Surviving The Holidays When Addiction Is In The Family

The Holidays are tough for everyone. When you add addiction to the everyday stress it can be overwhelming. The number one tip that I have is about expectations.  I don’t know about you but when the Holidays come I have this picture in my mind of how everything will turn out.  Before I realize it I have a picture in my mind that would be tough for a major motion picture to produce.

I just know the gift I bought my husband is going to make his year!  The gravy recipe I found is sure to get my mother in law to say ” Omg this is the best gravy!”  The Holiday cheer will definitely make my two aunts that hate each other at least hold their tongues.

When the big day arrives it never fails that someone else gives my husband that gift I was so excited about and my gravy was a big hit but my mother in law decides to start her first diet and gravy is not ok- but chocolate pie her sister brings will be ok.   The two aunts don’t make it into the house because my aunt Sara attacked her sister in the driveway and they both wound up in jail.

Now I am a mess because the reality of my Holiday doesn’t fit my expectations.  Sounds obvious but it’s a big issue this time of year.

When addiction in our lives, whether it’s us or our loved ones we just need to thank God we are here and able to enjoy the day.  We need to laugh at the crazy we call family and realize that these people are what’s important not some fantasy.


This year let’s just have realistic expectations that things are going to be messy.  That is the way life is.  If we get too caught up in the fantasy of the Holidays we put ourselves at risk of undue stress and our loved ones as well.  If you are the addict you don’t need that.  If your loved one is, then they definitely don’t need to feel pressure to be picture-perfect when they might be struggling to make it through the day.

So let’s operate from love this year.  If you have someone in your family that is using think about inviting them to Holiday events anyway.  Be prepared for them to say no or be late but that is ok.  The main thing is that they know they are loved.  Sometimes that is the best gift you can give.

Stories Of Country Childhood

When I think about the things I enjoyed doing and was allowed to do as a child, it makes me sad for my kids.

I was in second grade and my dad rented a house in Corydon, Indiana.  It was a very old house. No hot water, wood- burning stove was our only heat and we loved it. I have a younger brother who is two years younger than me.  That would mean he was in kindergarten.

The first Christmas we were there, while opening presents my dad came rushing into the house and told us to go get our dog because it was fighting something in the yard. This was common, so we ran out to see what was going on.  Tied to a tree there were two ponies.  We were so excited.  The way I remember it we jumped right on them and began three years of adventure.

Our mother and father were separated.  She was in Texas and my dad had a live-in girlfriend.  She was only 19 or so.  My dad worked all week and some weekends, which left his girlfriend to watch us.  In truth, we were on our own other than the food she gave us and when we forced her to be a referee.

We would wake up early in the morning and half asleep we would grab our ponies and take off.  We set out to discover everything around us.  We traveled down the road in front of our house to see what was at the other end first.


This the road we rode down.

We had no idea the wonders that lay at the end of it.

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This was just one of the cool things we saw.

A little farther was an old bridge.

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We actually took our ponies across this bridge.  Remember I was only in second grade and my brother was in kindergarten.  Below this bridge we liked to use inner tubes to ride the rapids.  This is Indian Creek, which wrapped around White Cloud.

One day we went down to the creek where it ran in front of our house and we caught Bobby Knight, the famously angry coach of Indiana University Basketball. We wouldn’t leave him alone because it was like running into a huge celebrity.  I guess he was pretty huge.

This was a huge deal.

Here is a better picture of him.


So after we annoyed him forever he gave us two mud dogs that he caught that day.  With fishing line tied around their necks, he told us to take them to our dad.  We hadn’t seen one before.  If you haven’t check it out.


A mud dog is a catfish with legs and a long tail.

At home, we ran into the house and presented these two fish to our father.  We were so excited.  Our dad shared his love of college basketball with us, so we just knew he was going to think it was pretty cool that Bobby Knight had given us something to give him.  He thought it was really cool that we ran into the famed coach but the mud dogs were not provoking excitement at all.  We thought we discovered a whole new species. We were adventurers, weren’t we?

Our dad told us to take them back to the coach, but we were too scared.  He had his brand new pickup truck parked across from our house where the path to the creek was.  To our horror, he took the two creatures and put them in the back of his truck.  I bet Mr. Knight wasn’t too excited about that.  It sure did make for a great family story, though.

