What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

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WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

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(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)
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What Really is a Therapy Animal? 

 

In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
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Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?


Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.

 

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Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

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Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

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In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

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Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.

 

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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.
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I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat

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First Thing In Gambling Recovery? Have Another Manage Your MONEY …Guest Shares by Gambling Counsellor Sam.

First Thing In Gambling Recovery? Have Another Manage Your MONEY …Guest Shares by Gambling Counsellor Sam.

“Yes, I enjoy much fun with a ‘Dash of HUMOR’ these days while maintaining and managing my recovery journey, hence, the  featured post Photo of me holding a coffee can of money while speaking at Big Jim’s Ride Around America this past April 2019 at the Arizona State Capitol with many  of my recovery friends sharing Awareness and Hope from all Addictions” …

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But Why IS My Above Photo So Important?

WELL, There was a time I was NOT TRUSTED WITH MONEY AT ALL while deep within my gambling addiction. And gaining trust back is very important as it was a big part of my recovery work those years ago when first entering treatment and starting my journey. As starting treatment and counseling, the first thing I had to do is give up all control managing our money, bill paying, the bank accounts, and all the ATM, Debit, and Creditcards. All of that went to my husband to handle in 2002.

And, NO, I did not LIKE IT. Especially when my early career and still at that time I had worked in the banking field and then a debt collection company for three years right before my first suicide attempt and entered treatment then November of 2002. I hurt like hell to not have any control or money … PERIOD.

But I had to do it or I am sure I would still be active with problem and addicted gambling today. It’s the first thing that should be done and care of and taken away from the gambler entering treatment. It is also one main way for the spouse or partner of an addicted gambler to SAFEGUARD themselves and the finances.

That is why I wanted to share a few posts by my dear friend ‘Counsellor Sam’ as he does a lot of counseling with gamblers and their family about this topic and many others. He has a few articles on his site that you may find informative and helpful around being picked to handle a recovering gambler’s money and finances.

We had met through our blogs and social media and I can tell you he is very knowledgable in many areas of gambling recovery.  So without any more delays, here are a couple of shares from Gambling Counsellor Sam about being asked to help handle “The Money”…

BOTH OUR BLOGS ARE THE BEST FOR Education and Recovery from Problem Gambling…   ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon

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YOU’VE BEEN ASKED TO MANAGE SOMEONE’S MONEY: NOW WHAT?
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If a friend has reached out to ask you to help them manage their money, you may be confused about why and don’t quite know what to do. Asking a trusted friend or family member for help to handle money is a common strategy that many people use to stop or reduce their gambling.

It’s important for you to know that helping someone manage their finances can provide wonderful support and peace of mind for them if they are affected by problem gambling, but it can also add an extra dimension of difficulty to your relationship.
What do you need to consider before saying “yes, I will help you manage your money”?

  • First: If the person has any debts, consider whether a financial counselor be consulted.
  • Next: Discuss how long you each expect you will have to manage the money. How will you both know that you are no longer needed and that your friend or relative is able to manage alone? Be as specific as possible about what signs and indicators will make it clear that it is time for them to manage their finances on their own.
  • Make sure you talk about what their specific goals are in relation to gambling. Are they planning to slow their gambling or stop altogether?
  • Make sure you have a talk about what they hope to achieve. Agree on what will happen if they are not taking the steps you have agreed upon to achieve these goals.
  • Write down any agreements you make so the plan is completely clear to you both.
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    And Lastly:
  • Have times scheduled for regular reviews of the plan so that you can discuss how it is working for both you and the recovering person …

Helping someone manage their money can contribute greatly to breaking the cycle of gambling.

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression (1)

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I DON’T WANT TO MANAGE THEIR MONEY ANYMORE. HOW DO I TELL THEM?
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Many people find it useful to have someone temporarily manage their money while they are trying to change their gambling habits. When it works, this is a fantastic strategy, but there can be times when this approach harms more than it helps.

