so many disagreements and misunderstandings- the last one just a month ago- was pleasant and agreeable. It was just like old times, sans the elephant in the great outdoors- my son.

I was torn between feelings of sadness that my son should be here, jumping off rocks and acting goofy like he used to, and just accepting the situation for what it was: A family enjoying each other, healing from life’s traumatic experiences, and moving forward with love.

It can only help everyone involved. To see that life can go on despite a difficult diagnosis, despite a traumatic divorce, 2 huge bancruptcies, extreme lifestyle changes with no money to maneuver it.

These precious kids need to see how healthy people handle stress. How unconditional love with boundaries works. How cunning and false some things are despite shiney promises. They need to know that people can make the best of what life throws then, without bitterness and regret. Who knows, these lessons is adults are lovingly teaching, may come in handy when my grandkids’ kids are faced with challenges.

So play in the sand, my little grandson. Get your fingers dirty. Smile that smile. Blink those long eyelashes. Run and play and enjoy life as a child without knowing adult problems yet. Most of all KNOW

-ᗷEYOᑎᗪ ᗩᑎYTᕼIᑎG

that you are loved. You are safe and loved.

The Night after Christmas

нow was your Cнrιѕтмαѕ?

The words echoed into my ears even before they left my co-workers mouth.

I instinctively have enough experience with avoidance and deflection to get a jump on her question.

By appearing busy and having enough ‘questions’ and data of my own; I was able to layer my question on top of hers seemingly without a noticeable pause.

I understand that I could just answer like everyone else does, with the obligatory, “Fine, thanks how was yours?”

However,  being the Infp personality type that I am, mixed in with the now
Mom of a substance use disorder adult child -that I must keep hidden in order to avoid the sigma of judgement- I just can’t seem to gloss over small talk with fake clichë answers.

It doesn’t help that I work in a culture of very religious young adults who mostly all meet the criteria for (our) societal expectation of school, college, church missions, marraige, & service;  leaving zero time for sinning, let alone drug use.

I’m not saying everyone else has perfect lives, I’m not that naive. I know they don’t, but in my world of constant daily strife and worry, it’s so incredibly hard to think any differently.

When I hear their stories of how their weekends went, I have to inwardly laugh at the comparison of my akward -seemingly co- dependant- obsession with whether my son is alive one more day.

“I went on a fun first date, I really like him, but I’m trying not to show it, ya know?”

“Oh really? Well I spent all night Saturday worrying that my 34 yr old son had overdosed by sticking a needle in his cyst- filled arm, while being homeless with no where to go.”

Do you see my hesitation in engaging in ANY personal small talk? It’s like a Friday night sitcom that’s so true it isn’t even funny.

I mean the average person wouldn’t get it, let alone a twenty- something giddy, college and love focused zoobie. Yes that’s what we used to call the locals who were hard core religious worshippers.

I’m NOT bashing my religion. I still draw great comfort in my relationship with my higher power. I just don’t go to church and temple and abstain from ALL alcohol etc. The demographic I work with are very limited in their views and tolerance if you will.

So I go about my day, in a sortof secrecy. Truthfully, almost no one, except my bosses, know anything about my personal life.

I’ve always been a little quiet in that regard. Loyal, private, not engaging in office gossip. But the last 2 years have pushed me further into that lonely hole. The space that a select few – growing by the day, I think- unwillingly are members of.

So, Christmas. What does one do for Christmas, when everyone is actively planning family parties and gifts to each other?

You do what you can to feel a sense of normalcy. You try to not let the other kids feel slighted. You fake it until you make it and by making it I mean to FIND something, anything to be grateful for.

I have started to realize how detrimental to my health and even my appearance, my constant worrying is causing. Recently I actually started combing my hair and find the oh so familiar knot- yes KNOT!!! In the same spot. I realized that I ALWAYS end up putting my hair in a braid because I don’t have the endorphins/ dopamine / whatever you want to call it to give a damn.

To think I haven’t even combed completely through my hair in who knows how long, is very telling.

