My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

My Recovery Guest Today – Meet Aaron Emerson…”Hope From DOPE”

Most all know just how difficult maintaining recovery can be. Especially when we come out of rehab or treatment and in early recovery. No one knows this better than my dear friend and advocate, Aaron Emerson. I have been a supporter and friends with Aaron for a couple years now. I can tell you this guy “Never Gives Up.” 

Yes, we all may have relapsed before, but Aaron is very adamant in sharing what he learns if and when we all at times have a slip. The most important fact is, Aaron is Honest, Real, and Transparent about the ups and downs of maintaining recovery.

So, that is what is my point is with this post and having Aaron share some of his story with all of us today, courtesy of his latest newsletter … “Hope From Dope” is a newsletter written by Aaron Emerson, a recovering addict, and alcoholic. It contains his writings from his Hope From Dope blog, updates on his recovery and more. 

“HE IS A FIGHTER” and he never gives up with “God In His Corner!”

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Treatment Works; My Story ~ By Aaron Emerson.

 

 

“I have been to rehab 7 times” …

Yes, seven times I have checked myself into rehab. Many of those times I did it to simply get my family off my back and a couple more times because I was homeless and didn’t have anywhere else to go. 

But this last time, well, I entered rehab totally broken, ashamed, hopeless and humiliated. At the same time, though, I was finally ready to do everything they asked me to do and willing to give recovery a try again.

It was a rehab in Memphis, Michigan called Sacred Heart. Based on the 12 Steps, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and family support, it is a treatment center that mainly serves low-income individuals from Michigan. It is a terrific place that employs therapists and workers who are recovering addicts themselves. And, well, it saved my life.

The day I checked myself into Sacred Heart, I had two warrants out for my arrest for stealing a credit card. I was a broken person, my relationships were all shattered and nobody trusted me.

Years prior, I had been living a life of recovery after several years of heroin addiction and it was the happiest I’d ever been. However, after I let up on how many meetings I went to and distancing myself from my recovery program, I drank some beers at a wedding, triggering a downward spiral of a couple more years of on and off drinking and drug use.


So, walking into Sacred Heart on December 8, I was humiliated that after building a life of recovery, I was now back in active addiction, facing some criminal charges. I had shared my story at area high schools and been featured in news stories about recovery. But here I was, strung out and hopeless once again.

About the only thing I had going for me that day was that for the last week, I hadn’t used drugs or drank. After the cops were called on me for acting violently after a night of drinking, an Ingham County Sheriff’s Sergeant helped convince me to check into treatment and get my life together for my daughter.

I actually listened to him. The way he treated me like someone who needed help and not as a crazy criminal really gave me hope. I was used to cops doing everything they could to stick me with charges and lock me away, so when an officer who was high up on the chain in law enforcement showed me compassion and seemed to really care about me and my daughter, it triggered me to try to get sober and go back to rehab.

And since that night when Sgt. Harrison helped me instead of locking me up, I haven’t used drugs. Rehab went very well and Sacred Heart helped me get some stability in my life. When I left a few weeks later, I was sober and motivated to get to a meeting as soon as I got out.

I did and two days later I turned myself in to handle the warrants. I got a personal bond and a month later was sentenced to Drug Court in East Lansing, which provides treatment and therapy instead of jail or prison. Drug Court has introduced me to a very good support system and given me a strict, balanced life to build around.

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I now have a job working 30 hours a week, go to meetings and therapy each day and am trying to be the best father I can be to my seven-year-old daughter. My life is extremely busy with work and all the meetings and therapy, but it is helping me. I feel like I have a very sustainable foundation in my recovery. I have a sponsor and a recovery coach that I call every day and another recovery coach that helps me and my family piece back together our relationships.

Out of all the sponsors, recovery coaches, therapists and probation officers I have in my life, I genuinely feel like each one of them cares deeply for me and plays very important but different pieces of the puzzle. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Sgt. Harrison motivating me to go to Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart truly helped me develop a foundation to get my life back together and I will forever be grateful for that.