Whether you’re helping out a partner, friend or relative, controlling access to their money might be stressful for you and cause strain in your relationship — especially if they continue to gamble or repeatedly break the agreement you have with them.

It might come to the point where you can no longer help them manage their money.

So be prepared for the possibility that they will react negatively. You can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome by planning your conversation with them.

Here are some tips:
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  • Time it wisely: Are they a morning or evening person? Where do your best conversations with them happen? Consider past conversations you’ve had with them at different times and situations and think about how well they have gone. It’s best to raise the topic at a time when they are calm and not in the heat of an ongoing argument.
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  • Define your limits clearly:  Let the person know exactly why you are no longer able to help manage their money. Be specific and explain why you feel it would be best if they sought help with their money from someone else. Refer to the agreement you made with them when you first agreed to help them. Call Gambling Help, who can refer them to a Financial Counsellor.
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  • Remind them you are still there for them: It can also be helpful to let them know what types of continuing support you are able to provide. Let them know you still care and want to be there for them in other ways.……

Deciding to stop managing your friend or loved one’s money can be a difficult decision and stir up uncomfortable emotions. If you want to have a conversation about whether this is the right decision for you and your friend or loved one.

NEED more support to approach this conversation? It’s Free, Confidential, and Professional counselors are available 24/7 on 1-800-858-858 … 

SAM WHO?
LEARN ALL About Counsellor Sam by a visit to his helpful blog “About Counsellor Sam” and begin your recovery from problem gambling today!

~Advocate Catherine Townsend-Lyon

I Enjoy Sharing Blog Friends Informative Posts. Meet “Oh My George”… ‘No Judgement’… Share Kindness.

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Before I share some of my friend who is in the UK,  and George Boyle’s blog post here about “judging others,” we all know in the addiction/recovery arena and in the literary arena we see people being unkind or judging others’ recovery choices, advocacy or when we have published our books readers or reviewers can be unkind. It may be in a comment on our blog or, again, in leaving a book review. We need to share and speak out when others have No Understanding or Empathy for others Mental and Emotional Challenges …

My mom raised me to be “KIND” wth my “WORDS” as always said: “If you can’t say something “kind” or “corrective”? Then Don’t Say Anything at ALL.”

I think everyone should go back to this motherly advice. Doesn’t it take less energy to be positive or kind than it does to be hurtful or negative? I think so.

So my hope is everyone who reads this post will absorb some of the lessons and feelings in this post. Again, “Kindness is Golden”…OH, And? “Never Judge a Book By It’s Cover Alone.”

~Catherine Lyon

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#NoJudgment … Mental Health Awareness … By George T. Boyle.

What do I mean by this?

I realize that within my blogs and possibly my book there are typos, there are grammar errors, etc.

And yet does this put you off from reading the content and understanding its meanings?

In some instances, it is enough of a reason for some people to not even open the book when its cover displays this.

Have you ever thought that maybe it may be the reason an author has done this to grab your attention to it, or maybe that the author or writer is so overwhelmed by other things that they will love someone to come and give support to the amazing content and work they are trying to achieve and the message I am putting out there to the world within my words in conscious thought flow.

We as humans often react in fear and give excuses in the words with people to actually engage with them in positive ways.

We create words and content which can push people away in the words we use, then we only react to the words we use, and then we only get the outcome we create from the words and thoughts we use to each other.

I love my amazing friend for prompting me to write this because all I hear in words at times are excuses for interaction which follows a reaction of no interaction then an action of no interaction or communication.

And I become frustrated at this and asked them what they are doing to themselves or to what sort of outcome they are looking for from life when they are only creating blocks in thought which are then being communicated in words, creating that action and reaction from the person creating the disempowering thought-forms.

I was having a bad day, as I was awaiting a tooth pulled out and it’s been creating enough distraction in thoughts as well as weird anxiety or energy that day,  so I reached out to my friend. This friend didn’t focus on the words I was expressing or wasn’t compassionate in response to say “hey, how can I make your day better?”

