Uncategorized

Not My Child

Overdose Awareness Day

For all those who see all the purple banners today representing overdose awareness day and you scroll on by thinking:

“I’m glad that doesn’t affect me, I’m glad I taught my kids better” or “Someone should have got them help”.

I applaud you. I do.

I am sooo glad that you have never had to watch your beautiful child turn into someone you didn’t know,
I’m sooo glad you’ve never had to get a call from the inmate phone system asking if you’ll accept the charges as you swallow the lump in your throat.

I’m soooo glad you’ve never had the experience of watching your 28-year-old, Once 220 lb- now 160 lb son, thrash around in the back seat, sweating, then freezing, begging his own mother to please take him to get drugs to stop this sickness, as you’re trying to take him to detox.

I’m sooo glad you’ve never had to see a dad in a restaurant with his kids & have your heart ache so deeply that your son isn’t with his kids.

I’m so glad you don’t have to sit down at a delicious meal & feel a twinge of guilt knowing your child hasn’t eaten for days & wondering where he is at.

I’m so glad you’ve never had to see your precious grandkids celebrate a birthday & not knowing the words to tell them that their dad has a chronic, progressive, fatal illness that teaches him lies & makes him do crazy things but he’s NOT crazy & this IS NOT happening because they are unworthy of love or did something wrong.

I’m glad that you would never tell a dying lung cancer patient that they shouldn’t have started smoking. I’m glad you would never tell a diabetic patient that they only get ONE chance to get their blood sugars under control, and then they’re on their own.

Or they should just get over this pesky illness that’s inconveniencing everyone.

I truly am.

Because I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on anyone. I would never want anyone else to lay awake at night, unable to stop the tears, wondering what they could have done differently.

I wouldn’t want anyone else to wonder if today is the day that THEY get the call.

I’m very glad that you taught your kids to make better choices, & that you’ve never broken the speed limit or took a drink or had something so traumatic in your life that you just needed to get through the pain for a minute- And if you did, luckily you were able to stop or walk away without any devastating effects.

Great genes, or coping skills! I wonder if you could help teach those to others? Obedience to life and all the rules, like you have done your whole life, must feel great. I’m sure you love your wonderful life.

What say you? Oh, your life isn’t perfect? I must have missed that part when you were shaking your head in disgust, or when you were rapidly typing with your two thumbs on the Narcan post that your tax dollars shouldn’t have to pay for others’ dumb choices.

In that case, we should start looking at ALL the programs funded by taxpayer money AND also the local hospital programs for heart disease and diabetes, HIV, many of which are the result of personal choices and they DO affect others in their own way.

I’m sure you’re normally a compassionate person. I used to be you. I was compassionate AND caring! I donated to the local children hospital fund. I ran in the race-for-cancer cure fun run. I donated coats for the homeless drive every winter when my kids were little. I left cans on my front door for the boy scout food drive.

But when driving by the guy on the corner, avoiding eye contact with him; I just KNEW that he was only supporting his habit and I had all I could do to not say out loud, “Just GET A JOB!

I understand, I do.

Never, ever, did it cross my mind that I would be walking into a police station to pick up leftover evidence that they had from a drug bust. Never, ever did I think I would be watching a nurse drain a cyst off my sons arm and watching him scream in pain. Never, ever did I worry every single day that my sons life would end, except maybe when he was a baby and had a high fever and was vomiting all night.

See, I’m not really that much different than you. The difference is, I’ve had the humbleness bug forced upon me for a few years now. I don’t hold it against you that you have missed that bug.

We need to create practical affordable solutions for all- while eliminating the waste & fraud in treatment.

Shame and embarrassment are keeping people from seeking treatment.

Even if that means opening our mind up to alternative treatments such as Harm reduction.

The death rate is frightening and it IS AN EPIdemic as it affects the core of the family structure, jobs, crime, the jail system, and little kids who grow up with the stigma of a parent in jail or who has died.

Addiction affects every aspect of society whether directly or indirectly. If you don’t have anything to offer to help stop this nightmare, then please please offer your compassion and time. Even if you don’t understand how it gets to this point, you can still give
HOPE to a suffering addict or a kind word to the family of a person with a substance use disorder.

