THANK YOU CARD

If you had told me the day I snuck in that window that I would own a blog with traffic, would be working with a radio station and three of the coolest guys in the recovery community, I wouldn’t have believed you.

The past year of my life has been one crazy ride. I gave up drugs and picked up a mission. The day I typed addiction into the search bar on Facebook, I was shocked. I was an active regular social Facebook user, and I had no idea that this world, our world, even existed. You would think I would have run into a meme or something, but no, nothing.

 

People don’t realize it, but the addiction/recovery community works hard.  I got to thinking today about how I could measure success with the work I do.  Up until three weeks ago all I did was write in my blogs and spread awareness through posters/memes and news stories on social media. So how do you measure success with something so difficult to measure?

IF I HELP ONE PERSON, IT WILL BE WORTH IT.  We have probably all said, thought or at the very least heard this in our community.  So I have good news for you all.  Here goes:

Entering this community  I was in on Suboxone but wasn’t working a program, and my life sucked.  Just like an addict, I didn’t go through the front door of this community, I snuck around back and climbed in the window.  My road to recovery was Suboxone, period point blank ( suboxone saved my life, and this is just my story I believe whatever works- work it) I didn’t need a sponsor, meetings, a higher power or any of that, just Suboxone.  I was adamant about it.  After relapsing too many times to count in the past 20 years, I figured Suboxone was the best route for me.

I went to war with my family and my doctor over staying on Suboxone and being accepted for it.  So if I knew anything at all entering this community it was that I was an addict and I would be on Suboxone for the rest of my life.  I was 43.

If you had told me the day I snuck in that window that I would own a blog with traffic, would be working with a radio station and three of the coolest guys in the recovery community, I wouldn’t have believed you.

The past year of my life has been one crazy ride.  I gave up drugs and picked up a mission. The day I typed addiction into the search bar on Facebook, I was shocked.  I was an active regular social Facebook user, and I had no idea that this world, our world, even existed.  You would think I would have run into a meme or something, but no, nothing.

Within one year this community has turned my life around.  You gave me the strength to give up the Suboxone.  I learned that I am a whole lot tougher than I thought I was.  I found skills that I didn’t know I had and self-worth that I never had.  I have a resume that doesn’t have one single lie on it, and it still looks impressive.  I sold a business and opened three more.  I got two incredible opportunities to continue doing awareness work, but now I can eat too.

Now my friends are writers, artists, lawyers ( that I didn’t have to hire ) paralegals, and so much more.  You’ve taken the time to teach me and to build me up.  In this past year, you have given me life-enriching skills, relationships, experiences and even things to look forward to.

So I wanted to give you guys this Chrismas gift early.  Once I figured out the amazing gift that you guys gave me this year.  I couldn’t wait to give yours to you.

Thank you, for saving ME.

 

Suffering Addict Shows For Christmas

But just for today….
Leave your judgments, questions, and whispers in your car when you walk in and see the chair that has been reserved for me for all these years that has sat empty is occupied today.

 

Hey… Yeah… It’s Me…
Yes, good to see you too..

Here I am in all my glory.
The black sheep of the family.
The let down.
The disgrace.
The addict.

I’m not really sure why I showed up today.. I can feel all your eyes resting upon me with every move I make. I’m not here for your entertainment, I do know that much.
Seeing everyone I haven’t seen since I was a kid is a bit overwhelming to me right now.
Please don’t push me into a corner and surround me with your questions.
And please, don’t offer your advice unless you have walked the crooked mile that I am on.

In your mind it is so simple, just stop doing drugs. Go right on out there and get yourself a job tomorrow and buy that little house on the corner by the end of the year.

It sounds great.. just so puke perfect. When you are talking to me about what I should do with my life, keep in mind that it is easy to sit back and preach to someone when you have never encountered even the smallest of my problems in relation to your perfect little world.

I know that it makes for a good conversation starter.. but I am not living anywhere permanently, and I am not employed. Truth be told, I am wandering through this world relying on dope to keep me numb, so that I do not have to feel any emotion whatsoever.