The communication went to crap because my friend wasn’t focusing on how to create a positive open communication with me and they then made a decision to close communication because they reacted with the excuse of judgment and words which were creating more stress and anxiety within me which created a conversation flow off of nothing and a ZERO outcome.

Why did this happen?

Because that person didn’t react towards the other person with compassion any empathy, and love, only with a thought flow and reaction and in words of blaming the other person for reaching out to them, and used words to close down the conversation and making ME the blame for having a bad mental health day.

So what can we do to ensure when someone says: “they’re having a bad day we can react in a way toward them with words that are focused on helping them get through that.

Rather than judging them for them contacting you, for someone trying to reach out to them because they were having a bad day, they weren’t coping well with there mental health that day and then making the conversation about you and how the person who had reached out for support was wrong for doing so at that moment. Just looking to ease the anxiety of the other person and open conversation to create love in the form of communication.

“The more we release the fear and judgment around our lives we end mental health because we react to each other with unconditional love and compassion.”

We don’t read a book by its cover alone …

We read of the content within it.

Yet if you are only looking for an excuse to judge a book my book by its cover? Then you are not really taking the time to read it, nor making the effort or focus to find out what is within it. Your only making an excuse in your own thoughts because that book created a negative thought about it as to open it up or delve inside and lose your fear in loving the book.

How can we reframe the way we think and react towards other people?

THE ANSWER Can be Found by going over to Visit George’s Blog and finishing reading how this Story Ends Right Here:   By George T. Boyle.

For many of us who have mental health challenges, we look to other avenues and platforms to share our experiences and day to day challenges with our mental health.  Some ways I and George accomplish this are through our books our writings and blog posts. Advocacy and sharing one’s story and experiences does help shatter stigma, and it lets others know who suffer that they are not alone. 

The Wall. America Needs To Know About This Amazing UK Project I Support & Shared My Prayer…Have You? God Answers Prayers …

The Wall. America Needs To Know About This Amazing UK Project I Support & Shared My Prayer…Have You? God Answers Prayers …

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A national landmark of hope.


To remind generations of God’s goodness

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AMERICA and All My Friends Need To Support This Project and Who They Are! Honoring Gods Legacy of Answering Prayers …

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Hello Catherine

The story of the land is here!

The story of how we were given land is absolutely miraculous and we want it to reach as many people as possible. It would mean a great deal to us if you could do the following:

  • Follow us on social media (links available at the bottom of this email)
  • React and comment when you see the video
  • Invite your friends to follow us
  • Share the video with your friends, families, churches, and anyone else who needs to see this incredible story of God’s miraculous provision!

    Continue To Support This Heavenly Monument Here
    Donate Today to The Wall of Prayer

 

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WHAT IS THE WALL and MY PRAYER – TESTIMONY of RECOVERY?  

The Wall was conceived 15 years ago. We are planning to complete construction of the landmark by 2022.

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Visionary, Richard Gamble, a former Leicester City F.C. chaplain, first had the vision for The Wall when he was carrying a cross around Leicestershire at Easter-time to lead people to think about Jesus. He prayed over the vision for ten years until 2014 when he felt the nudge to begin acting upon it.

The project began with a crowdfunding campaign of £45k in order to build a suitable website and begin the competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects. From the outset it seemed unlikely that this amount would be reached in time, however, following a word from God funding came in miraculously from across the world over two days; the full amount was reached with a day to spare.

Following the successful crowdfunding campaign, the RIBA competition was initiated and received 133 entrants from every continent in the world. The designs were shortlisted to five finalists by a judging panel of experts and national influencers.

The project was then presented at Parliament two years ago.

Through a word of knowledge, we were connected with a landowner who had received a vision to fund a national landmark about Jesus six months before Richard received the vision. The landowner has given us a ten-acre piece of land in a prime location.

In the meantime, the RIBA competition continued with the final architects adapting their designs to the specific landscape. They then presented their designs in April 2019 to two panels; technical experts and national influencers. A winning design was then selected.