It doesn’t matter how many times you have fallen, it is never impossible to stand back up and fight! It doesn’t matter if you have never been to rehab or if you’ve been to treatment ten times, never give up! While in active addiction, it seems impossible to ever get sober and be happy without drugs and alcohol. That is a lie the disease of addiction tells you. The memories and hope I am experiencing today is something to cherish.

Never give up. Don’t ever be ashamed or embarrassed to admit you have a problem and need help. It takes a lot of strength and courage to check yourself into treatment or ask for help, but it is the first step to building a happy life of sobriety.

Treatment works!

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THANK YOU, Aaron, for being my Guest Today!

You can follow Aaron’s journey and share your support by visiting his website “Hope From DOPE”  and by connecting with him here on Facebook too!
Please check out his book as well now available and e-book now only $3.99 here on Amazon Kindle… 

To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery: My Life Of Addiction And Recovery Told Through Past Journals by [Emerson, Aaron]

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An Important Article Share and Topic Recovery Friends from “The Fix.” Can Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Relapse?

An Important Article Share and Topic Recovery Friends from “The Fix.” Can Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Relapse?


This is a very informative article
as many of us maintaining recovery are always looking for more “openness and enlightening” ways to keep us from not only ‘Relapse’ but looking to stay moving forward in recovery and a deeper meaning of happiness and fulfillment to true serenity in our lives from addiction.

I myself have started a new book that just may help you get it! It was written by one of the few living Zen Masters, Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi of today and his pupil and Author, Clifford Stevens so at the end of this post I will share this new book release with you titled; Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness and Highly Suggest it!

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The Fix – Guest Article By Elizabeth Brico 02/21/18

“Mindfulness meditation teaches people how to accept suffering as a normal, cohesive experience, and then move on from it.”


Relapse has always been a harsh reality of addiction, but as the opioid black market fills with powerful synthetics, relapse on heroin and similar drugs grows increasingly dangerous. Fatal overdoses nearly doubled between 2015 and 2016—the majority of which are attributed to opioid-based drugs.

We are bombarded daily with news headlines—some factual, some fictitious—announcing the newest therapy, or the latest hysteria-provoking scare (does death by fentanyl dust at the grocery store sound familiar?) as we scramble to unearth an affordable and effective way to curb the tragic rise in overdose deaths. Advocates wage vicious wars using news stories and social media, trying to figure out what treatment works best; what will finally fix it?

What if one of the most promising treatments to help prevent relapse has not only already existed for thousands of years, but is free and available to anyone?

Although research is still young, several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation may prevent relapse by helping people in recovery acclimate to the idea of stress as a normal experience that can be handled without the aid of substances. Opioid addiction is especially problematic because these powerful drugs actually change the way the human brain functions. Prolonged opioid use damages the pleasure-reward system and alters the way we experience both pleasure and pain.

Opioid agonist medicines like methadone and buprenorphine are often used to help mitigate these brain changes, either for the short or long-term, but Derek Alan Crain, the Executive Director for Mindful Therapy Group based out of Seattle, Washington, thinks that mindfulness meditation can be an incredibly useful tool in concert with other evidence-based treatments.

“With mindfulness, you’re teaching patients how to tune into their feelings; you’re teaching them how to suffer,” says Crain.

The idea of teaching people in recovery from addiction how to suffer may sound counter-intuitive. After all, isn’t addiction pretty much just a ton of suffering? But when a mindfulness practitioner like Crain talks about teaching people “how to suffer,” he means providing the tools and space that will allow us to accept personal suffering as a normal, cohesive experience and then move on from it. It’s true that people with substance use disorders suffer a lot. Addiction is a vicious, complicated cycle that often reinforces itself by generating more suffering which we try to escape by using or drinking. Viewed in that light, teaching someone in recovery how to suffer makes a lot of sense.

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Mindfulness is a type of meditation that involves accepting experiences without judgment, including negative experiences. Rather than aiming to empty the mind or think nothing, as in other types of meditation, mindfulness asks only that the practitioner resists valuing certain thoughts and feelings over others. So, if a person is engaging in mindfulness meditation and finds herself worrying about that fight she just had with her spouse, instead of pushing that anxiety away, she would honor it.