I don’t have time to explain to you “how it makes me feel when I do drugs” or “when I am going to get myself together”. I’m broken.

What I do need from you right now is to be shown some respect, even though I know you do not respect me at all in my current state of mind.. please.. be a good sport and pretend.

I need to look around and see the faces of my family, enjoying their Christmas time together.. not blank faces and glares from those of you who think you are better than me because of the decisions that I made, and still make.

I’m probably not going to have much of an appetite, considering that my stomach is filled with anxiety and I don’t really eat much these days.

Please don’t insist on loading my plate with all the things you want me to try, I am not going to eat the things I know that I like, much less something that you are forcing me to take.

Let’s all sit down and just be family. Just be here, together.. laughing and cutting up about old memories, and let’s pass around all the new babies.

Don’t pull me to the side with the “Can I talk to you for a minute” scene.. and take me outside to tell me how I need to do this or that. You don’t know what I need. I’m not me.

When it’s time to pass out presents, don’t make excuses of why you would have got me this or that.. but… Listen carefully, I do not want gifts from anyone in this room. That is not why I am here.

The greatest gift that you can give to me right now is a taste of normality.
Look at me and talk to me like I never fell off the wagon.. like I am not a junkie.
Let me remember what it was like to be me. Before my demons drug me into the life I live now.
If only for a moment, let’s pretend that I am me again.
Let’s act like I can look you in your eyes with confidence while we carry on a random conversation about the news, or sports, or the weather.

I need to find me.
I am so lost.

Please don’t bring up my past, or the life that I lived before.
Do not ask me when I am getting my children back from CPS.

Befriending me in order to get me to open up to you about my life and then using my words against me later on will cut me to the core. Let’s avoid that at all costs.

Please do try to include me in things.. Invite me outside to play tag football with the rest of our cousins. I am an addict, not a stranger to our family traditions after Christmas dinner.

And last, but not least.. don’t feel sorry for me.
I am grown.
These are my choices, and my consequences.
And I live with them every single day.

But today.. I want to feel normal again.
If only just for the afternoon.

Even though you don’t understand…
Help me remember what it’s like to be me again.

And if you happen to be present in one of the emotionally frail moments and breakdowns that I am bound to have happen sooner or later, the longer I am here.. Just sit here in the silence with me. Don’t ask what’s wrong. I’m not sure.

Maybe I just miss me a little more today.
And maybe tomorrow I will keep one of those promises that I make to myself every day when I try to get clean and stop using.

But just for today….
Leave your panoply of  judgments, questions, and whispers in your car when you walk in and see the chair that has been reserved for me for all these years that has sat empty is occupied today.

I am here.
That’s all I need for now.
Love,
The Still Suffering Addict

My friend: Danielle R. Gilliam, we will get through this.

RecoveryRadio.FM Review

These guys are all forces in the recovery community but together WOW, you can expect lots of inspiration, differences of opinions and thanks to Bobble every topic will be explained so that everyone will understand completely.

 

December 1st RECOVERYRADIO.FM went live out of Palm Beach, Florida. Three huge names in recovery are hosting the show, RJ ViedJames Sweasy and Bobble. These guys are all forces in the recovery community but together WOW, you can expect lots of inspiration, differences of opinions and thanks to Bobble every topic will be explained so that everyone will understand completely.

The show runs for three hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 pm to 11 pm on

96.1FM for Pompano to West Palm / 97.5FM for West Palm to Jupiter/ 1340AM for all of West Palm County. You can also watch the show live on RECOVERYRADIO.FM OR on Facebook at www.facebook.com/recoveryradio.fm

If you aren’t familiar with these guys, let me tell you a little about them from my perspective.

RJ Vied is a Recovery Advocate who is a talented writer, speaker and all around genuine guy. I guess you could say he is the eye candy of the show…at least that’s what all the ladies are saying but don’t take my word for it, check him out yourself. You can follow RJ Vied on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rjvied. Don’t think that means he is just pretty to look at, this guy has a genuine passion for reaching the addict still suffering and supporting those in recovery. RJ Vied is a triple threat, intelligent, talented and honorable. The eye candy part is just a bonus.