Or what about not arguing about insulin needing to be free. Maintenance meds are not usually free to anyone, but AED paddles and Narcan to revive-not treat, are free to EMTS.

Other people in pain are NOT the enemy.

See, I don't want one more parent to have to bury a child due to drugs or alcohol, but the only way that's going to happen is if we ALL take on a little part of this ongoing and progressive epidemic to get rid of judgements and stigmas so we can forge practical, affordable solutions for all. 
This IS everyone's problem...

It’s ok to NOT understand the complexities of this disease and to not have a solution!

You can still give that person holding a sign on the corner, a $5 McDonald’s card to let him know that yes, someone does give a damn today- no matter what their motives.

Without hope, everyone suffers.
🤗🍀🙏💔💕💜☂️
Home Base

NOT ᗰY ᑕᕼIᒪᗪ

For all those who see the purple banners during overdose awareness month or see the videos of people with substance abuse disorders passed out and you scroll on by thinking, “I’m sure glad that doesn’t affect me, I’m glad I taught my kids better” or “someone should have gotten them some help”.

I applaud you.

I truly do.

I am so glad that you have never had to watch your beautiful child turn into someone you didn’t know.

I’m so glad you’ve never had a call from the inmate phone system asking if you’ll accept the charges.

I’m soooo glad you’ve never had the experience of watching your 28-year-old, 240 lb son thrash around in the back seat sweating, then freezing, begging his own mother to please take him to get drugs to stop this sickness, as you’re trying to take him to rehab.

I’m sooo glad you’ve never had to see a dad in a restaurant with his kids & have your heart ache so deeply that your son isn’t with his kids, that you go out to your car and burst into tears.

I’m so glad you don’t have to sit down at a delicious meal & feel a twinge of guilt knowing your child hasn’t eaten for days & wondering where he even is.

I’m so glad you’ve never had to see your precious grandkids celebrate a birthday & not knowing the words to tell them that their dad has a progressive illness that teaches him lies that he doesn’t have to be a dad & that’s it’s NOT because they are not worthy of love.

The innocent victims of substance abuse disorder

I’m glad that you would never tell a dying lung cancer patient that they shouldn’t have started smoking, and they should just get over this pesky illness that’s inconvenienced everyone and just get a job!

I truly am.
Because I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on anyone.

I would never want anyone to lay awake at night, unable to stop the tears, wondering what they could have done differently.

I’m very glad you haven’t ever got THE CALL.

I’m very glad that you taught your kids to make better choices, & that you’ve never broken the speed limit or took a drink, or had something so traumatic in your life that you just needed to get through the pain for a minute… And if you did, luckily you were able to stop or walk away with any devastating effects.

Great genes, or coping skills!

What about helping teach those to others?

Obedience to all the laws and principles is great and admirable and yes it does make for a safer and all- be- it more productive life.(I mean who doesn’t want to be perfect) but not if it makes us look down on others who-for whatever reason didn’t go down that ←→ path.

This problem IS everyone’s problem.

Addiction affects every aspect of society, whether directly or indirectly. From the homeless to the prisons to the overwhelmed court system with possession charges taking up so much time. Stringing people through the system costs taxpayers almost $100 k per inmate.

I don't want one more parent to have to bury a child due to drugs or alcohol, but the only way that's going to happen is if we ALL take on this epidemic as our problem, & truly make an effort get rid of judgements and stigmas which bring MORE SHAME to all involved. 

Shame and embarrassment are keeping people from seeking treatment.

We need to create practical affordable solutions for all- while eliminating the waste & fraud in treatment.

Even if that means opening our mind up to alternative treatments such as Harm reduction.

The death rate is frightening and it IS AN EPIdemic as it affects the core of the family structure, jobs, crime, the jail system, and little kids who grow up with the stigma of a parent in jail or who has died.

If you don’t have any idea how to help, how about start with the words we use, such as junkie, tweaker & worthless. These are shaming and hurtful to the families & children of addicts. And don’t forgot, under that hardened core of a dysfunctional chaotic addict, is a person in pain with zero healthy coping skills. The least we can do is not to add to it.

