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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

As a mom to a person with Opiod Use Disorder(OUD) ptsd has affected me greatly. If you don’t know what PTSD is, you may not have it. I would say It’s a severe form of anxiety that can usually be traced back to an event or series of events. The department of Experimental Psychology describes it this way:

  • Unwanted distressing memories of the trauma, flashbacks or nightmares
  • Feeling emotionally upset, tearful or irritable for example, or bodily reactions such as sweating, shaking or a racing heart beat when reminded of the event
  • Avoiding talking about the trauma, thinking about it or feelings associated with it
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma: people, places or activities
  • Feeling emotionally numb, difficulty experiencing feelings like love or happiness
  • Negative thoughts about the self, the world or the future
  • Feeling detached and cut-off from other people, finding it difficult to be close to anyone
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Feeling overly alert or watchful or feeling jumpy 

For loved ones caught in addiction, the families can certainly have all of these symptoms and more. I remember so many times trying to describe symptoms to yet another therapist as they looked at me like I was crazy.

I mean….. Aren’t all their patients???

Kidding aside, usually addiction isn’t seen as an event like war, rape or deaths of a parent or close family member. I can truly say over the last 3 years I have had all of the above stated symptoms.

There are specific things to do for ptsd such as emdr which is explained in this short video

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand_tx/emdr.asp

Here’s another one:

There’s also Prolonged exposure, which kinda scares me- I’m not gonna lie.

https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand_tx/prolonged_exposure.asp

You can find a therapist who does these treatments by typing into your browser (I prefer duck duck go) psychology today. Type in your zip code, then you can click on your insurance and all therapies like emdr, that you’re interested in.

My coping skills for my outbreaks ( between therapists)  have been many things depending on where I was at. If I was in my car I would turn up the radio loud to songs that I knew and purposely breathe deep and loud while singing in gasps. Although sounding ridiculous, this helped bring me out of my head, get the needed oxygen to my brain (I hate trying to take slow deep breaths when I’m upset), and back to the healing sounds of music.

If I was at home, which happened usually at night; I would leave my bed which wasn’t doing it’s b anyway, go to my couch & snuggle under my weighted blanket. I would turn the tv onto something that would catch my eye with beautiful scenery or fast-moving scenes. I didn’t want to hear what was happening, I only wanted my visual attention to be drawn in and mesmerized while my body calmed down.

At work, it was a different story. I once went into my boss’s office at the beginning of my shift and told her I couldn’t breathe and needed to go home. I don’t even know what had happened, it seemed like my son had a court date or similar, but it doesn’t matter if it’s anything “serious”. Almost all things addiction- are upsetting to us. I hate to say it but at work, if I’m upset about my son, I have to take a beta-blocker such as propranolol it metoprolol for anxiety. Please consult a doctor for your unique situation.

At work I teach my patients to do a 54321 sensory exercise like the Mayo clinic recommends here:

Stress bomb illustration

Everyone feels anxious now and then. But there are things you can do to minimize those feelings. Mayo Clinic Health System staff suggests trying the exercise below the next time your mind is stuck on the worry setting.

Sit quietly. Look around you and notice:

  • 5 things you can see: Your hands, the sky, a plant on your colleague’s desk
  • 4 things you can physically feel: Your feet on the ground, a ball, your friend’s hand
  • 3 things you can hear: The wind blowing, children’s laughter, your breath
  • 2 things you can smell: Fresh-cut grass, coffee, soap
  • 1 thing you can taste: A mint, gum, the fresh air

This exercise helps you shift your focus to your surroundings in the present moment and away from what is causing you to feel anxious. It can help interrupt unhealthy thought patterns. They also have a cute stress video:

Holding a bag of ice or frozen vegetables can be grounding. Going outside barefoot with a change of scenery helps. I put a bag of rocks on my patio, that I bought at home depot with some paint pens. When I needed distraction I would pick up a rock & start painting. Later at the therapists or in your journal you can work through the emotion. Most importantly is to give yourself grace. Like my fellow mom wrote in this blog about self love.

Looking back, things that I worried about, had a way of working out, whether I worried about them or not, so why did I waste my energy, tears, risk my job, etc? Pick your battles- people ultimately are going to do what they’re going to do. When it’s all said and done your health matters too. When I used to hear that, I would say- I’ll take care of me later- but later might be too late.

Home Base

Sick

I sat at my desk and coughed.

Again. Just a short one. But enough to have me notice that it seemed to be happening a lot.

I felt that familiar tightness in my chest. I knew this wasn’t the normal chest/stomach anxiety that had lived there for over 2 years. This was real sickness- tightness. I had felt it coming on for a few days now. A bit of a shiver. The wave of dread sliding from the top-down resting in the big muscles in the thigh in the form of aches. My white blood cells working overtime trying to combat this invader. I went home and popped vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, & silver. Two days later I tasted it. That taste you get when you cough. When you know that you’re in for a few weeks of miserable Flem, snot & fevers. Ughhhhh. The dread of knowing your body has been invaded by a viral species.