Mindfulness asks that she recognize that the thought is there and that it’s uncomfortable, but she doesn’t quantify the experience—she doesn’t try to fix it. She can ask it to pass but she doesn’t force it away. Eventually, if someone practices this enough, she starts to understand the inherent transience of emotional states. This is very useful for people in recovery from addictions because it allows them to understand their suffering as something with an end. It also helps them to develop patience and perspective, two qualities that are often overridden by an addiction.

Ashley and Jaime are both in outpatient treatment for opioid addiction. Ashley had been using prescription opiate painkillers to mask childhood trauma for a number of years, and Jaime was addicted to heroin and pills for nearly three decades. Now, they both use medication-assisted treatment (buprenorphine), peer support, and individual counseling, but each expressed that the addition of mindfulness meditation helped prevent them from relapsing.

Jaime tells The Fix that he meditates for about 10-20 minutes each morning, using his breath as the anchor of his focus. Ashley reports that she engages in mindfulness meditation three times a week for about an hour each session—though she admits it took six months to work up from a few minutes at a time.

“I don’t think about using drugs nearly as much as I used to,” Ashley admits. “I’m more patient and more positive,” she says with a wry chuckle. “A lot of my addiction was unresolved issues I didn’t want to feel or think about. Now I’ve learned how to process them instead of getting high.”


Ashley is well-dressed, with clear skin and a posture relaxed almost to the point of ambivalence. The only visible cue to the traumatic history she discloses to The Fix is her flat affect and a slight unmeasurable distance in her eyes. Beyond that, she looks like any other middle-class young white woman. She admits that before she integrated regular meditation into her recovery, she struggled with frequent relapses. Although buprenorphine reduces the drug cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of opioids, people with trauma histories—like both Ashley and Jaime—may still have problems with frequent relapses when triggered.

Bessel van der Kolk, a Boston-based psychiatrist who has devoted his career to the study and treatment of trauma, says that “[trauma] lies in your body, so when you start taking drugs, you feel calmer. When you stop taking drugs, you have a dual issue: one is the withdrawal from the drug, the second is that you’re dealing with pain and trauma that’s still in the body.”

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While medication-assisted treatments like methadone and buprenorphine have been proven effective at reducing cravings and correcting some brain changes likely attributed to drug use, they don’t target traumatic responses. That’s where mindfulness comes in.

Van der Kolk says that current addiction programs in the United States tend to ignore the curative effects of becoming re-connected with one’s body. He says we need more “programs where people become familiar with their bodies. Self-regulating their bodies should be the focus of treatment because it’s bodies [that] are stuck.”

Jaime, who could easily blend in with any group of average middle-aged men, echoes Ashley. “Meditation minimizes my [drug] use thoughts. It helps me realize when I’m trying to justify doing a shot of heroin or something.” He speaks with the plain, unapologetic candor of someone who has long accepted his identity as someone with an addiction, a quality often mirrored in followers of the 12-steps; a group to which Jaime proudly belongs.

He adds, “It helps with my anxiety too—I’m not as fidgety. I’m more in tune with myself and the world around me.”

Finding something relatively simple and freely accessible that can deter relapse is no laughing matter. While it’s impossible to know for certain how many of the 42,000 opioid overdose deaths reported in 2016 can be attributed to a relapse, it is well established that using opioids after a period of abstinence can be fatal. For people on opioid agonist medications, like Ashley and Jaime, attempting to overcome the blocking effects of the treatments can also lead to a fatal overdose.

Even without the risk of death, relapse can be an emotionally debilitating experience that leads some users to discontinue treatment altogether. Most of our current treatments focus on detoxification or acute stabilization, but relapse prevention is just as important—and a recovery practice that can function as well 10 weeks into recovery as it does after 10 years could be a vital piece of the puzzle.

Crain believes that another reason meditation helps with relapse prevention—in addition to its role in repairing maladaptive stress responses—is that it encourages an intimacy with the self.