There were countless nights that we would go down to the creek to fish all night long.  It was nothing to us.  We built a fire to stay warm and keep the bugs away.  In the morning ,we would ride our ponies back to the house and go to sleep.

Our ponies were always getting loose.  We had barns and no matter what we did to keep them secure they always found a way out.  When that happen we had to find them.  Somehow we always did.

These are just a few of the amazing times we had together.  I cannot imagine letting my first grader who in the fall will be in second grade do any of these things.  We don’t live in the country anymore, maybe it would be different if we did.

Thanks Dad for allowing us to do these things.  It was awesome.


Is it healthy to treat disease with prayer?

What would you say if I told you that I had Cancer, and was treating it solely with prayer? It would be an interesting choice, for sure, right?

According to the CDC, I have a disease, addiction.  Do you know what the cure for this disease is in most American’s opinion?

12 Steps of AA/NA



Visualize for a moment that a dear friend or family member comes to you concerning a drug addiction.  They want help and need some advice.  What is the first program that pops into your mind?  I bet you thought of NA or AA.  12 step programs have dominated the addiction treatment world for many years.  It would be difficult to find an inpatient treatment facility or outpatient program that doesn’t follow those wildly popular 12 steps.

So what does AA treat addiction with?

FAITH – that is the main component of AA/NA.  If you read the steps you can see  that if you take the “higher power” out of the equation you aren’t left with much.  Several times I have asked around at meetings, what if someone doesn’t believe in God or hasn’t found him?  How do they let go and let God?  Use a doorknob if you have to, fake it till you make it is a favorite of mine.

40 million Americans ages 12 and older—or more than 1 in 7 people—abuse or are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs. This is more than the number of Americans with heart conditions (27 million), diabetes (26 million) or cancer (19 million).

With the number of people  addicted to substances so high, shouldn’t we be using some scientific means to fight this disease?  So far I have found three scientific ways to treat my type of addiction, which is opiate, for those that don’t know.  Opiates are anything from Heroin to prescription pain meds.  Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol are the three medical solutions to the disease.  Methadone and Suboxone are both just as addictive as heroin.  These medications are used to maintenance my addiction. Basically, keep me from withdrawing while trying to keep me from getting high.  It is a very fine line.  One that few have mastered.

I have used both of these methods and I must say that they work.   I mean think about it, as an addict the one thing I was always chasing was a substance that would keep me well.  If I could get high in the process it was a great day.  The main goal is to stay one step ahead of the horrible flu-like symptoms of withdrawal from the opiates.  The best thing about these two options is the safety net that it casts.  It is invaluable to many.  Believe it or not, but you can’t get high off of heroin if you use these.  You would have to plan carefully  to face the monster of withdrawal first.  (Plan three days of sickness and after that you might be able to feel the heroin.)   Drug addicts typically wouldn’t do that.  We don’t want to get sick that is the reason we take suboxone or methadone in the first place.

Here are a few problems with these two methods.

  1.  They are just as addictive as the heroin or pills were.  You are trading one addiction for another.
  2. It is expensive
  3. Do you use them forever?

However, they are legal; so we aren’t breaking the law anymore.  That’s a plus.  Yes, they are expensive, but not as expensive as a heroin habit.  That is the thing about these two methods, you may never come off of them.  They are extremely addictive and I just don’t know if I will ever be able to live without them.  That means the rest of my life.

Is that acceptable?  I mean, diabetics use insulin forever in many cases.  Diabetes is a disease that many times is brought on because of eating habits and/ or not getting enough exercise.  That makes this disease the closest relative to drug or alcohol addiction.  It starts with a choice and turns into a disease.

Vivitrol is new and who knows what little secrets it hides.  It’s very expensive and personally, I know no one that has used it.  From what I hear it works wonders and is not addictive.  That is also what they told us about Suboxone.  The clinic actually conned me out of an extra seventy dollars a week with this little lie for over a year.  Only to find out the very harsh reality that after all of this “treatment” I was just as addicted or more than before I walked through their doors.

In the end, what is the right answer?  I have tried and tried to put it down and leave it alone.  More years have passed where I was fighting to get clean than trying to get high and here I am.  So do I give it to God, even if he is a door knob?  What if I can’t fake it until I make it?

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Is this healthy? Who is the expert?