Who has time to be sick?? I did a covid test on myself for the 3rd time this week.

Negative. Great.

Now I have to be sick PLUS not have an excuse to miss work. See, in nursing, and before covid, you had to be practically dying with the pastor calling your boss for you to call off sick.

I know, I know. But we take care of sick people, we can’t be sick. In theory and on paper, that’s true. But in the real world, you load up on cold medicine, and if anyone notices, you say you have allergies and no one blinks an eye. Now, after Covid, people would back away from you if you so much as uttered a little Kerchoo! But things have changed in the last 9 months. The long-talked-about nursing shortage is happening in real-time. There are no extra bodies to cover your shift. You work pretty much through anything.

I started thinking about when the last time I was sick was. It was October 2019. Despite being around covid positive patients and not missing a day of work since I had not been truly ill for almost 2 years.

Why now?

Hmmm. The day before my first chest tightness was the day I dropped my 36-year-old son off at rehab. We have been waiting 2 years for this. Even with the court breathing down his neck, he knew it was time. He told me he was tired of running.

Best words I’ve heard in a long time!

Tired of running.

I was tired too. My son had addicted himself out of a house, car, job, and family. He had been scoraging around, always “trying to start over with nothing” as he put it. He even had a bullet hole in his leg from one of his jaunts to Vegas. Most people who “start over” don’t get a bullet hole in the process. Bullet hole, to me, meant you’re still on the downward slide. But who am I to know anything?

I had met his addiction head-on trying to lead him out of this hellhole. I had begged and pleaded for him to see the light. When he was released from jail earlier this summer, on a Saturday afternoon, I was devastated. I thought the chances of him going to prison were exponentially high because I knew beyond a shadow of the doubt that he wouldn’t check in with pretrial probation as they asked. I tried to stay out of it. I did. But just because we “stay out of it” doesn’t mean our insides aren’t churning like a taffy twisting machine you see at the carnival. So while my stomach was in knots for the 9 weeks he was out, he finally went back to jail in the best scenario possible: Pulled over on warrants, with no new charges. This time, for 33 days, we (me & the lawyers) made sure he wasn’t getting out except to rehab.

So here we are. Him safe, me sick.

The very fact that I came down with one of the worst colds/ flu I’ve ever had the minute he was safe in rehab, was not a coincidence.

I think it’s God’s way of saying, “Rest, child”. Joanna Weaver states in her article on 7 verses for when you are weary:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

God knows what you need. Like a good shepherd, He ensures we have seasons of rest in green pastures and beside quiet waters. He also knows that to get to some of those restful places we may have to walk through a dark valley first, but He offers His presence to guide, protect and comfort us every step of the way.

No hurt is overlooked, no pain is wasted, no child of God is left behind. God will carry you through to the other side.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4"- Johannaweaverbooks.com

‘He MAKES me lie down in green pastures. I have always believed sickness is our body’s way of telling us (making us) to slow down. When we can’t seem to do it ourselves because of our martyrdom, or our real responsibilities. Ironically, I used to send my addicted son this quote when he was at the height of running his businesses and showed no reprieve in his drive and ambition.

He would soon live up to that and spent 3 years counting, in addiction, and now whatever time it will take to climb out. I’m forever grateful for the chances he gets and the second chance he has to live. I’m grateful that things have seemed to turn in his favor. Tonight as I settled in for a rainy afternoon making me some homemade chicken noodle soup, just like my mama used to make; I breathed in a sigh of relief. I guess it was time to take care of myself. I guess I needed this illness. I “earned” it. Not that anyone deserves suffering, more like forced to slow down for their own good. As I sat down to eat hours later, it was then I realized I had forgotten to add the chicken. My soup was just Noodle Soup.

Oh well. Go figure. Recovery is not a straight line. And neither is my cooking! Sometimes the chicken doesn’t even cross the road…or my stove!

Home Base

Ubuntu: Choosing Compassion Over Anger

I’ve looked at this picture and accompanying words several times over the last 3 years. Oh, how many times I’ve wished for treatment on a deserted island or a posh beach-themed ibogaine clinic in Costa Rico overlooking the warm ocean waves. How many times have I wished for my “tribe” to surround my son and will him back to life by chanting mantras and singing songs of hope? How many times I wanted tearful meetings filled with prayers and arms slung desperately over shoulders clinging to each other for strength on what the next best course of action should be. I wanted us to come away feeling fulfilled and hopeful that my son would know how much he was loved and would just see the error of his ways as he collapsed in sincere repentance and dramatic promises.