James Sweasy is one of those magnetic guys that when they talk you just know you need to listen. Sweasy is from my hometown Louisville, KY and his no-nonsense approach to recovery has made him one of the most followed Public Persona’s in Recovery, and he is just getting started. Sweasy’s fans are die hard and with Sweasy’s creative video angles and call it like it is approach this guy going to be HUGE…ok he already is huge so how about Enormous. Relatable is Sweasy’s middle name. If you aren’t a Sweasy Fan, you need to hope on over to www.facebook.com/jamessweasy and learn you a thing or two. That’s what us Kentuckiana’s like to say.

Last but not least is Bobble. Bobble is a musician that is rocking the recovery world with his relatable rhythms and hip hop recovery music. I don’t know a bunch about Bobbleother than thank goodness for him being on this show. Sure enough, when I am scratching my head about some odd term, idea or recovery approach Bobble is quick to say, HUH? Please explain that so we all can understand it. You can follow Bobble at www.facebook.com/bobblemuzikRAW

I am going to give www. recoveryradio.fm a ten on a scale of 1-10. If you missed the show last night, you could listen to it on their website www.recoveryradio.fm anytime.

Be sure to check out their next show every Tuesday and Thursday. They encourage people to call in but remember this isn’t a podcast so no swearing or you will be disconnected immediately.

RECOVERYRADIO.FM is a great concept with incredible talent, I look for this show to have a long successful run. Congrats guys, we will be listening, that is for sure.

Christmas & Addiction

With some awareness and understanding, Christmas might be great again.

I love Christmas, it’s truly magical to me, in my mind.  Since being an addict for over 20 years, most of my fantastic Christmas’ have been fantasies in my mind.  The truth of Christmas for me always ends up the same.  I was clean last year and have had 4 or 5 clean Christmas’ during my 20 year run with opiates.  The crazy thing is it doesn’t matter, at least not yet, if I am clean or not.  Christmas always ends up making me feel like a subhuman.

These are some ways that Christmas would be easier for me, and this is using or not.  If your loved one is actively using or even new to recovery, they may not have something nice to wear to the get together you want them to attend.  A week or two before the event if you know they don’t have anything to wear, take a bag of hand me downs over and tell them so and so was cleaning out their closet.  Don’t mention they can wear any of it to Christmas, they will figure it out.

As a kid, we craved the approval of our parents. As we mature, very little changes in our need for approval (often beyond just our parents). So if you are the parent, family member or friend of someone struggling with addiction, do your best to let them know that they are cherished and valued. This underlying message opens the doors of communication and brings them that much more likely to confide in you when they are ready for help or just for an ear while they are on their recovery path.  If I ever look into my mother’s eyes and see something other than disappointment, it will be the happiest day of my life.

For the person abusing substances, as well as for family and friends, gifting can be tough. Before exchanging elaborate holiday wish lists, consider trading in material objects for “healing gifts.” This can relieve tremendous pressure that may be placed on addicts who are often just getting back on their feet financially and can’t afford to purchase presents. So you can do like letter writing to each other instead of gift exchanges.  Something where the addict can express their feelings and give a gift without it costing money.

You will be surprised at what a difference even a minor attitude change can make in behavior. Your loved one is likely under a lot of stress just keeping up with the rest of family or friends and staying in high spirits, so remind them of a phrase that’s said a lot in recovery: “It’s progress, not perfection.” It’s a valuable reminder for them to continue moving forward like they say one day at a time and, though it might not always feel like it, a holiday is just another day like any other in the broad scope of one’s sobriety journey.  If the person is still using and they show up to the holiday events that could be a big step in the right direction but make sure that no one yells out OH LOOK WHO GRACED US WITH THEIR PRESENCE, stuff that seems very simple but is huge to an addict.  Just writing this has got me in tears.