Approximately £250k has been raised to bring us to this stage. We now have three full-time staff, three part-time staff, and 40 volunteers. Here we are today …

“Will begin to build an architectural structure, so it won’t be a normal blank wall, it’s gonna be a piece of public art. It will be of a million bricks and every single brick in this piece of art will represent a unique story where somebody has prayed to Jesus and Jesus has answered the prayer.

The whole structure in itself will be colossal; it will be about the size of a hundred houses. We hope that when people drive past it on the motorway, they’ll realize that it is shouting out that Jesus is alive, that He listens and He answers prayer.

“We’re hoping that this national landmark will be something that will inspire people and give people hope where they can’t find any.”

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MY PRAYER ANSWERED and TESTIMONY of Recovery From Addiction!

“I remember hearing a whispered voice in my ear that I have not fulfilled my God-given purpose yet and now is the time” …

I heard God’s voice as clear as day. I had just become aware of my surroundings and was lying in a bed in a addictions/mental health crisis center on suicide watch via the hospital. What a way to spend my 40th birthday. From a failed suicide attempt and had been entangled in gambling addiction and suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues.

I attempted to cut open my wrists after coming home from an Indian casino after many hours of a bad binge of hard gambling. I was supposed to be at my best friends funeral and memorial that day, but my addiction had other another idea. Run, run from the pain and loss and gamble a few hours instead.

That was back in November 2002. I had not only lost my best friend to cancer but had lost my mom a few months prior to this. “Life” events, if not prepared within four faith and a relapse plan can be disastrous. See, when I had crossed the line into addicted gambling, I ignored everything and everyone, even GOD.

I had turned my back on him as I had been raised a Catholic. I had turned away from God because of the guilt and shame I felt and told myself, how could GOD love me with all the evil I had inside my heart at the worst within my addiction? See, when the enemy wants to distance you from what is Good and Right in your life? He will find anything to drag you down and away from your strength and hope within your love of Jesus and his father. Just some of the wisdom and lessons I have learned.

When I was finally released from inpatient treatment to outpatient and therapy from my gambling addiction and mental/emotional breakdown, finally diagnosed properly for my mental health disorders, my husband and I began to attend a non-denominational Christian church. We also re-dedicated our lives to Christ/God and were re-baptized as well. Because I knew in order for me to maintain recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse, I could not do it alone.

“When I got to the second week while in the crisis center, I got on my knees one night and prayed to God that if he would just take my cravings, triggers, and urges away from me and the addiction? I would do the rest! I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me if I was to gain my life back from addiction. And I began that work and my journey within FAITH and Gods Grace.”

Did I have a few slip-ups? YES, I am human, I am not perfect and a “Work In Progress” in Gods Light and born a sinner. I had to learn a few times the hard way and that was Gods way of my gaining wisdom through life lessons.

“Today the blessings have come out of the ashes of destruction through faith and being a published author, writer, and recovery blogger, I pass on what I have learned to others as I share my Hope to them thru my Faith and WHY I SUPPORT THE WALL” … Please visit “The Wall Of Answered Prayers” today and show your support for this “Heavenly Monument!” 

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Donate Be part of the foundation and Gift here to The Wall.

We receive all of our funding from generous donors like you.


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The Time is Now to Hold Big Pharma Accountable! Do Not Let Purdue Pharma Get Away With MURDER …File Today!

The Time is Now to Hold Big Pharma Accountable! Do Not Let Purdue Pharma Get Away With MURDER …File Today!

A very important message from Ryan Hampton as I and many advocates support all he has accomplished against PURDUE the maker of Opioid drugs causing overdoses and those becoming ADDICTED…

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Dear Friends,

It has been a long time coming but there is now a legal team of experts fighting for victims and people impacted by the opioid crisis and Purdue Pharma.

This morning, I filed a claim with the legal team against Purdue Pharma–which declared bankruptcy on Sunday night. I encourage each and every one of you to do the same. Any money recovered under my personal claim against Purdue, I am dedicating 100% to support solutions in prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services in my community.