I believe in the power of Love. I believe that connection is a valid treatment (not cure) for addiction. I believe when lost souls push people away, it’s really the addiction making room for more addiction. And although we may not do the Ubuntu tribe thing; we are all healing in our own way. We are all doing the best we can, even if it’s not supporting each other in unison together.

As of now, I’m in complete gratefulness in my blessings of having everything I asked for come to fruition and so much more that I “scarce can take it in”. Although nothing is promised other than the moment we are living in, I am forever grateful that my son is on his journey of recovery.

My “tribe” was other mothers, my husband, my daughters, and a couple dozen zoom meetings of suffering parents. My God, who was the recipient of all my crying and sometimes screaming, in my car, patiently held me as I let him lead my son from the murky waters of addiction into the cold cement walls of the jail where he was supposed to heal his damaged brain by being around other damaged people. But guess what? They were his tribe. They were the ones who welcomed him with workout clothes, the “best bunk” and an immediate entrance into a certain group which is paramount for survival in jail. Certain people giving him valuable advice that you can’t get out of a book. God was watching my boy when I couldn’t.

Today I want to share a collection of positive stories and quotes on helping people. I hope you enjoy these and can apply them to your situation somehow.

This memory recently came up on my Facebook page after the deadly Las Vegas shootings 4 years ago. This is what I wrote in response to that:

"I see the anger and shock in people while they move thru their emotions of this tragedy as it plays out; I'm convinced again that despite all the good that social media has done; the hate, blame, anger, snarkiness, rudeness in times like this, serve more damage than any good.

I know all of these emotions are usually fear-based and are people trying desperately to make sense of their world.
We want to feel like we have some control over our lives & our destiny.
When something like this happens, we realize -again- that we have zero control over anything. We only have our experience of what we are seeing.
So, according to that perspective, we lash out to try to get our views heard to somehow make sense of it. Our goal seems to be' to try to change our state of how we are feeling or make sure that in the future, this doesn't happen again. We do this by placing blame on anybody, anything. We want to feel like we matter in the scheme of things and that we can make a difference somehow.
But truth be told, we just can't understand why things like this happen. Human behavior, natural disasters, are all completely out of our control & have been the study of man for centuries. We are certainly not going to solve them suddenly by arguing on social media.  It's really wasted energy to try to wrap our heads around it. And it's not really that beneficial anyway, because the next shooting Is going to be different circumstances, a different city, a different gun, a different motive (if we ever discover the true motives).

So what if...

What if we love our fear?

What if we accept that we CANT UNDERSTAND it?

What if we*******gasp******
fought hate with LOVE???
Can you do it?
To set your own soul free can you forgive the face of evil without knowing why?
What if the reasons were crystal clear to us? Would that help heal 100's of gunshots & wounds & would it make 57 funerals not have to happen? No, it wouldn't.
Even if we knew the grand scheme of things, or even the possibility that these 57 victims agreed to come to earth & be the focus of such evil, would that make our hearts hurt less? Or our fear the next time we go to Vegas- any Less?

I doubt it.

We all are going to have to work thru our thoughts & feelings of fear & shock & disgust.
Why not accept those feelings for what they are without needing to know why, then
give ourselves & others more love during this time, not more hate.

Of course we may never know the reasons behind such tragedies (that particular one included); Matt Kahn says it best:

Blame is the first act of war. Compassion is the first sign of peace. In tested times, an awakening soul first turns to prayer instead of resorting to blame. This doesn’t exclude external action. Instead, the power of prayer energetically infuses each necessary action step, as a living fulfillment of your highest intention in motion, instead of unconsciously expanding the vibration of victimhood through patterns of blame.

If first choosing prayer instead of blame seems too passive of an option, then the internal war rages on. There is much change to be made in this world, but it can only be accomplished by those who are willing to stand up in the name of truth, and act out their most noble values, without forgetting their Divinity or closing their hearts along the way. This is the grace of conscious action.

Whether you blame instead of pray, pray instead of blame, pray for those who blame, or even blame those who pray -- you always deserve more love, not less." - Matt Kahn

When our loved ones disappoint us, when our hearts are shattered to pieces and we think we can never recover. When we want to yell at God or the sacklers, or the governor- anyone who may have contributed to our misery- who is the one who needs love now?

Us.

We can wrap ourselves up in the arms of a soft blanket and feel the power of love envelop us. We can recognize the divine wisdom of polarization. To know darkness is to appreciate and relish in the light.