Don’t Hover:  Have the strength to let your loved one feel safe, even if it means giving up some control.  If they need to skip out on the customary touch-football game to go to a meeting or meet up with recovery friends, you should give them room to do that and permit their absence at this event. No accusations, no judgments. Period.

With some awareness and understanding, Christmas might be great again.

Father speaks out after losing his son to heroin

BOISE, Idaho – A Boise family was hoping their 19-year-old son was about to turn his life around. Charles Peyton Chambers was a heroin addict but wanted help. But before he crossed that bridge to recovery, he passed away from a heroin overdose in October. Days before he was supposed to leave for a Salt Lake City rehab center, police found Peyton had died from a heroin overdose. His death left a gaping hole in his family and friends.

Growing up Peyton loved the outdoors.  His dad, Charles Senior, fondly remembers spending time together white-water rafting. Barely a year out of high school, the Boise Brave, shot up and overdosed on heroin. Peyton was dead at 19.

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“You’re not invincible. That drug is so much stronger than you, and it doesn’t matter what color you are, what age you are. It will take you down,” said Charles Chamber, Peyton’s dad.

Peyton’s dad says his son’s appetite for drugs was intense. It started with him snorting highly addictive prescription opioids. When that rush faded, he started shooting up heroin daily. According to Chambers, his son was on a slippery slope, and he says Peyton was dead less than 100-days after he first experimented with opioids.

“There was no downward spiral it was like a giant slide, straight down,” explained Chambers.

Doctors at Saint Alphonsus say the time it takes for a person to become addicted varies. But it can happen in just weeks, and then the only thing that matters is their next fix.

“Their euphoria and their feeling of high and relaxation is wearing off and that’s what they are looking for by using so close to again,” said Dr. Kari Peterson an E.R. physician at Saint Alphonsus

Ada County prosecutors charged 29-year-old Tommy Basco in connection to Peyton’s death. Saying when Peyton overdosed, Basco tried to revive him by giving him an ice bath and meth. He’s now facing charges for failing to report his death.  Doctors say what could have saved Peyton’s life is the drug Naloxone. E.M.T’s and many police officers carry it with them; it’s even available without a prescription. But Charles didn’t know about the life-saving drug and neither do many others.

“It’s also helpful when we see patients in the emergency department we know have opiate addiction issues we can be prescribing naloxone to them just to have.  Just getting the word is the biggest,” said Dr. Peterson.

But Peyton, never made it to the hospital, and Charles is wishing Peyton could hear these words.

“I love you so much I was always proud of you, even when you thought I wasn’t. I was proud of you,” said Chambers.

Basco is expected to be in front of a judge on December 1st.  His bond has been set at $100,000.

Source:

Video Teen Takes Of Dad’s Heart Attack Goes Viral

Teen streams video of  Dad while he is having a heart attack on Facebook Live. The young man makes no apologies.  He says he wants the public to see what it’s like living in a home with a parent who doesn’t listen to doctors, continues to eat poorly, and refuses to exercise.  So when his father had yet another “episode” as he puts it,  Markus Adams decided to pick up his phone to record instead of dialing 911.

“You can hear his friends in the background making comments like ” eat another twinkie or bet you wish you exercised now.”  One of the teens in the house did call 911 after several minutes passed.”  

The first responder on the scene was a police officer who also decided to snap a few shots of the man who by this point had lost consciousness.   Once the EMT’s arrived on the scene, the patient was rushed to the hospital where he made a full recovery.

 

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The hospital released a statement saying: these overweight patients typically have Type 2 Diabetes as well as Heart Disease.  They have noticed that as soon these patients are stabilized they get up and leave the hospital.  An ER Doctor said the most concerning thing to him is that these overweight Diabetics with Heart Disease are stopping at the snack machines before they even make it out of the hospital.

Even after almost dying because of the choices they continue to make regarding nutrition, exercise, medication maintenance these food junkies make those same decisions.  These Junk Food Junkies practically run across the threshold of the hospital, so they can continue smoking after being told time and again that if they continue, they will die.