Or what about not arguing about insulin needing to be free. Maintenance meds are not usually free to anyone, but AED paddles and Narcan to revive-not treat, are free to EMTS.

Other people in pain aren’t the enemy.

It’s going to take all hands on deck to help stop this nightmare, just like the virus grabbed everyone attention. This epidemic existed long before that and will continue after. Most of the typical solutions are not working anymore, and needs to be revamped with new attitudes and ideas. These ideas must start with compassion not disgust. Not sarcastic answers and opinions on why they started.

Please offer your compassion and time. Even if you don’t understand how it progresses to such a dysfunction of incarceration or homelessness, you can still give HOPE to a suffering addict or a kind word to the family of a person with a substance use disorder.

You can give that struggling person on the corner, a $5 McDonald’s card to let him know that -yes someone does give a damn- today…

Without HOPE, everyone suffers.

Home Base

Harm Reduction Conversations to Have With a Loved One with SUD

Harm Reduction: What is it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Beginnings

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

On You:

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

On Reality:

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

On Compassion and Acceptance:

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

tumblr_inline_nt7xvyBc7Q1tp5lq4_1280.jpg

On Obvious Things that are Not So Obvious:

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

On Assumptions:

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

On Risk:

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

On Things That Aren’t Making Sense:

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

On Roads and Journeys:

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

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

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

Taking on a Challenge … :

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

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

… And Not Underestimating People:

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

When One Size Fits All No Longer Fits:

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

On Whenever You Feel an Urge:

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

On Being Kind to Yourself (Because Science):

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

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

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

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

On Small Positive Changes:

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

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

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

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

On What — Who — Matters:

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

Recovery Research Institute has more great advice.

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

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

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

Home Base

Plenty of Rehabs?

You’re driving down the street and see the sign: Cross Woods Recovery. Another street- Riverside Recovery Center. Beyond the city center is Pinesbrook Rehab. You think- “ahhh that’s nice, so many places for people to get help”. And it IS nice to have different options for different circumstances, & different insurances.

But since my son became incarcerated 32 days ago; I’ve had to take a deeper look into all of these- per judge’s orders.

The funny thing is, I HAD already done my homework, or so I thought. For over a year, I had researched instate & out of state rehabs. I have pages of emails of random rehab centers informing me of their admission policy. I even filled out a passport replacement application for my son to go to the West Indies to Eric Claptons rehab, because I was praying for a miracle to get the $14 k monthly fee. I figured out of the country-away from triggers, in a posh, famous rehab would surely fix him.

But now, when time was paramount, I ran into detours that I didn’t anticipate. Turns out: out of over 28 rehabs that I called or emailed; almost none would fit the criteria we needed this time.

This is a brief summary of my experience, after weeks of phone calls, emails, plus trying to get clarification from the courts on what exactly they would accept.

  • Haven- had prearranged this to be ready when the time came- suddenly they changed Medicaid insurances.
  • Turning Point- my 3rd fav.- had prearranged this as a back up- suddenly they changed Medicaid insurances
  • Steps- they take our insurance but it’s a $2500 room & board.
  • Ardu- same as above
  • Journey- $2000. This is my second favorite.
  • Diamond Tree- recommended by an interventionist I had looked into a while back – turns out the room & board fee is $6k! I would have had to pay his $ 5-6 k fee PLUS this one after the fact
  • Valley Camp – seemed perfect – outdoorsy-but they won’t take Addicted people from jail. If they’re out even for a day, they’ll take them. Judge says he won’t let him out until ACCEPTED by program. The program won’t ACCEPT him until he’s out🤯 Then I find out just by a casual comment that it is a 12 step boot camps which my son doesn’t resonate with anyway.
  • First Step- long term, which is great “normally” but my son is massively behind in child support since he never changed the amount asked which was when he was successful so he needs to work.
  • 7 Th Street- same as above.
  • Odyssey- same as above
  • Epic- co-pay only $4/ day! & he could smoke! But it’s 4-6 months minimum
  • Victory Homes- 1-2 yr Bible study. Would be wonderful; but when my son was in his first, rehab he called me the first night & said they had to encircle arms & sing Kumbayah. I told him that song is good for him, he’d be fine.
  • Phoenix-my 4th fav but we would have to switch insurances, so delayed coverage of when he could start.
  • Mountain Peak Recovery- My new #1 favorite! It’s probably a good thing I’m not rich because I would have handed these guys over 20 k to take my son. This is EXACTLY the environment my rehab-resistant son would thrive in. The outdoors, not forcing 12 steps or any linear recovery. Unfortunately they only take commercial Molina. This program is exactly what my son says recovery should be. They wasn’t interested after finding out we only had state insurance……I mean I get it..its a business. It just sucks…