To file a claim against Purdue in the bankruptcy, visit opioidrights.com.
Time is of the essence.

Why it’s important that every single person impacted by the harm of Purdue’s products files a claim

In 1996, Purdue received an FDA approval for OxyContin, an extended-release form of oxycodone that the company claimed was safer than others and had a low risk of addiction. OxyContin, however, had a high risk of addiction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, out of 700,000 Americans who died from drug overdoses from 1999 to 2017, almost 400,000 died after overdosing on prescription and illicit opioid drugs. During the one year period from Jan. 2, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017, 64,070 people died from opioid overdoses.

In addition to OxyContin, Purdue manufactured MS Contin, Dilaudid/Dilaudid HP, Butrans, Hysingla ER, and Targiniq ER, all of which are also at the epicenter of the crisis.

Purdue and Big Pharma are alleged to have helped to drive the opioid epidemic by engaging in aggressive and potentially misleading marketing campaigns.

Purdue purportedly mounted an especially aggressive marketing campaign for OxyContin, holding dozens of national pain conferences that were attended by more than 5,000 pharmacists, doctors, and nurses to spur them to prescribe OxyContin for non-cancer pain.

The marketing efforts seem to have worked. The number of prescriptions for OxyContin to treat non-cancer pain grew from 670,000 in 1997 to 6.2 million in 2002. By 2020, the U.S. market for opioid medications is expected to reach $18.4 billion.

On September 15, 2019, Purdue filed for bankruptcy.

In the near future, the legal team anticipates that a federal bankruptcy court handling the matter will set a deadline within which claims can be filed by victims and those alleging injury or death from Purdue products. Claims not filed within the applicable bar date may be lost forever.

What does filing a claim mean?


Filing a claim means you will be represented as a victim of Purdue’s actions during the bankruptcy proceedings and will have legal representation in the process.

About the legal team fighting for victims of the opioid crisis

Andrews & Thornton, ASK LLP, Fennemore Craig PC, and Goodnow McKay PLLC, have significant experience with tort, mass tort, and wrongful death matters. In addition, Anne Andrews, the managing partner of Andrews & Thornton, has considerable experience navigating bankruptcies involving complicated pharmaceutical claims.

She served on official committees in TwinLab and N.V.E., both dietary supplement companies responsible for causing serious injuries to consumers, and as the Chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in New England Compounding Pharmacy, a company responsible for distributing compounded steroid injections that caused fungal meningitis.

She also participated in bankruptcy proceedings on behalf of tort creditors in Chemtura (which sold a chemical in flavored popcorn causing severe lung injury), Metabolife and MuscleTech (also dietary supplement companies causing users severe injuries like a heart attack or stroke), and Dow Corning (which marketed faulty breast implants).

Most recently she has served on the Tort Claimants’ Committee in PG&E, a bankruptcy involving tens of thousands of people losing their homes or lives due to PG&E’s electrical equipment. Significantly, she currently serves as the Chair of Creditor’s Committee for the bankruptcy of Insys, the first opioid seller to declare bankruptcy.

Please file your claim TODAY. The process is simple.
Go to: opioidrights.com.


Thank you for all you do. ~Ryan Hampton

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Please file your claim TODAY. I have and urge you -all my Recovery Advocates and Recovery Friends to do the same! ~Advocate Catherine Lyon


Let The Legal Team Fight for Victims…

The opioid epidemic has ravaged the country, leading to countless deaths and injuries. With news breaking about Purdue Pharma, the maker of Oxycontin and other deadly opioids, filing for bankruptcy, our group of law firms has come together to represent individuals who have been injured and the families of those who have lost their lives because of opioids. For cases, we accept there are no out-of-pocket costs, and we only get paid if we recover money for you.*

Call now or visit HERE: YOUR RIGHTS! AND fill out the form for a free case evaluation.

Purdue Needs To Be Held Accountable For The Opioid Epidemic!