Gʀᴇᴀᴛғᴜʟʟɴᴇꜱꜱ ꜱʜᴀᴛᴛᴇʀꜱ ᴇxᴘᴇᴄᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴꜱ.

My new years resolution is to find something every day, every hour if I have to, to be grateful for. And when someone asks me how my holidays went, I’m going to smile and say, “Better than I deserve,” just like Dave Ramsey does.

A Simple Driveway

ᎳhᎽ ᏆhᎥs ᏢᎥᏟᏆuᏒᎬ mᎪᎠᎬ ᏆhᎥs mᎪmᎪ ᏟᏒᎽ

It looks like just a house.

Some cement.

A fence

A few trees

But it’s more than that to me.

To me, this house represents success. It’s represents hope. It represents forward motion. It gives hope to a sense of normalcy again. It screams “Please validate me even while I’m in this darkness!”

Specifically, I’m talking about the driveway made of brand new cement. This represents the seemingly long lost talent and grit of my entrepreneur son who did a downhill slide into addiction in 2019. And I don’t just mean bunny hill slide. I mean Matterhorn, Revelstoke, and Whistler- Blackcomb kind of slide.

The kind of slide that takes everything you own away. New house, huge business, over 20 vehicles, 2 campers, and last but certainly not least, a 12 year marraige and 2 precious kids.

Why?” You ask? “ Why would anyone ‘choose’ to lose everything?

Of course they don’t.

They only chose the first part. The part about having a drink to take the edge off the day. Ya- know? Like you and I can.

They only chose to lessen some back pain from working 60 hours a week.

They chose to take a pill to finally be able to sleep the whole night through. It was slowly, gradually, until they realized they became sick without it. Until they realized that they were spending more time trying to not be sick than living life. They were telling more lies than they’d ever told in their life, just to avoid being sick.

By the time they started having the negative consequences of their substance use, their brain was so hijacked to get more and more that they couldn’t care. Not didn’t care- Couldn’t care.

As Gabor Mate stated in this article: …The addicted person

“ suffers negative consequences as a result of, and yet has difficulty giving up”.

Dr. Gabor Matè

He won’t even argue the disease versus choice because he believes

Addiction is neither a choice nor a disease, but originates in a human being’s desperate attempt to solve a problem: the problem of emotional pain, of overwhelming stress, of lost connection, of loss of control, of a deep discomfort with the self.

All I know is the devastating effects of this ‘condition’ because my family has experienced them daily. The deep pain, anger and confusion permeats everyone around the addicted loved one. So any, I mean- any -progress, to get back into being a functional member of society, is celebrated with a big sigh of relief.

This driveway and the work involved in prepping it, forming it, pouring and leveling it, is an amazing accomplishment.

Today, I choose to be extremely grateful for this picture of this simple driveway.

It represents HOPE.

Hope for more driveways. More work. More contracts. Less court, less drugs, less shady friends.

Hope to climb out of the darkness of addiction and back to the amazing dad, husband, sun, brother, uncle and friend my son IS!

As this Christmas Day comes to a close, I’m now filled with my usual sense of melancholy and sadness.

I’m so happy my son is alive today. I did NOT want to lose him on Christmas. Yes, there was an empty chair at our parties as I wrote in my blog this week. All in all, it’s another day in the life of a Mother of an Addicted Loved One.

This same Article is on medium with a few minor changes.

Brain Changes with Addiction

I first learned about the hijacked brain in a nursing in-service at work in 2017. Nurses were just starting to be able to get help for their risk of becoming addicted. My family was experiencing our first what the F moments of something being amiss with my 32 year old son.

He was flying high (excuse the pun) on the success of his company he had spent years building. However, he was disapearing from job sites more often, leaving foreman’s without direction and supplies, and trying to maneuver his flailing marriage & family-life.

He would admit later- on voice recordings- that he had so many irons in the fire, and had promised so many people too much, that he turned more and more to drugs just to function and help deal with his own disappointment of his unfulfilled promises.

It was heartbreaking. I remember sitting in that meeting thinking ,”wow! I’m glad we are catching this early”

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It seems I should have known more about addiction by then, being a nurse and all; but truth is, I had the same stigmatized view of addicts as alot of people still do.