I could go on and on. The point is, the system is so convoluted that it’s nearly impossible to find the right fit. Many told me I should switch insurances and hold out for the new one to kick in. I still may consider that. For now, I’m trying my best to help my son fulfill his court obligations while he has no resources to do that with, and with his still saturated brain that tells him he doesn’t have a problem- believe it or not!

Yes, the resistance factor of trying to deal with a stubborn, abstinent brain that “knows” what he will be successful at. Even with the court breathing down his back ( not to mention he is LOCKED UP!); he still thinks he can buy time. His disease has worked its way into his brain pathways that he still believes it’s lies.

Unfortunately, the way the legal system is set up for treating addiction, they will have no choice but to lock him up until he “caves”.

I know it’s easy to say, “he’s just not ready”/and that seems to be the case- for today. This is all the more reason for me to not bust my @$$ for certain ones that he might just bolt.

That’s what differentiates Addiction from other diseases. With most diseases, people will do anything to get treated. What we have to remember is it’s a brain disease.

With another brain disease, Alzheimers- you can’t reason with them either. They’re going to leave the stove on or get lost in their neighborhood, no matter how many times you tell them it’s for their own good and safety. The argument of no one gets Alzheimers per their own actions doesn’t matter at the point of danger & suffering. Do we tell people to deal with it if they can’t adequately function in life? It makes no sense to me to leave sick & afflicted people to fend for themselves & try to maneuver through risk versus benefits rational thought when That is the exact part of the brain affected.

But, we do have a punishment system that basically says, you do the crime – {the crime in my son’s case is only possession – for feeding the cravings of a disease he couldn’t control}.- you do the time.

With addiction, the window of opportunity to get them help is few & far between.

This is why I have come to embrace harm reduction and maintaining connection.

Please pray for another “window” for my son to receive treatment.


Harm Reduction tips & Myths of Addiction

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

Misconceptions about how people change.

Believing that people must suffer to change/”bootstrap mentality”;

thinking change can only look one way and is linear;

thinking there is only one way to help;

expecting a full 180 overnight; etc.

Myths about addiction and substance use disorder.

Addiction is a moral failing;

People with SUDs don’t care about anyone or anything (including themselves);

Drugs create addiction so ‘anyone’ can get addicted;

Any help is ‘enabling’ etc.

My son just wants to start over. He wants to work and start repaying. He wants to take his kids camping. As I read these comments to Wendy’s hiring a guy jusy 10 days out of prison, I felt a ray of HOPE. Please pray for my son to get out of jail & save himself!

Home Base

Alcohol & Harm Reduction

Alcohol has caused extreme heartache and millions of death since prohibition was lifted in 1932. Yet it’s still glamorized and accepted as stress relief, coping skill, even displayed in fancy bottles out in the open in almost every movie. Fancy houses, offices are not complete without the conversation at the bar. Can you imagine if Marijuana or heroin were displayed that way? I’m not advocating that we do this- I’m simply stating the hypocrisy of how we treat different addicts.

I’ve explored this a few times in my blog, but don’t get me wrong. Other people in pain or who have ANY addiction are not the enemy, neither is the reversing of prohibition. I am an advocate for decriminalization of some drug offenses because I see it as a major setback in the progression of addiction recovery.

All I’m saying is how society and media and funny memes can guide our opinions just the the Netflix show “The Social Dilemma” clearly proved.

We all have stress relievers, but I think we forget that that’s how an addict STARTED, the same as us. They just couldn’t stop at one or two.