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Please also visit Ryan’s New Website too! Recovery Advocate Project

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WHY ZEN? A Living Zen Master Shares Why Turning to Those ‘Spiritual Options While Recovering Works.’

WHY ZEN? A Living Zen Master Shares Why Turning to Those ‘Spiritual Options While Recovering Works.’

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With So Many “Spiritual Options and Paths”
Why Zen?
by Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi

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Social media, Internet, bookstores and large numbers of coaches, trainers and teachers offer countless recipes for the “right” path to happiness and different formulas for “reaching” the Kingdom of God. In this seemingly endless universe of “spiritual options”, the question sometimes posed by seekers, or people aiming to lead happier and more fulfilling lives, is; “Why Zen?”

Let it be mentioned right up front that Zen does not claim exclusivity, nor does it thrive on missionizing people to “convert” them, making fun of or criticizing other practices. In fact, throughout the ages,  Zen Masters have respected and revered great teachers and enlightened ones who pursued other spiritual practices.

Zen is not an institution one “belongs” to. It has evolved to become inclusive, and as such has room for those preferring to worship or practice the rituals they choose.

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This text will not overly focus on emphasizing all the ways in which Zen is “different” from other spiritual paths, as this goes way beyond the length of a short blog. Suffice it to say that there is hardly a spiritual path which is comparable to Zen. In itself, Zen is only a concept or word and cannot be easily described.

It goes beyond conventions, ceremonies, and confessions, even if Buddhists may claim it as its own because it goes back to Buddha. Zen transcends fundamentalist beliefs, scriptures, specific steps and rituals, and focuses on the spiritual dimension underlying all Existence.

The Underlying Basis of Zen

Zen sees no duality, no selfhood apart from that which is unspeakable, indescribable, and boundless in us, the One Self, God, One Mind. The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. You already are and embody what you seek, have always been and will always be this way. Divine awareness or God-consciousness is the ever-presence that will never leave us. God-awareness is Self-awareness. Nothing can take away from your inherent nature of Oneness, the Buddha Nature in all of us.

This is what Zen says in a nutshell. However, let me say that Zen is also down to earth and practical. It gives us one of the most natural and simple approaches that exist to accompany us along the boundless and pathless path as these ultimate truths are revealed.

It enables us, with grace – and not because of what we “do” – to unfold our own inner teacher, master, and guru. There is nothing to “grasp” or understand. The Kingdom of God within us, though not describable in words, can be directly “experienced” – and can lead to what is referred to as salvation, enlightenment or clarity.

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Self-reliance

The age-old Zen parable, “If you meet the Buddha, kill him”, admonishes us not to depend on anything or anyone outside of our-Selves. As such, Zen is definitely empowering and makes us Self-reliant and self-less instead of self-important.

But do not make the mistake of thinking that Zen is a “customized” spirituality adapted to the individual ego and reflecting our modern-day desire to “go our own way”.  This is because you are not the doer. Instead, grace leads us. Progress can be made when the “seeker” gives up the fallacy of being a separate individual, that his or her actions are the basis for enlightenment.

We may search, diligently practice spiritual techniques such as meditation and be guided by others, but the decisive moment is when we can put all pre-defined commandments, tools, seeking and procedures behind us and stand in truth – as if struck like a bolt of lightning out of the blue.

Enlightened Beingness

There are many examples of individuals who “stand in the light” or are in “enlightened Beingness” or awareness – representing their awakening to a seemingly new state of Beingness which is inconceivable yet has always existed. In realizing what you have are, there is nothing to do except to be humble and thankful, abide and BE in the Oneness, Suchness, Isness, which naturally encompasses truth and wisdom and all that you need.  I AM – that in itself is sufficient – because it IS.

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However, as long as people are imprisoned in their egos, they will suffer, create suffering for themselves and others and also destroy our planet, and have to continue living with this suffering.