And while we are trying to show up for ourselves, maybe 🐝 Bees 🐝can help us figure it out:

“My dad has bees.🐝Today I went to his house and he showed me all of the honey he had gotten from the hives. He took the lid off of a 5 gallon bucket full of honey and on top of the honey there were 3 little bees, struggling. They were covered in sticky honey and drowning. I asked him if we could help them and he said he was sure they wouldn’t survive. Casualties of honey collection I suppose.
I asked him again if we could at least get them out and kill them quickly, after all he was the one who taught me to put a suffering animal (or bug) out of its misery. He finally conceded and scooped the bees out of the bucket. He put them in an empty Chobani yogurt container and put the plastic container outside.
Because he had disrupted the hive with the earlier honey 🍯 collection, there were bees flying all over outside.
We put the 3 🐝🐝🐝little bees in the container on a bench and left them to their fate. My dad called me out a little while later to show me what was happening. These three little bees were surrounded by all of their sisters (all of the bees are females) and they were cleaning the sticky nearly dead bees, helping them to get all of the honey off of their bodies. We came back a short time later and there was only one little bee left in the container. She was still being tended to by her sisters.
When it was time for me to leave we checked one last time and all three of the bees had been cleaned off enough to fly away and the container was empty.
Those three little bees lived because they were surrounded by family and friends who would not give up on them, family and friends who refused to let them drown in their own stickiness and resolved to help until the last little bee could be set free.
Bee Sisters🐝Bee Peers🐝Bee Teammates🐝Bee helpers🐝Bee a friend🐝 We could all learn a thing or two from these bees. 🐝 🐝 🐝🐝🐝

-Author Unknown”

The Ring Theory

Source: Illustration by Wes Bausmith”

In Psychology Today author, Elana Premack Sandler wrote this article on where to direct our anger in crisis. I thought it was fitting for addiction situations when our addicted loved one is in the center circle most of the time. It states this:

“If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort in, dump out.”

Elana Premak Sadler

“Years ago, psychologist Susan Silk and her friend Barry Goldman wrote about a concept they called the “Ring Theory.” it’s used as a guide for family and friends to help prevent suicide.

You can read the entire article here: The ring theory

Home Base

“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🙏🙄🙏

Home Base

The Gift of Gratefulness

My little chihuahua watched with piercing concentration as I sat down to eat my breakfast one morning. Hope and anticipation filled his eyes as he wondered and thought about what delicious morsels I must be devouring without him. As I took a bite of my pancake, I dropped a piece for him. He sniffed it thoroughly and decided against tasting it. I continued on. The next bite was filled with syrup and melted butter, so I thought, maybe he would like a piece of that. I dropped a small piece of dripping sticky pancake knowing he would be both my broom and mop on the hardwood floor.

He sniffed it and nothing……

It wasn’t good enough.

Bandit

His taste buds were not geared for sweets like humans and he wanted no part of this meatless society.

I stared at his pleading face, as I looked over at his dog bowl which was full of dry dog food. I felt a God-like superiority over him as I analyzed how to best handle this 9-pound varment.

“Dude”, I said. ” you have a bowl full of water, a bowl full of food, and a sticky warm piece of flour and sugar right under your nose. Why aren’t you happy?”

I felt the irony in this statement before I even finished my sentence. Is this what God says to us?

Why aren't we happy?

Many studies, articles, and books address this in-depth. Millions and billions of dollars have been made trying to get us to find happiness. After years of self-help books, seminars, and searching among various forms of religions; I can truly say that happiness is only found within a place that none of these things can buy. Although I’m still convinced that if I were financially independent and secure, I could pursue this study 24/7 and get back to you on that 😘; it appears that by watching those who have immense wealth, it still isn’t enough. They are not satisfied. They seek higher positions of power and prestige. The balance between being content, having enough, and placating the human ego or the drive for more seems to be a hidden secret.

I do believe happiness is fleeting.

Moments of bliss, followed by disappointment. What more can we expect really? Do we want to be in a heightened state of euphoria always? As a mother of a person who uses drugs problematically; I can tell you what he has told me. He said this state of euphoria is so powerful that it keeps people stuck in the cycle of trying to find that peak again and again.

Are we any different? Our desires may not be illegal or reach the height of divorce, bankruptcy, jail or heaven forbid- death; but as I stated in this post, we all are just trying to fill our needs.

Of course, we should be grateful for any and every ounce of blissness we get. But what about our problems? Is there a way to be grateful for those?

When my kids were little, I know I worried like crazy with each little thing that “seemed” like a variant off of the beaten path. Like my substance use disorder son’s ADD. How hard for him to follow instructions and learn in the traditional school setting. But when he got put in the world and could do his own thing, he thrived. Until he, himself, wanted more. This video warmed my heart on that subject.

That little boy who seemed so out of sync with “others” had a power and talent all his own. Don’t we all? Just because we don’t fit into someone else box. Or just because someone’s journey (or recovery) isn’t going as fast as we want, or the direction we want.

Today I’m in complete gratefulness. My son has been in rehab for one week. That might not seem like a big deal but considering it’s what I’ve prayed for-for 2 years, it’s a miracle! The other strange thing is for the 30+ rehabs I have searched and written to in the last 2 years, my son ended up in one just a few miles from my house. I didn’t plan that but ultimately I’m grateful. The first few nights I tossed and turned worried he would show up at my door having walked out, but now I’m just taking of day by day. When he went in, I tried to give him one of these blue bracelets that states:

One Day At A Time

But he said that was “too rehab-ey”. Oh, that boy. My rehab-resistant but trying- his- hardest boy. I’m grateful for any scraps of pancakes or any scraps of willingness I can get.