How do you feel about this story?  Is it right for anyone to record a medical emergency? What do you think about Police Officers taking photos of people that are in danger of dying instead of administering care and comfort at the very least until backup arrives?

We don’t see photos or stories like the one told above online or on our evening news because it’s wrong to exploit people who find themselves in a life or death situation due to a disease.   Unless of course, the person being photographed or videotaped suffers from Substance Use Disorder and is merely dying of an overdose.

When people make excuses for mistreatment of individuals with Substance Use Disorder one of their favorite arguments is the “it’s a choice.”  What about the person with Type 2 Diabetes that refuses to stop smoking, drinking, eating cake pops and who’s idea of exercise is walking to the fridge?

The hurtful words used in this article were only used to give an example of the harsh tones and words used when speaking about not only those who suffer from Substance Use Disorder but also when speaking to those who love someone with Substance Use Disorder.  It just goes to show that words hurt.

No matter what your opinion on Substance Use Disorder, it’s wrong to take photos and videos of people who are in need of medical care.  There is no doubt about that; wrong is wrong.

Note: The beginning of this story is fiction.  I also wish I didn’t need to use the awful terms I used to describe people who struggle with their weight but I felt it was necessary to drive home how individuals who have Substance Use Disorder are minimized and shamed in everyday conversation.  Please know I don’t use these terms and don’t think it is right to be mean to anyone.  

 

Property of Holy Addiction Inc @ www.holyaddiction.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

 

What it Was Like Then, and What It’s Like Now

After my rehab stay I moved back home. My mom was very skeptical of me living in the house because my teenage years were a disaster. I assured her that no matter what, I will not use, steal or lie to her. She slowly began to trust me again, which I never thought possible.

Today’s guest blogger, Benny Emerling, got sober at 19. It’s valuable for parents and professionals to have this perspective in mind when working with young people. MWM

As a young kid, I always felt like everyone around me was given a golden textbook on life. Mine must have gotten lost in the mail. I was different, but not an outcast, in fact. quite the opposite. I had many friends, a loving family and a decently smart head on my shoulders. However, my idea of fun was different from most of my peers. Misbehaving, stealing and bullying were some of my favorite activities. I was always a happy jokester and had a smile on my face the majority of the time.

Having three older sisters and a younger brother, it was easy to slip through the cracks and get away with murder. In middle school, my behavior got worse and worse. I grew up in a primarily Jewish area, so when I was in seventh grade every weekend we had a bar or bat mitzvah party to go to. Virtually, every weekend there was a different elaborate party to go to. After a couple, I noticed the adults at the parties drinking. Curiosity grew inside me, it looked awesome. It was not long before I tried drinking.

I was 13, one of my friends at the time made me a delicious alcoholic beverage. By delicious, I mean repulsive, it was a combination of anything he could grab off the adult tables. This included wine, beer, a shot and a mixed drink. It was the most disgusting beverage I had ever had but at the same time the best. I felt the buzz of alcohol for the first time in my life and I was instantly ready for more.

Drinking at these parties became the norm for me and a couple of friends. Weirdly enough, none of us ever got caught. Then the summer hit, growing up every year I went to sleep away camp in Northern Michigan. And this year at summer camp was monumental, one of my cabin mates brought weed to camp with him and I smoke it for the first time. Drinking was a blast, but weed was a different type of fun. I finally found the missing piece to my life, and it was drugs. After my first experience getting high, I never wanted to be sober.

I became a huge pothead by ninth grade. I had drug hookups because my sister was older, and I was friends with kids who sold pot, among other drugs. Smoking weed became an everyday habit before school, at lunch, sometimes between classes, and always after school. Weed took over my life. I quit all after school activities I once did because it got in the way of me smoking weed.

Smoking weed is an expensive habit, so how could I afford it? I stole, manipulated, worked little jobs and sold drugs.