I thought it was a certain class, maybe the poorer, uneducated kids from troubled homes. Boy was I about to get the lesson of my life.

As I wrote in my Soon to be released book, I HAD to find a way to look at addiction from a human perspective.

I was shocked to find out the possible numbers of people addicted.

Harvard states: Nearly 23 million Americans—almost one in 10—are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.

Once I dug deep into the actual physiology of Addiction, and the possible causes, it was time to look at chances at recovery.

Different studies quote very low numbers on recovery, some as low as 2%. But recovery is very hard to measure. It’s much easier to  track how many are treated

Here on the government’s website they show the many areas of treatment and how many facilities are licensed.

The sad thing about addiction- Other than every single thing about addiction is sad- is the fear of the brain not being able to heal.

I’ve heard recovered addicts say that for 2,6, even 12 months out, they still have problems with memory or energy or even feeling joy. It’s not surprising, considering the massive changes that the high amounts of dopamins cause in the brain.

This is your brain on drugs-no frying pan

There’s so many mechanisms involved that it is a miracle anyone recovers, but millions do. As this harvard help guide explains the brain changes:

“Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.”

“Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain”.

Harvard describes it further In THIS article on the hijacked brain.

The surgeon general website has good info on neural pathways that addiction causes. The good news is these pathways can be re- routed. Remapping, it’s called. Here’s a great visual From Alta Mira treatment center

Alta Mira
Continue reading “Brain Changes with Addiction”

Holier Than Thou

My momma used to call them: “hypocrites”.

The people who seem to be on their ‘high horse’ looking down on others or because of their choices or conditions in life. Or maybe it’s actually us, who find ourself saying about  others, ” If only- THEY wouldn’t have done THAT– I wouldn’t have to do this, then my life would be exponentially better”.

Possibly, that’s a true statement. But what if our own attitudes and actions have a greater impact than we think regarding OTHERS choices?  I am specifically talking about our own stress response to situations- especially in the beginning -of the addicts journey.

Admitting our own frailties is difficult especially when someones else’s are blatantly front and center, blasting us in the face.

Today I was thinking about this ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴇғғᴇᴄᴛ. There are many scientific articles actually rebuking cause and effect mostly in the subject of matter & objects- not humans. Well except for this human example.

You can watch this video here

I decided to go down the rabbit hole and explore  ᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴇғғᴇᴄᴛ
in addiction-

(Surprise Surprise! Says Gomer) since this IS an addiction blog..

I see so many frustrated and bitter posts on mom’s addict support groups about how awful the person with a substance abuse disorder is. They are mean, crass, irresponsible and everything else that you would expect from someone who’s frontal lobe is in dysfunction mode in order the let the midbrain do it’s hijacked thing: fight or flight; sick or not sick etc.

We Must, at some point realize that our one finger pointing out, still has 3 pointing back at us.

For example, looking at a homeless person brings out all of our, ” I’m so glad that’s not me or one of my kids-I mean we all work and do responsible stuff right?”

Or the allure of trauma news stories or murder shows makes us think of how fortunate we are that we don’t have those people in our family. I’m not a therapist but it may even be trying to justify, downplay our own problems or even deflect from them.

I know that quote seems harsh.

We all have our faults, some of which we are distinctly aware of. Things such as being disorganized or always being late. Usually we are obvlivious to how much those faults affect others. Luckily we manage to get by without too much devastation and learn to function around our “faults”.

In addiction, the person suffering, may initially suffer in silence. They may not even know yet that they are falling into the whirlwind of needing the drugs to avoid being sick. As their dependency escalates they become even more unaware of how their actions are starting to affect others because they are so hyperfocused on their goal..

With the devastation that addiction causes in the short term and eventually long term; the ripple effect to everyone involved, is devastating.  By then it’s sometimes difficult to look back and think what we may have done to “cause”( I say this  with extreme caution- hear me out) the ‘addict’ to turn to that particular damaging coping skill.

Before you tell me all the things your loved one has done while in addiction, I will save you from having to relive it.