The cherry on top – (or syrup & butter) will be when my son finds his happiness and his bliss- without substances of course.

May we all find our peace and our fleeting moments of happiness
✨💝✨
Home Base

Defining Enabling for Ourselves

I usually avoid using the word ‘Enabling‘ because of the broad definition of it’s meaning and because of the negative connotations. I still believe that no one else can “decide” for someone else what enabling is. Each situation is so unique that I believe it’s a disservice to assess a situation based on one paragraph in a support group.

Of course we all learn as we go. There is really no other way to navigate through this maze of addiction or any other debilitating situation that renders the person unable to manage their life. To leave them floundering in their chaos just doesn’t seem right to me. Although I don’t support my son while in active addiction, I will support any and all things recovery.

I like this article from Nova Recovery with whom I have no affiliation with- because it lays out most of the facts surrounding helping with addiction. There are always unique situations and no one knows your particular one. I do have trouble with “Don’t act out of fear” because of the increased risk of death or long term prison sentences.

I also don’t like the last paragraph lol.

Tell me what you think.

The Enabling Cycle: When Helping isn’t Helping

Nova Recovery Center | Posted on June 1, 2016

Drug addiction does not discriminate, it doesn’t care if your rich or poor, famous or unknown, a man or woman, it doesn’t care what race or age you are. Many people can relate first hand to the effects of the drug epidemic in America, and parents are crying out with pleas of help. Everyone connected to the person abusing drugs can and will get hurt, husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, babies, other family members and friends.

Drug addiction doesn’t only hurt the user, but everyone else connected to him or her also. Substance abuse and addiction is a very serious problem for many people. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that, in the year before the survey, more than 23 million people needed treatment for substance abuse. However, only 2.5 million received drug treatment. Even more staggering 21.5 million of them reported that they saw no need to seek help. This figure suggests that many people are in denial about the severity of their substance abuse.

The reason behind this denial are complex, but one common reason is enabling. This means that someone close to the user is accepting their substance abuse and allowing it to continue with relatively few consequences. Enabling can be extremely dangerous, both for drug user and their loved ones. Since enabling discourages users from addressing their problem with professional help, it can lead to situations that cause physical, mental and psychological harm.

dssaaaa

Enabling protects them from the consequences of their choices and actions. The more you let them depend on you and take you for granted, the less motivated they are to change. Most enablers start off doing a nice thing for the drug user, usually something to help them out. They always have the best intentions and fully believe they’re helping, but they fail to realize that drug users are selfish and use manipulation to get what they want. The enabler enables because it gives them a false sense of self and makes them feel needed. They also feel control over the other person (through guilt) by helping them. However, they ironically still end up feeling resentful, frustrated, or unappreciated. Thus starting the cycle of enabling which can be extremely difficult to break. In my recent years of working in the addiction field, I’ve come to understand deeply the effects of enabling on the user and the enabler. Here is an example chart of the cycle of enabling.

Other examples of enabling are:

  • Ignoring the addict’s negative or potentially dangerous behavior – This behavior can involve anything from overlooking problems to denying that a problem even exists
  • Difficulty expressing emotions – Enablers are often unsure how to express their feelings, especially if there are negative repercussions for doing so
  • Prioritizing the addict’s needs before her own – While it is natural to want to help loved ones, enabling takes helping a step too far, where the addict has her needs taken care of while the enabler neglects her own
  • Acting out of fear – Since addiction can cause frightening events, the enabler will do whatever it takes to avoid such situations
  • Lying to others to cover the addict’s behavior – An enabler will lie to keep the peace and to present a controlled, calm exterior
  • Blaming people or situations other than the addict – To protect the addict from the consequences of drug abuse, the enabler might accuse other people of causing drug abuse
  • Resenting the addict – The result of the above behaviors is that the enabler will likely feel angry and hurt. She may act on these feelings by resenting the addict all while continuing to enable the addiction.

Breaking The Cycle of Enabling.