Zen has the potential to enable us to penetrate to the Last Things, and possibly – when the right time has come and one enjoys the grace of something higher which is intangible and incomprehensible – to awaken us out of a kind of slumber to our natural state of bliss that we are and have always been. This is not an empty promise. Nothing is promised or held out as a possible which is not experienceable.

The “Challenge” of Zen

In essence, Zen may seem challenging and daunting, because it throws you back upon yourself, calls upon you to let go of your thinking and past, asks you to unlearn what you were brought up to believe in, says you ultimately do not need any teacher or texts, steps and goals, and that there is nothing to achieve.

I am aware that this is not easy for many people to swallow. There may be a long list of reasons you have to reject what has been written here, and the dualistically-minded among you may consider all this to be humbug.

However, you are free to take the pathless path of Zen and consider it on its merits.

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Truly hope my Special Recovery Guest, Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi’s wisdom and words have been of help to all my recovery friends and visitors as it has been to my recovery!

You may learn more within his amazing book on sale on AMAZON and titled Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness” Now 99.cents on Amazon as a Kindle and Paperback on Sale!

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You are invited to visit Master Genro and Co-Author Clifford Stevens on their Official Website of “Find The Seeker – Meet Master Genro.”

 

Nothing Is Wrong With You If a 12-Step Program Does Not Work For You. It’s Why We Have “Choices Of What Works For Us”… Power To Choose

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“Those of us recovering know there is nothing wrong with you if for some reason a 12-Step program or meetings that are not enough to help you recover from any ADDICTION from Gambling, Alcohol, Drugs, Porn, any addictions.”

And there has been a lot of “Debate” about this for a long time by many groups and die-hard 12-steppers in my 12-years of maintaining recovery and I been to many AA and GA, Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

 

Especially when I had a negative experience a few times in a GA meeting where a few long-timers got in an actual “Shouting Match” in front of attendees, as some just happen to be newcomers! Very wrong to DO and THAT was not following the by-laws of how a 12-step meeting should be … So when I came across this new article in one of my favorite Recovery Magazines called The Fix and this  article about “There is nothing wrong with YOU if AA, and I’ll include NA and GA, 12-step program doesn’t WORK for you.”

Look, it’s OK to choose the recovery path YOU WANT and WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. And even though I had a BAD experience with my Gamblers Anonymous meeting? I still went back and used it as a form of SUPPORT and to be like-minded recovering gamblers, BUT? Knew it wasn’t going to BE the only help and treatment option I needed for my addictions to gambling and alcohol abuse. Here is what The Fix Article says about a 12-step program and if it works or not works for you …  ~Catherine Lyon

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There is hope

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There’s Nothing Wrong With You If AA Doesn’t Work

By Olivia Pennelle 

“It isn’t that you’re incapable of being honest with yourself, or that you’re not working a “program” well enough. You are not too broken, or too far gone.”

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I spoke to a friend, Damien, last week. He was devastated at losing someone close to him to an alcohol disorder. What is particularly harrowing about this person’s passing is that it might have been prevented. Damien’s friend was repeatedly pushed toward Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), even though it clearly wasn’t the right fit for him. Just like many others, instead of being supported by peers and professionals and given alternative options, this friend was left feeling that the problem was him.

“It’s really frustrating to see friends die because the default treatment option doesn’t work for them,” Damien says. “We are losing far too many people with substance use disorder who find 12-step incompatible with their life experiences and belief systems.”

He goes on to say, “It’s not because they aren’t willing. It’s not because they can’t ‘get it.’ It’s because, for many people, treating addiction requires more than hope, spirituality, and fellowship. And yet, the only option most are presented with is founded on those three pillars. If the recommended treatment for bacterial infections had the same success rate as the 12 steps, then antibiotics would not be our go-to treatment plan for staph infections.”

My overarching message is: There is nothing wrong with you if AA doesn’t work. It isn’t that you’re incapable of being honest with yourself, or that you’re not working a “program” well enough. You are not too broken, or too far gone. You simply haven’t found the right pathway for you.

