Guest post

“It won’t happen to me”

or

Party animal

I live on a steel bunk in a warehouse. Everything I own in this world is in the footlocker beneath me. It ain’t much; a photo album, a stack of letters, a few books. I’ve been in prison 10 years this time. My release date is 2032. A few hazy, drug-soaked months of strip bars, casinos, and fast living cost me most of my adult life.

I run across old friends and associates from that era on the yard sometimes. They look bad — rotten teeth, track marks, gnawed nails on shaky hands. They give me news of other old friends who weren’t as lucky: overdoses, shootings, suicides. Occasionally I’ll recognize the names of women in the arrest report of my hometown newspaper. Those wide-eyed college girls who were just beginning to experiment with coke and ecstasy in 2003 are now haggard streetwalkers, hardened repeat-offender prostitutes.

This is the natural evolution of drug abuse. Cause and effect. I know you’re thinking it won’t happen to you. I thought I was an exception too. Believe me, no one plans on destroying their life and coming to prison. No little kid daydreams about growing up to rob gas stations for dope money, or getting doused with pepper spray and beaten half to death by abusive guards in a confinement cell, or dying alone in a motel room with a needle in his arm… We call getting high “partying” and like any party, there’s always a mess when the party is over. In fact, the bigger the party, the bigger the mess.

The irony is that the kids we label squares and lames and dorks because they refuse to party grow up to be the doctors who resuscitate us when we overdose, the psychologists who attempt to help us put our broken lives back together, the lawyers who represent us in court when we’re arrested, the judges who sentence us to prison, and the men who step into our families and become the fathers and husbands we failed at being.

So if you’re 15 (or 17 or 24) and you’re popping bars, snorting Roxys or dabbling in meth or molly or whatever, this is what middle-aged drug life looks like. Guaranteed. And if you think it won’t happen to you, we can talk more about it when you move into my dorm. The bunk behind mine is open right now. We’ll leave a light on for you. The one from the gun tower.

From a brother of a brother @ malcolmivey.com

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An Addict Fell in a Hole

pexels-photo-1601495_1553889831615AN ADDICT FELL IN A HOLE and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by and the addict called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him to buy himself a ladder. But the addict could not buy a ladder in this hole he was in. A doctor walked by. The addict said, “Help! I can’t get out!” The doctor gave him some drugs and said, “Take this. It will relieve the pain.” The addict said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole. A well-known psychiatrist rode by and heard the addict’s cries for help. He stopped and asked, ” How did you get there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you there? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the addict talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The addict thanked him, but he was still in the hole. A priest came by. The addict called for help. The priest gave him a Bible and said, “I’ll say a prayer for you.” He got down on his knees and prayed for the addict, then he left. The addict was very grateful, he read the Bible, but he was still stuck in the hole. A recovering addict happened to be passing by. The addict cried out, “Hey, help me. I’m stuck in this hole!” Right away the recovering addict jumped down in the hole with him. The addict said, “What are you doing? Now we’re both stuck here!!” But the recovering addict said, “Calm down. It’s okay. I’ve been here before. I know how to get out.” -Author Unknown

The moral of the story is that the best person to help someone struggling with a cunning, baffling and powerful ailment like addiction is someone who’s been there and recovered.

I dropped her off Wednesday evening

…and on Thursday morning she was dead.

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I met X when she was in detox, about a year ago. She was pretty, spunky, and tired of living that life. She had someone bring her guitar in, and played for everyone. She was a delight. A gypsy soul.

Then later, X moved on to a women’s recovery house. She was making progress; got a job, and put together some clean time. Everybody who met X liked her. She was smart, sassy, and sensitive. I had high hopes for her.

The people who keep track of these things say that on average, only one out of 30-some people who get clean will stay that way. The odds are always against us. Addiction is so much more “cunning, baffling, and powerful” than anyone thinks.

And now I’m waiting to find out when the memorial/funeral will be. I feel numb.

Maybe it’s from having lost so many friends over the years, as a result of addiction, that I’m kind of permanently braced for it.

Maybe it’s because I’ve already been wading in the deep waters of grief. Once you’ve been completely soaked, you can’t really get any wetter, can you?

When I got the news about X’s death, I cried. I asked (her, from inside my car, as if she would hear me) “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” and I cried.

Someone said that maybe she died so that she wouldn’t have to endure any more…

Active addiction (which is usually accompanied by mental illness) is a very painful existance. Probably the only thing worse than that lifestyle is having tasted recovery and knowing that it is possible, and then finding yourself back in the misery and chaos of active addiction. Every time a person relapses, getting back into recovery gets more difficult than the time before.

I know that the activities of people with Substance Use Disorder seem crazy to the rest of the world. It took me a while to make sense of the whole “disease” model of addiction, but then I finally figured it out:

Addiction is a disease. It’s a mental illness. Like any other mental illness, the sufferers think their actions are normal, and that the rest of the world is wrong. Mental illness, and addiction,  can show up at any age, with or without any warning.

Regardless of your personal opinion on drug or alcohol abuse, it’s not a hopeless cause.

Do you know someone who needs to get clean or sober? It’s possible. Easy? Hell, no.

A lot of the outcome depends on the person and the family getting help. A lot of family members think that they don’t have any role to play in the recovery of their loved one. That’s actually not true at all.

Think about it. The odds are already stacked against them. Drugs and alcohol usually win, in that struggle. It IS a LIFE OR DEATH FIGHT. Do you want to attend their funeral, knowing that you could have done more?