While enabling can be a serious problem for everyone involved with addiction, it is completely possible to break the enabling cycle so the addict can heal in productive, meaningful ways. Here are some suggestions to help someone stop enabling:

  • Don’t lie for anyone. Don’t be the parent or wife who gets on the phone and says her husband or son is sick when he’s hungover or using.
  • Don’t make excuses for others when they don’t fulfill their obligations.
  • Don’t clean up after a substance abuser. They should see the damage they’ve done and the chaos they’ve caused.
  • Be accountable for your bills only. If you’re not responsible for it, don’t pay it. Especially when dealing with consequences that addicts create. Don’t bail them out of jail, unless they want drug treatment help.
  • Stand up for yourself. You don’t have to be mean, but you do have to put your foot down. Setting and creating healthily boundaries allows you to gain your own life back.
  • Don’t rescue. A person must suffer the consequences of their actions. Which means don’t pay for lawyers or post bail. Many enablers turn from helping to saving and recusing quickly. Soon all of their thoughts and actions surround only the user, and they’re missing out on their own life.
  • Stop trying to fix everybody. You’re not a magician and you’re not God. Work on yourself. Get the support of friends, family members and counselors. Join Al-Anon or some other 12-step program. Do whatever it takes to stop yourself from hurting somebody else with your notion of helping.

Real love for somebody is being able to step back and allow them to suffer enough to recognize their need to change.

Home Base

Who’s To Blame?

Repost from February 2021

Ahh who’s to blame for the opioid epidemic? Notwithstanding personal responsibility, of course, but It’s easy to blame the Sacklers and the physicians for pushing it all those years ago. All for-profit as they seem to have zero remorse. But some people, prefer to blame “the enabler” for another’s addiction.

According to some current trends, us mom’s fit that label.

This tears my heart out because most of (or some of) my addiction uneducated (& unhealed) family, pretty much blame me for our addicted loved one for not choosing recovery. It’s a ridiculous unnecessary concept that I would be responsible for my son’s behavior.

It’s as if a very thick line has to be drawn for team X and team Y.
These people are all as deeply traumatized as I am about my son’s fall into addiction.
He was the family hero, leader & (I assume) they all just think it’s a matter of willpower on his part and his willpower would be higher if I didn’t do x & z ?

In reality, I hardly do anything for him, but they haven’t taken the time to actually talk to me about it. He’s the never mentioned elephant in the room who’s hasn’t been in the room for going on 2 years……
They have all shunned him & refuse to even talk to him- mostly because, yes, once every few months he does ask for money, or he will ask my sons for a business tool, etc… Which is denied.
So, as you can see, there’s a lot of burned
Bridges, hurt feelings, betrayal, abandonment… Everything that goes along with addiction.
And somehow, Moms are supposed to fix all that?

"If mom would just quit helping him", he would shape up.

Bottom line. My son is very very ill. He’s so incredibly stubborn and very ADD- which makes it all the worse. He’s still very ill.
He is also still my hero because even as an addict he has treated me better than most of my family.
This is why I’m so sensitive to all the enabling posts seen on support groups. My son is still a human, a struggling one. He has lost over 100 lbs. He still has nothing to his name. No car, no tools, yet still will go and pour a little driveway with great pride. (He used to run 3 businesses)
I love Resurrektion of Me on IG because her posts on people deserving of basic needs despite them doing things we don’t agree with-hits home to me right now.

If tough love worked, my son should be better by now. If caring and emotionally supporting him is a reason to stay in addiction then I guess I am the cause.

Bless us all🥰

Home Base

Pink Beaches in Utah

As I stood on the bank of the large lake just 35 minutes from my house; I gazed out at the pristine waters that spread from east to west. The barren brown mountain to the north was a stark contrast to the bluish Oquirrh mountains beyond the sparkling water.

I walked toward the water, expecting to feel squishy sand on the beach. Instead, I felt the hardened salt crystals stand their ground under the weight of my sandals. The only sound to be heard was the crunching of the salty “ice” under our feet.

The breeze was salty too, as if to not be left out. The crisp fall air that I had distinctly felt the last few days was noticeably gone- likely retreating back to its summer hibernation and graciously allowing the hot summer sun to have one more day of service.

My husband and I were on the shores of the Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River and the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere- according to visitSaltLake.com.

The pink water on this particular side, are due to the millions of brine shrimp which are {tiny} aquatic creatures called brine shrimp, they eat algae instead of grass, and there are about 17 trillion of them”.

Atlas Obscura
"The brine shrimp are grazing crustaceans, surviving on a diet of algae that grows in Utah’s Great Salt Lake. They reproduce by laying hardy eggs called cysts, which survive over the winter and hatch each spring to restart the population. Brine shrimp cysts have been harvested there for decades—it’s a $67 million-a-year industry that supplies food for fish farms around the world—and since 1992...."-Atlas Obscura
Photo Credit

The brine shrimp bring back a fond memory from my childhood. Remember the sea monkeys ads?

Our pink shrimp adventure was one of many weekend jaunts we took in the beautiful mountains and deserts surrounding our city and state. But this one was different.

This time, I didn’t have to force myself to not think of my son.

I didn’t have to wonder if he survived the night. I didn’t have to wonder if he was in Vegas getting shot at.

I didn’t have to wonder if this mountain, or desert, or landmark would be the one where they call me to tell me my son passed away.

Although no days are promised to any of us, this time, I knew my son was relatively safe.