Results from some rat studies imply that social isolation plays a role in addiction. Rats who were isolated and kept in cages demonstrated more addictive behaviors than those that were housed in a social environment. The phenomenon was also observed in Vietnam vets; a large number of soldiers became addicted to heroin while overseas, but a disproportionately high number of them discontinued use when they returned home to their communities. These studies have led specialists to speculate a social component to addiction.

Crain thinks that meditation helps people in recovery fall in love with themselves, sometimes for the first time in their lives. This self-intimacy, and the concurrent production of oxytocin, colloquially called the “love hormone,” helps people integrate and bond with their social communities, which is an important aspect of addiction recovery.

Meditation is not a magical cure for addiction. Although a mindfulness meditation practice can help reform and strengthen opioid-damaged neuropathways so that they are better able to respond to stress, mindfulness alone can’t treat acute addiction or prevent someone from experiencing withdrawal. It can, however, be a powerful tool against relapse.

And lastly, as Crain says, “An addict has been hiding from suffering his whole life. With meditation, you’re embracing that suffering. You’re normalizing it.”


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SO as I close, I highly suggest this new book; Find The Seeker!: The pathless path to fulfillment and happiness that I am finishing for my recovery as being in long-term sobriety means continuing to learn and grow to a healthy and happy full life. We all are “works in progress” from addiction, being armed new education on the many ways to live a well-balanced and happy life is the way to go!
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About The Book:

Find the Seeker! by Zen Master Genro Xuan Lou, Laoshi and his pupil, Zen teacher Clifford Stevens, takes us on an inner pilgrimage, compassionately picking us up where we are, whether beginners or longstanding seekers. Based on the wisdom and profound, first-hand experience of a modern-day Master as well as the teachings of enlightened ones throughout the ages, the book reboots our spiritual search in order to renew our limiting, thought-driven, and ego-dominated lives. Focusing on the spiritual dimension underlying Existence which all of us share, the book addresses people of all faiths who suffer, are unhappy and seek to lead more fulfilling lives.

“Find the Seeker!” is not a wishy-washy, feel-good book offering a quick fix or esoteric porridge or pandering to those who want a spiritual baby rattle to rely on. Instead, it serves as a traveling companion and guide, enticing readers with the vision of what we really are – Absolute, eternal and unconditional Being, whole and divine – which can only be directly experienced and embodied. It serves as a powerful wake-up call for those who mistakenly believe in their being separate from the Oneness and living in a state of duality, reminding us that the Kingdom of God is really within us.

Although written by one of the few living Zen Masters and using some Zen stories, the focus is not on explaining Zen, its tenets or history. The book is in stark contrast to the majority of books which indulge in superficial descriptions or sayings and provide seemingly “precise” instructions, lists of goals or steps to take which trap us into continuing our dependency on intermediaries and religious institutions or our self-delusion of being less than we really are. Instead, accompanying the authors along the age-old pathless path we have always been on, we are called upon to empty ourselves and “drop” all our preconceptions and expectations and the limited “self” which thinks it has a life of its own, as well as the heavy backpack with all our experiences and learnings.

The book holds up a mirror to our worldly existence, suffering and the intricate workings of the ego, which entraps us in the never-ending soap opera and roller coaster of life’s ups and downs. We are led to live mindfully in the here-now, delve more deeply into ourselves and to be Self-reliant – enabling our inner guru to unfold our true nature so that we can abide in the one Self. In this way seekers become finders, and we can become the Oneness we already are, enjoying the vibrant bliss and lightness of Being that is inherently ours.

The book not only appeals to people interested in Zen but spiritual seekers and people of all faiths and confessions, especially those who suffer, are unhappy, and still have unanswered questions about spirituality, God, and life. As a result, it targets readers searching for books on personal development, body, mind, and spirit, self-help, spirituality and religion, Buddhism, Zen or finding happiness, especially those recovering from addictions. Please visit their website and blog for helpful information and “Weekly Wisdom” at “Find The Seeker – Weekly Wisdom.”