Or visit them in prison? Or the psychiatric ward? 🤔

The only way the story ends for an alcoholic or addict (besides recovery) is JAILS, INSTITUTIONS OR DEATH.

Soon, I will see X’s Mom during the worst time of her life. Losing a child is hellish.

The next time you see a story about someone with an addiction, or pass an addict on the street, remember that that person is someone’s child. Look at them. In the face. De-humanizing them is the cowardly way. The next one could be yours. Do everyone a favor, and offer to take them to rehab. Detox. A meeting. SOMETHING.

I’m gonna miss you, X. So are a lot of others I know.

 

 

The Elephant in the Room

By  on 1-29-2018 in CBDWellness

I want to address what could be considered to be a conflict of interest, on my part. Being a person in long-term recovery, vs. being an affiliate for a product that is closely related to a substance (that many have abused, and one) that is still illegal in many places.

When people first started taliking about “medicinal marijuana”, saying that I was skeptical would be an understatement. Sure, I knew of the “benefits” of weed many years ago; things like relaxation, creative thinking, relief from anxiety (until the paranoia came into the picture), etc., but none of those were enticing enough to me that I would consider changing my sobriety date.

When Dad was at the end of his battle with cancer, some of his friends from the Rooms offered to go get him some pot to help with the agonizing symptoms. His response was “No, I want to be clean when I meet Jesus.”

That sort of situation, (and epilepsy) was about all that I knew of pot being used for legit medical reasons.

So, in recent years, the conversation about the merits of marijuana has become louder. I’ve been listening, too. As an addict, when I stopped using other addictive substances, weed was also on the BANNED list.

Now, fast forward to 2017ish.

Someone has figured out that humans and other animals have “Cannabinoid” receptors in our bodies (where the CBD was going for all this time is beyong me, but I bet it was in a dark place with a box of Little Debbies), that actually makes positive changes when taken care of.

I’m not talking about firing up a fattie or eating hash brownies or any of the other swell ways that humans ingest THC. What got my attention was when I began hearing about CBD.

I’m not in any way a specialist in scientific stuff, nor have I any particular interest in botanical theory. I mean, I don’t understand nor pretend to care about all of the particulars of why this, and not that, and how this is taken from the other, blah, blah, blah.

What matters to ME, in this case is as follows:

*CBD oil will NOT get you high. Period. In the vernacular of this region, it won’t make you “feel some kind of way”.

* CBD oil helps with numerous mental illnesses and many more physical ailments (think of any “old age” problems and it probably helps with that).

*CBD oil has no side-effects, save perhaps feeling a bit sleepy, and loosen your bowels some.

*CBD in this case is quality-controlled, processed safely AND within legal parameters of what good old Uncle Sam will permit.

*CBD is allowing me to reduce the amount of prescription medications that I take by 100% (as of 2018).

And lastly

*CBD oil can be a way for all types of people to lead a more healthy, productive, and ultimately happy life. Including their financial life. 😉

So, no, there’s no conflict of interest. I am delighted to have found a SUPPLEMENT that lessens the impact that my ills have on my daily life. I am even more blessed to know of a likely resource for the people I encounter on any given day.

CBD is legal. It is not the same as THC at ALL, and I thank God for it.

“See me. Feel me. Touch me. Heal me.” -R. Daltrey

Hello, family! 

I’ve missed you so much!

I began a job several months ago, doing what I do 😉, and haven’t been here (primarily) because I have to be very careful about what I talk about. 

I’ve been able to get to at least 2 meetings a week, and it’s been an unbelievable blessing.  Left to my own devices, I don’t spend time with other people. After my current employment began, I was reminded of the things I had been missing by isolating.

I missed seeing other miracles and being seen as one, myself. I missed the feelings of being “a part of” and acceptance. In isolating, I was not where I was supposed to be.

Now, I get to use every gift God’s given me, each time I clock in. I expose my scars and bandage up client’s, every day.  The Big Book says we “will not regret the past”, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be completely THERE, but there’s no question that it’s the painful experiences of my past which allow me to come alongside those “still suffering”. 

They say that the Human Services field has among the top burn-out rates of any occupation. I can see that. With that in mind, I daily pour myself out in the name of (love) lifting up individuals that, to be honest, most people wouldn’t even want to talk to. I know that God has placed me where I am, and I am full of gratitude for being used by Him. I actually get paid to share my experience, strength and hope with men & women who have none of their own! 

Is it always a cake walk? Oh, heck no. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been beat up, by the end of the day. I reckon that’s why they call it “work”.

I truly don’t have words to adequately describe how it feels to see the flicker of hope in their eyes, when they realise that they’re not alone, and that someone understands and cares. 

So, that’s a synopsis of my last 6 months. How have you been?  

Int’l Overdose Awareness Day

As someone who has attended too many funerals due to overdose, I am asking you to share this image. How many people do YOU know that would give anything to hold their parent or child just One. More. Time? 

As long as we continue to share our stories and educate our world as to the truth about drug addiction, there will be hope. 

If you are one who’s had a loved one taken by addiction, please don’t stop speaking out. The less condemnation an addict feels from those who could instead be helping them to learn how to live again…the more likely that addict is going to be to actually ask for help. 

Outside of recovery – which is available as long as there is life – addicts only have three choices for their tomorrows: 

Jails

Institutions

Death.

Contempt and disgust haven’t worked to spare any addicts life, so let’s try love and compassionate action. What can it hurt?