These kinds of beliefs stem from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which states: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” [emphasis added]

During my five years of attending countless AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, I have heard many members criticize those who come in and out of the rooms but return to using in between, categorizing them as unwilling, or incapable of being honest.“They just need to surrender to the program and work it like their life depends on it,” was the kind of statement I heard over and over again.

I threw myself into the program because there were no other options for me in the northwest of England. I was so desperate to find something that would help me that I believed anything members said, even if there was no evidence to back it up.

I did a fair amount of perpetuating these myths too. I was instructed to ignore my instincts and critical mind (because that was my “disease talking”), and do what I was told. Giving away my free will to a person in the sky or a church basement seemed weird, but I went with it for several years. After all, it had worked for many other members.

With a period of sobriety under my belt, I couldn’t ignore my inner doubts any longer. They became louder. It was as though, even after years in recovery, I suddenly woke up. And I started to slowly unpack all the myths I’d been told.

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REVIVE DETOX  – Shares: 

“I think you’ll agree with us when we say:

Times have changed and not all addiction cases should be treated the same way.

Traditional 12 Step Programs are based on a relationship with a higher power, an external higher power.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), “Medications should be combined with behavioral counseling for a “whole patient” approach, known as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).” and is an effective treatment for addiction.

Personality, personal values, history, underlying conditions, and other factors dictate what type of recovery program works best for an individual.

We empower clients to invest in their own recovery which aids each individual in taking responsibility for their behaviors and breeds self-reliance.”

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In particular, I tried to unpack “it works if you work it.” There is substantial evidence that shows there’s no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to recovery. If this program were suitable for everyone with substance use disorders, its success rate would be much higher. The fact is that success rates of 12-step programs vary wildly, from as low as 5 to 8 percent, with dropout rates from 69 to 86 percent … to as high as 42 percent after four years.

I should point out that these dropout rates are a reflection of the attrition rates of addiction treatment generally. This underscores the point that the way we treat addiction isn’t appropriate for everyone and we need to get better at personalizing care based on individual circumstances.

When I moved to the U.S., it was like my world opened up. I saw that despite what I’d been told in AA — that it was the only method for successful recovery — there was actually an open landscape of diverse recovery pathways.

A leading study shows that tens of millions of Americans have successfully resolved an alcohol or drug problem through a variety of traditional and nontraditional methods. That means:

  • 9 percent recovered with “assisted pathway use” that consisted of mutual-aid groups (45.1 percent), treatment (27.6 percent), and emerging recovery support services (21.8 percent). 95.8 percent of those who used mutual-aid groups attended 12-step mutual aid meetings.
  • Just under half of those who did not report using an assisted pathway recovered without the use of formal treatment and recovery supports.
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I’m aware that an ideal model of treatment, individualized based on the person’s particular medical and psychological needs, is not always available to most people. Not all of us have the luxury of therapeutic treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist. This is another reason mutual-aid groups are the most accessible form of recovery pathway — they’re free!

We’re fortunate in the U.S. to have plenty of other support groups that are not all based on religion, and some have a solid evidence-based program.

They include Refuge RecoveryLifeRing Secular RecoverySMART RecoveryModeration ManagementWellbriety — among many others listed here — and they have been shown to be equally as successful as 12-step groups.

study comparing 12-step groups to alternative mutual aid groups found that LifeRing, SMART, and Women for Sobriety were just as effective as 12-step groups. Study author Dr. Sarah Zemore and her team reported that “findings for high levels of participation, satisfaction, and cohesion among members of the mutual help alternatives suggest promise for these groups in addressing addiction problems.”

Despite my reporting about AA’s success rate and some of the myths perpetuated by the fellowship, I’m not here to bash AA. I’m here to shine a light on the false statement that it is the only successful way. There are many others.

For those AA does work for, I respect your path. We just need to have a clearer picture of what recovery looks like so when someone is suffering, instead of saying they are the problem, we can be better informed to direct them to what may be a more suitable pathway.

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After all, we all have the same goal: Recovery! ~Cat Lyon, Advocate

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