The following info is from Shatterproof which has great resources and info on addiction:

Substance Types and Effects: Alcohol

Though alcohol is legal and normalized in our daily lives, it’s important to remember that it’s a drug like any other. It impacts the body in specific ways, can harm your health, and people can develop an addiction to it.

How does alcohol affect the body?

Ethyl alcohol, which is created during the fermentation process, is what causes the intoxicating effects of beverages like beer, wine, and liquor.

Alcohol, like other depressants, slows down the central nervous system. This can lead to feelings of relaxation, confidence, and lowered inhibitions. It can also cause physical reactions like loss of coordination, memory, and the ability to make good decisions.

Excessive drinking is harmful.

The CDC defines excessive drinking as either binge drinking (4-5+ drinks during a single occasion) or heavy drinking (8-15+ drinks per week), and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21. However, excessive drinking alone does not mean that a person has an alcohol use disorder.

How can risks be reduced when drinking alcohol?

  • Never use opioids or benzodiazepines while drinking alcohol—this mixing can increase the risk of fatal overdose
  • Practice moderation, either by choosing drinks with lower levels of alcohol by volume (ABV) or by reducing the number of total drinks you consume
  • Take breaks from alcohol, like Dry January, and use them as an opportunity to evaluate alcohol’s role in your life
  • Stay out of the driver’s seat when you’ve been drinking

What are the signs of an alcohol use disorder?

When someone is misusing alcohol, they might feel like they need to drink, rather than want to drink.

A person with an alcohol use disorder may find themselves drinking far more than their peers in social situations, or drinking heavily alone. Many people who’ve recovered say that they used to frequently blackout from alcohol use, finding themselves unable to remember what they said or did during the time that they were drunk. The situations can be wide-ranging, but the bottom line is this: Once alcohol is interfering with someone’s daily life, it’s time to seek treatment.

How can an alcohol use disorder be treated?

There are effective treatments for alcohol use disorder—and treatment is not limited to luxury rehabs or 28-day residential programs. In fact, effective treatment for alcohol use disorder can start in a primary care doctor’s office, where needs can be assessed and referrals can be made.

It’s important to remember that alcohol withdrawal is a serious medical condition that can be fatal. Patients with severe alcohol use disorders should always talk to a doctor before attempting to quit cold turkey.

Treatments should always be individualized and based on each patient’s needs and goals. Effective treatments include behavioral therapy, support groups, and medications like naltrexone and disulfiram.

So then why isn’t there more support for harm reduction from recovery advocates?

I wasn’t always on favor of it until “suddenly” my son “became” a heroin user. Hetoin is horrible to break free from and now I know that a user isn’t just going to quit when out of clean needles. Harm reduction buys precious time – until they can and will get help.

A great video on Harm reduction

How to suggest harm reduction to loved ones

Home Base

Why Don’t They Just Quit?

Aww yes, the million dollar question.

Many many studies and opinions around this question of course.

One of the most long standing resources with the same name is from Joe Herzanek of The changing lives foundation.

Here’s some other Interesting facts that help us to understand why they don’t want to quit.

I didn’t write this but I actually have my son on audio saying this exact same premise.

It’s one of many audio recordings I have of him, that I put in my upcoming book 1000 Last Goodbyes.

“If you can think of the happiest days of your life, i.e. wedding day, birth of your firstborn, landing your dream job, etc. your dopamine level rises to about 200 units.
Methamphetamine’s powerful effects come from its impact on the brain’s reward, or pleasure, center. Meth does not directly release dopamine. It attaches itself to dopamine receptor sites and fools neurons into releasing large quantities of dopamine. This accounts for the intense rush a user experiences from meth.

“In addition, meth prevents dopamine from being recycled. Instead, dopamine is active in the body for much longer, explaining the extra long duration of the meth high. The drug does this by blocking (inhibiting) the dopamine transporter involved in its reabsorption (reuptake) into the original neuron that sent it. Transporters are places on neurons that reabsorb the dopamine after it has completed its job. As a result, more dopamine becomes available to the brain. This extra dopamine, in turn, activates an even greater number of dopamine receptors. This increased release of dopamine is primarily responsible for the intensity and duration of meth-amphetamine’s effects.