 

 

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

I told myself at midnight new years’ eve, I was going to write, share, and be more open and transparent about my mental health issues this year. So when I came upon this article and gave it a read, I knew I had to share it today as many of us who maintain recovery from addictions are dually diagnosed with mental health challenges like myself. And those who don’t understand what it is like to battle agoraphobia along with depression and a few other disorders I have been working through, many seem to cling to “The Stigma” around all of the ABOVE.

Now, yes, I do understand that those who have not been touched by mental or emotional problems or disorders or know or have a family or friend who does, not all people are sorry to ‘ignorant’ about these topics. However, there some who don’t think mental health problems, like Tom Cruise, even exist. HA!

I’m here to say they do and about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and more.

That is 1 in every 5 people suffer in just the United States alone. So, sorry Tom Cruise and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, YOUR WRONG. Here is an article that helps us have insights on how paralyzing “FEAR” can make us feel TRAPPED…By 

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How Fear Traps You into Being Someone You Are Not…

“The fear response is triggered when facing danger.”

The “danger” could be not measuring up to a desired or imposed standard, not getting done what you set out to do, not fulfilling expectations (your own or someone else’s), being seen as less than perfect or failing at something. There is also the “danger” of not fitting in and being noticeably different from the norm. All these fears and anxieties stem from questioning your ability to cope with life’s challenges and people’s responses to your actions.

External messages from the media and authorities are also powerful triggers of anxiety and fear. Believing the world to be a dangerous place creates a pervading sense of powerlessness that undermines your personal power and inner strength in many different ways. 

  • Fear manipulates you into forgetting how strong and competent you really are.

  • Fear negates your resilience. Feelings of helplessness trick you into believing that you do not have what it takes to tolerate hardship and bounce back from adversity.

  • Fear narrows your focus to mainly notice problems, damage, hurt or harm.

  • Fear impairs realistic thinking so the scale and likelihood of potential danger are often overestimated. Unless you live in a war zone, a dangerous neighborhood, an abusive relationship or have just experienced a significant natural disaster, most commonly assumed dangers are less prevalent or disastrous than imagined.

  • Avoidance is one of the responses to fear. Self-imposed restrictions on where you go or what you do limit your options and shrink your world.

  • Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.

  • Fear prevents you from living in the here and now. Worrying what might happen and anticipating dangers and calamities in the future removes your attention from the present, the only place where you can function to the best of your ability. Dwelling on past events instead of focusing on the present also clouds your perception to the realities and opportunities of the now.

  • Survival emotions such as anger (fight); worry, panic and anxiety (flight); depression and hopelessness (freeze) limit your emotional expression and narrow your emotional range. Negative feelings drag you down and deplete vital life force while positive emotions such as trust in yourself, courage and hope strengthen and nurture you.

  • Fear cuts you off from the flow of life and universal benevolence you could tap into.

  • Destabilized by fear you lose your firm grounding in your own power. This diminishes your ability to recognize potential agendas by external sources of fear. As a consequence, you become an easier target for manipulation and abuse.

Fear is the result of a physical mechanism involving the adrenals and various other body systems. In cases of real and acute danger, this is useful as it alerts you to the need for action.

However, the same kind of responses are also triggered by imagined danger. With the lines between real and imagined danger often blurred in modern life, fear in all its forms can become chronic. Like with ‘Agoraphobia’ or other panic type disorders.

“Tricking you into believing that you are weak and without inner resources or that a catastrophe is imminent, fear and its allies are some of the most damaging emotions to allow into your life. You have a choice what you do with your fear: stay in its thrall or make the decision not to be pulled into it and question it is associated — and usually automatic — thoughts.”

 
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There are many different ways to defuse fears. All of them involve feeling it without trying to suppress the feeling or run away from it. Like other emotions, fear follows a bell curve where it rises, peaks and eventually subsides if you stay with it as a witness rather than disappearing into it. When you have weathered the emotional storm and feel calmer, take a good look at your thoughts and the reality of the situation.

Examine your triggers and the beliefs associated with them. What is their origin, do they reflect the truth? What is your fear about? How you see yourself, how other people might think of you, what you are told about the world? What keeps you in a state of fear?