This time, after a series of miracles, my son was inside a rehab, (hopefully) starting his final journey of recovery.

It’s been almost 2 years since he entered his first and only rehab. He went out of state after a family intervention, just like you see on TV. He did ok there, despite it being a bit scammy. He made it 72 days clean.

The last 2 years have left me and those close to him, swimming in darkness as we struggled to understand the terrifying grip this disease has on him. But just like the brine shrimp above-their brine eggs remain viable in dry conditions for several years- because of desiccation tolerance; my son was being preserved in his “drought”.

"Desiccation tolerance refers to the ability of an organism to withstand or endure extreme dryness, or drought-like conditions. This means that physiological or behavioral adaptations to withstand these periods are necessary to ensure survival". source

Oh how my heart would weep at what conditions my sons life was in, at his little kids’ left behind and in the real possibilities of harm or loss of his freedom that awaited. I would weep in joy at others’s successes, then turn to sorrow that my son & our family was still struggling.

Little did I know that like the brine shrimp eggs in drought, or in their normal cold winter; those seeds of hope and love were being nourished in my son in the form of faith that he could pull through his “drought” period.

Yesterday, after not seeing my beautiful boy for 16 months-my husband and I embarked on another adventure- a midnight trek- driving 800 miles that ended in the sheer joy of watching my son walk willingly into a rehab and say: Thank you.

I know that nothing is promised. Many would say that this doesn’t mean anything. Addicts go through rehabs like Cars in McDonald’s drive-through. But my son is very rehab-resistant (for that very reason) and his rock bottom is as deep as the sea. He acclimates to every new level of condition that this life style has thrown at him. So to see the willingness of him to go through the door of the rehab, makes this mama’s heart soar.

May we all find joy in the present. In the beauty of now. Whatever droughts we have been through to whatever the future holds; may we offer Seeds of Hope and Love to all those around us.

I hope you enjoy my pictures.

Home Base

Going To Rehab While On Parole

Nova Recovery Center | Posted on July 3, 2019

(I have no affiliation with)

inmate in a cell

The legal consequences of drug abuse can vary greatly, but most often, drug offenders are sentenced with hefty fines, probation, or are sent to jail immediately, especially if they have a history of prior arrests. However, going to rehab while on probation can be extremely beneficial, and for individuals on parole, it may even be necessary.

Even under the best conditions and circumstances, starting over after spending time in jail can be difficult. Many people on parole may have difficulties finding employment due to a lack of education, skills, or criminal history. Others may have mental and/or physical health problems that interfere with their ability to reintegrate into society after being in prison. And many individuals who get out of prison are also struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, with little to no recovery support.

Adjusting to adjust to life outside of jail while attempting to live a crime-free and drug-free life is a complex process that requires ongoing support and rehabilitation. A drug and alcohol rehab program can offer a wealth of benefits for people who are on probation, parole, or who are trying to turn over a new leaf after being released from prison.

While many drug offenders are incarcerated following a DUI, DWI, or other drug-related crime, it’s not impossible to get a fresh start after being released from jail. If you’ve been released from prison on parole or you’ve been sentenced to probation and you’re looking for a drug rehab program that will help you begin your new sober life, here’s what you need to know.

Probation and Parole for DUI, DWI, and Other Drug-Related Crimes

Substance abuse and crime are known to be interconnected, with many criminal offenses stemming from addictive behaviors. Although addiction is recognized as a chronic disease that affects behavior and impulse control, many criminal offenders who commit drug-related crimes serve lengthy prison sentences and get out of jail only to pick up where they left off and end up back in jail. In fact, research shows half of all jail inmates are reincarcerated within three years of being released.1

The challenges of adjusting to life outside of jail and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle can be overwhelming for many people who are on parole or who served a full sentence and were recently released from prison. However, there are alternatives to incarceration for drug offenders, one of which is drug court.

People who commit drug-related crimes often end up in drug court, where they are given the opportunity to enter a long-term addiction treatment program instead of going to jail.2 Court-ordered rehab gives them the chance to address the underlying issue (substance abuse) and learn how to live a fulfilling, crime-free life while providing much-needed support.

For criminal offenders who are on parole following an early release from jail, drug rehab may seem like a violation of parole conditions, but enrollment in rehab is often encouraged in the event of a relapse or recurrence of symptoms and can help drug offenders prioritize their recovery while they adjust to life on the outside.

What Are the Benefits of Parole Rehabilitation Programs for Addiction?

The purpose of parole is to help prison inmates re-enter society successfully and avoid becoming a re-offender. This is a great option for inmates who are motivated to change after being released from prison. Additionally, it’s also great for taxpayers, as parole in Texas costs $4 per day per offender and incarceration costs $50.3

Although parole supervision at the end of a prison term reduces the likelihood of future arrest, the Urban Institute study found that drug offenders do not typically benefit from parole supervision.3 In these cases, an addiction treatment program is much more likely to provide the support drug offenders need to maintain their sobriety and successfully reintegrate back into society.