“In lab animal experiments conducted by UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Program, sex caused dopamine levels to increase to 200 units and cocaine caused levels to rise to 350 units. With meth-amphetamine, dopamine levels jumped to about 1,250 units. Overall, this study showed that meth causes about 12 times as much feelings of pleasure as sex, food, and other activities, including the use of other illegal stimulant drugs. All illegal drugs of abuse release dopamine, but that methamphetamine “produces the mother of all dopamine releases.” So, when an addict stops using nothing seems right, life seems dull and gray. Meth is a beast but I do know addicts who fought hard and got free of it”.

I wrote about Dopamine in This post last year and The tempest explains it well in this article.

Until they are ready to get help, we also have to be open to new thoughts of saving their life, such a harm reduction.Believe me, I never thought I would be saying those words until the last 6 months when I was met with the immensely stubborn, deeply hijacked version of my brilliant, driven entrepreneur son.

This is a great video on Harm reduction with Dee Dee Stout who wrote a book Coming to Harm Reduction Kicking and Screaming- which I can relate! She also writes a blog for Families for Sensible Drug Policies an organization with tons of resources.

Harm reduction is an entire blog in itself so I’ll save that for later but the important thing is it BUYS TIME until they can decide to seek recovery. My bottom line that helped me see harm reduction as a necessity is when I witnessed my son in full withdrawals thrashing around in the back seat of my car. He was begging me to take him to get drugs just to stop him from this torture. I said ( yelled) to him “Good hell xxxx, is this not enough to get you to stop? How can you be this sick & not want to ever experience it again?”. He told me, “Mom, this is nothing- try lying in a drug house so sick you can’t move or walk and begging people there to help you- either with drugs or take you to the hospital while they laugh saying -no way dude, we’re not getting arrested”……

I realized in that moment that if he had a needle covered in swamp water or ‘anything’ it would NOT HAVE STOPPED him from plunging it into his arm for relief.

An addict is NOT going to suddenly stop using because they don’t have clean needles. Clean needles WILL however prevent further pain & suffering by avoiding the added disease of hepatitis and Aids.

We have to keep pointing them to recovery! A whole new life is right there waiting for them”.

I have a large collection of recovery quotes (over 200) on my Facebook profile under photos- We Do Recover album . I love to share.

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

Invisible Stories

Invisible stories

What a great documentary series on addiction and homelessness this channel has especially This one. He reminds me of my son. I suspect this was on a really good day because he doesn’t look very disheveled, but I also don’t know what he looked like before. Some of the comments say he died, but I didn’t research it.

Also my very assumption that he “should” look disheveled, is part of the stigma. He obviously has figured out how to make the streets work for him. He also doesn’t appear to have any mental Illness. This could be, would be my son if it wasn’t for his ADD component, I believe. His entrepreneur and driven ADD personality has him getting into more & more trouble with his use. He would like to just be this guy and enjoy his DOC like a smoker enjoys a ciggerette. But hard drugs don’t let you stay there. I believe this guy is an exception.

It’s important for these videos to show the human-ness of the invisible people-not just those who are homeless.

There is not a one answer solution to homelessness or addiction. Harm reduction IS one way to avoid help reduce long acting affects such as HIV and Hepatitis AND help get people connected to proffessionals, at least for a few minutes.

Isolation kills.

Another Californian I have huge respect for is Jen Elizabeth Here’s her instagram she’s a former addict and an author of This book which I just ordered. I’ll let you know what I think. ✔️🧾.

Addiction is one of those you-have-zero- clue until you’ve been there diseases.

I refuse to argue whether it’s a disease anymore, because just like in politics, you can’t change anyone’s mind. To me, too much energy is wasted on this argument, because are you really that much of a cold hearted person to use the “choice” argument to say these people don’t DESERVE help? If that’s the case then where’s does this argument stop? Would an AIDS patients fit with this theory? Who is the gatekeeper to decide who gets saved? Is it cops with the narcan? As a nurse, I know I can’t make that choice whether to treat patient or not, just because he made a bad decision, so I don’t think anyone else should play God either.

I’m devulging a whole chapter in my My Book coming out next year so I’ll stop. 🖐️🚫🛑

Random thoughts on this emotional Tuesday. Hope you enjoy the videos above.