My first job was at an elite men’s fashion store that sold thousand dollar suits and top of the line shoes. I couldn’t stop smoke weed and I dabbled a little with taking prescription pills. I didn’t want to get fired, especially because of speculation about me being high at work was on the rise. I came up with what I thought was a brilliant lie: I told my boss who knew my stepmom that I was allergic to wool and that was why my eyes were constantly bloodshot.

I didn’t last long at this job, to say the least. I picked up a caddying job that summer, but no money compared to selling pills. So after a couple of months I made my money exclusively selling prescription pills and little amounts of weed. My supplier? My family. Members of family were prescribed prescription pills for medical reasons. I looked at these pills as dollar signs. My family gained suspicion. They knew I didn’t have a job, but they also knew I had a lot of money. Oh yeah, and all of the pills in the house were missing.

It didn’t take long for my parents to catch me red-handed. I was forced to take my first drug test, which I failed miserably.

It was then my parents started looking up local rehabilitation centers. When I was 16, I was put into my first outpatient treatment center. I was told I had to stay sober and there would be drug tests once a week. I tried to stay clean for about a month and decided it wasn’t for me.

My high school career could be summed up pretty easily, I got high and partied, then ended up in outpatient treatment. Maintained decent grades and did what I wanted, when I wanted—I thought it was the greatest time of my life. However, I knew the best years were still to come…college.

I chose to go to the biggest party college I got accepted to. The first couple of weeks were exactly how I wanted them to be. Huge parties every day, drugs whenever I wanted, and unlimited freedom to do whatever I wanted, without any consequences.Or so I thought…

The fun lasted about two months then I hit what most people would consider a bottom. I didn’t sleep, eat, go to class, and barely left my dorm room for five consecutive days. I ended up going insane from all of the Adderall I took, and it wasn’t long before I overdosed and ended up in the psych-ward.

By this time I hadn’t talked to my families in over a month, and everyone assumed I was either dead or in jail. My close friends stopped calling me because I betrayed all of them in one way or another and I was basically alone, miserable and physically and mentally broken.

I remember the exact moment when I realized I needed help and that I needed to get sober.

I was sitting in the psych-ward, I hadn’t slept for two days straight, and then I looked in the mirror. I was 40 pounds underweight, my eyes were sunk into my face and my body was bruised up from trying escape the hospital. At that very moment, I made the decision to get sober.

What’s It Like Now?

This was over six years ago. I was 19 when I admitted myself into treatment. I thought my rehab stay was only going to be three months, but I ended up needing a nine month stay. Rehab was great because I learned how to be a human again. I learned how to maintain relationships, grocery shop and take care of myself. I was taken to AA meetings and I actually learned from them and received hope from them.

I finally started feeling good for the first time in over six years.

After my rehab stay I moved back home. My mom was very skeptical of me living in the house because my teenage years were a disaster. I assured her that no matter what, I will not use, steal or lie to her. She slowly began to trust me again, which I never thought possible. I started paying back the people I owed money to, and I kept up with AA meetings. It didn’t take long before I found a friend group, all young, sober adults.

I realized the more meetings I went to, the more I hung out with my sober friends and the more time I spent helping others, the less I obsessed about myself or getting high. It was an incredible realization, for over five years, every waking moment I thought about my next fix and how I was going to achieve it. But after I came to terms with the fact that I will never be able to use like a normal person, my life was shot into what I call the fourth-dimension.

I got sober when I was 19, I am currently 25 years-old and couldn’t be in a better place.

The disease of addiction took me to the darkest world imaginable, but at the same time blessed me with an amazing one at the same time. Suffering from addiction has made me a better person. I wake up every day knowing that as long as I stay sober, I can accomplish anything.

Guest blog posts are welcome additions to the content on this website. Guest blog posts represent the views, opinions and experiences of the author and do not necessarily represent Our Young Addicts. Together, we provide parents and professionals with a variety of perspectives and information.

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https://ouryoungaddicts.com/2016/11/03/what-it-was-like-then-and-what-its-like-now/

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