We’ ve all been there, us who have had our lives interrupted and turned upside down. We all know that we didn’t ask for it. Even- those momma’s & dad’s with a history of addiction.

Their recovery is valid and by no means deserving or even destined to have a child with a substance use disorder.

Let me ademently state that personal responsibility is always number one.


Personal responsibility or Individual Responsibility is the idea that human beings choose, instigate, or otherwise cause their own actions. A corollary idea is that because we cause our actions, we can be held morally accountable or legally liable.


If we go back to basic cause and effect diagrams, every cause has an effect of course.

What I want to focus on though is TᕼE ᑕᗩᑌSE.

We all know the effects, but Why does the cause happen?

If you look at this Article with a study from 2014 from Samhsa it shows how closely related mental health is to addiction. Dependent on what age someone is faced with certain traumas, their resources for coping skills may determine an increased drug use.

As I read through this Article explaining Dopamine, I can’t help but imagine that when faced with these life’s stressors; certain people – especially those with a genetic deposition to addiction- NO MATTER WHAT AGE, will choose to feel good over feeling the angst of stress.

Of course, it seems like a no brainer. We ALL would choose feeling good over feeling yucky. As I’ve made this journey into my son’s addiction the last year, my days are spent on a roller coaster of emotions. I can be fine one minute and the next start thinking about my firstborn son who’s deeply lost and isolated from our family. I will burst into tears while driving down the freeway. At such devastating times, I have to evaluate what it is that I need- right now- to feel better.

So many times the thought comes: “If I was a drinker- it would NEED a drink right now”.  So why is it different with a drug? I know, because alcohol is legal. I get that. I’m just saying that once someone is addicted to the dopamine response of ANY DRUG, they are going to run to that when any sign of stress comes their way.

Life and relationships are  hard enough to maneuver, but people with poor coping skills and/or people prone to addiction use those skills to feel better.

So, ANY KIND of stress, including difficult bosses, insecure or spouses with their own deeply rooted issues, troubled children, the addict resorts to escaping to their (new?) coping skill. First silently, because it seems harmless and a welcome relief to the stress of the day. Like a glass of wine to a non-. Alcoholic.

Ultimately, as we all know, this eventually creates mounds more problems than they originally ever had and as a result, they become the fall guy for all things gone wrong after that point.

After their secret is made known and the house of cards start to fall, anything and everything (EFFECT) that happens as a result of the addiction is now deemed the addicts fault

They even start believing what the drugs tell them and, by now, what everyone else is telling them and showing them. The stigma of being worthless and useless imbeciles of society is further “proved”by involvement in crime and/or the justice system.

The addicts behaviors are now so wrong that any previous behaviors of others is forgotten. Everyone -including the addict -becomes stuck in this spin-cycle of destruction which is very difficult to hop off of.

The addict is bound to his own shame and blame game. Yes, it was HIS initial CHOICE to start due to his coping mechanisms, so the cause and effect seem pretty clear cut.

  I’m not in any way trying to take blame off of the addicts initial choices. I also am NOT advocating any more guilt on the addicted loved ones families. God No! We have enough. I’m simply saying that there probably were alot of problems before the addiction because there just IS, in life. But NOW because of the EFFECTS of The Addict, every other personality problem or characteristic of anyone involved in the addicts journey, suddenly disappeared. 

So, because HIS choice was made along with every one of our choices and CAUSES we made. Ours just may not have bancrupt us, or make us chained to our disease like them.

And yes, we do still suffer immensely because of their choices (& effects of those).

I believe, that true compassion is remembering the person as a human being who got caught up in the devastating whirlwind of addiction. Like driving through a windstorm, thinking you’ll get through it with a couple scratches but a hurricane is waiting within to give you the ride of your life.

I believe that it’s us, with the healthy brains, who can show the addict how to handle the stress of a
Windstorm again.

Of course they have to be somewhat willing, but we can still model UN-toxic behavior & healthy empathy.

Being treated like they are humans who made some mistakes will give them hope that they CAN SUCCEED at recovery and that they are NOT a lost cause.

I believe that WE can be their HOPE in a world that only shows them more turmoil and darkness.

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