Just a few of the primary benefits of drug rehab for people on parole include:

  • A focus on relapse prevention and management
  • Life skills development
  • Opportunities to engage in healthy relationships with sober people
  • Active engagement in a recovery program
  • Access to safe and sober housing
  • Trauma-informed therapy for self-esteem and identity issues
  • Employment and volunteer assistance4

Not only are there many great benefits of attending rehab while on parole, but coming clean and enrolling in a drug rehab program can also show your parole officer and the judge that you’re serious about changing your life and that you’re willing to put in the hard work to get it done.Talk to a Treatment Expert – (512) 520-0255FREE INSURANCE VERIFICATION & CONSULTATIONName *FirstLastEmail *Phone *Your Messagehttps://newassets.hcaptcha.com/captcha/v1/b1129b9/static/hcaptcha-checkbox.html#id=0cf2r1jb9o0g&host=novarecoverycenter.com&sentry=true&reportapi=https%3A%2F%2Faccounts.hcaptcha.com&recaptchacompat=true&custom=false&tplinks=on&sitekey=fa544d83-6542-40db-96cb-624850045369&theme=lightGet Help!

Can I Go to Rehab While on Probation?

Yes. Going to rehab on probation is often highly encouraged by judges and other law enforcement professionals who work in probation and parole departments. In recent years, the legal system has begun to change the handling of drug-related criminal arrests and sentencing. As such, court-ordered drug rehab is now much more common than it used to be. This is great news for addicted individuals who would prefer to be sent to an addiction treatment center rather than jail.

However, if you are on probation and you want to go to rehab, you should maintain ongoing communication with your probation officer and keep the limitations of your probation in mind, as any violation could have serious consequences such as immediate arrest or jail time.

For example, if you violate the terms of your probation and use drugs or bring them with you to the rehab center, the staff will be required to report this to your probation officer and you will immediately be sent to jail.

Before you commit to rehab while on probation, you should speak with your probation officer first to get permission. Most often, the probation officer and a judge will need to sign a few documents that you will need to take with you to the addiction treatment center. This is especially true if the facility is located outside of the state where you have been sentenced to probation.

What to Expect From a Rehab Program While on Probation or Parole

If you’re on parole and you’re suffering from addiction, communicating honestly with your parole officer about going to rehab may be the best choice. Going to rehab after prison may not be your idea of “freedom,” but it will provide you with the tools you need to prevent relapse and avoid going back to jail for violating the conditions of your parole.

Many people who enroll in rehab while they are on parole, but it’s completely understandable if you don’t know where or how to start looking for help. Once you communicate with your parole officer about your substance abuse problems, he or she may be able to refer you to a drug therapist or rehab program.

Depending on your circumstances and your treatment needs, there are several different types of rehab options that may cater to your individual situation, including:

Regardless of what type of drug rehab program you participate in or which rehab center you choose, you will still need to abide by the conditions of your parole while you are enrolled in rehab. This means you’ll need to report to your parole officer regularly, not break the law, and agree to law enforcement searches of your vehicle, home, and personal possessions, among other common conditions of parole.5

While you are in treatment, your counselors and/or therapists may also communicate with your parole officer to provide updates on your treatment progress. The rehab center may also send the results of all your drug tests to your parole officer as evidence of your ongoing sobriety.

Although there will likely be some behind-the-scenes work that makes it possible for you to attend detox, rehab, or sober living while on parole, this shouldn’t affect your treatment experience negatively.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) on Parole or Probation

IOP (intensive outpatient program) is a type of outpatient drug rehab program that provides structured group treatment sessions and evidence-based therapies to help individuals maintain their sobriety and adjust to sober life outside of an inpatient setting. IOP offers a high level of support and structure to decrease the likelihood of relapse, boost self-confidence in sobriety, and address physical or psychological issues in recovery.

At Nova Recovery Center, IOP is a robust treatment program that consists of three group sessions per week for a total of eight weeks. Treatment sessions primarily focus is on life skills, relapse prevention, and peer support, with group discussions covering a variety of topics, including:

  • Social skills
  • Restructuring thoughts
  • Family dynamics
  • The science of addiction
  • Problem-solving

Intensive outpatient programs are an excellent treatment option for people on parole, as they provide comprehensive treatment with the flexibility to continue working, going to school, or maintaining other personal responsibilities and commitments.

Going to Rehab After Prison: The Start of a New Beginning

Going to rehab after prison or while you’re on parole is an excellent opportunity to start fresh and change your life. In rehab, you’ll gain the tools and life skills necessary to establish and maintain a healthy, sober lifestyle in recovery and hopefully, never see the inside of a jail cell again.

Home Base

“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)