Depending on your situation, devise your own path to freedom. You may decide on “gradual exposure”, i.e. approaching a feared situation not at once but in several small increments over a number of days or weeks.

You could also draw a “fear ladder” with your “little” fears at the bottom rungs and the “big” ones on top. Begin addressing the less difficult ones and gradually work your way up. It will show you that you do not have to give in to fear and let it define your life and how you see yourself.

Enlist help and support if you need it, but ultimately no one can do this work for you. Remember, you are much stronger and more resilient than fear will allow you to know.

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About Christiana Star

Christiana is a counseling psychologist and writer with a strong focus on self-help, personal growth, and empowerment. Combining professional experience with a spiritual outlook on life, her work offers new perspectives, insights, practical tips and easy strategies that can be applied straightaway. When she is not writing, Christiana can be found in nature: tending her fruit and vegetable garden with various degrees of success or exploring Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches with her very quirky little dog.

Download the free ebook “10 Keys for Moving Forward when Life Has Changed”, receive the monthly newsletter or access her weekly blog at www.christianastar.com.


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This part of her article HIT ME, “Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.”

That is me! I feel safe in my places within my “Comfort Zone.” It truly is debilitating and then I get depressed as it feels like looking out a window as LIFE is passing by WITHOUT ME In It…

So, what role does fear play in your life? What have you found useful in overcoming fears? If you are struggling, what is your difficulty?  Please share your feelings and comments with me.  Maybe together we can help one another…


Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

How Does a Family Deal With Having A Member of The Family As An Addict At Holiday Time?

“Let’s face it. The holidays can be a stressful time for families – especially if you have a loved one with an ADDICTION. Ask for
outside help.”

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We all know that holiday time can be stressful with all the drama happening just from the season, but then add into the mic dealing with a family member as an addict can be even more stressful for everyone. So how can families deal this it? Here to help is a featured article is from the community and website of  Drug Free.Org …

They help families get answers and resources to deal with this dilemma and much more all year long. When I was still deep within my gambling addiction, I can tell you I had no idea what impact this made on my family around the holidays. All I knew as I would gamble even more in desperation to get MONEY I had lost most likely to buy gifts for family. We all know how that turned out! YOU WILL never win enough for anything, let alone for holiday gifts to make everything look NORMAL for the holidays. So let’s get some advice on how do deal with the addict at holiday time…

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First, there’s the frenzy in the air and what seems like a million things to do.  Second, our feelings are often magnified around this time. We may feel exhausted, over-committed and extra sensitive. We often expect everything to be perfect, aspiring to some idealized version of how things should be. But the truth is that life, especially with an addicted family member, can be messy and chaotic.

This can leave us feeling disappointed, frustrated or wistful.

You may feel alone – like you’re the only family in the whole world dealing with an addict and abuse issue. Please know that you are not alone. And, while it may seem impossible to enjoy yourself when a loved one’s life is out of control, there are things you can do to make yourself feel better. So why not ask for outside help from other PARENTS?

“In this season of giving, we invite you to take inspiration from these parents to take action and help make a difference for families in need.”

1. Jacqueline is volunteering as a parent coach. Jacqueline lost her son to an accidental overdose. Now she is a volunteer Parent Coach, helping other parents find healing. You can support families who are in need of one-on-one support by becoming a volunteer Parent Coach like Jacqueline or by making a gift of just $25. Your gift will allow Jacqueline and others continue to coach families and offer them hope and help for their child.

2. Cyndi is hosting a grassroots fundraiser. When Cyndi Glass lost her son Jeremy, she was determined to help ensure other families struggling with their child’s substance use find the support they need. Cyndi created Jeremy’s Run, raising money on behalf of the Partnership. You can support Cyndi’s fundraiser and others in our nationwide community of grassroots fundraisers — or you can host your own event. Whether you decided to run, walk, bike or bake, your fundraiser will provide valuable resources to families who are struggling.

3. Andrea is shopping at IGA where her purchases give back. Andrea is doing her part to end substance use simply by shopping. You can turn your holiday groceries into hope for families by shopping at your local IGA grocery store and purchasing specially marked IGA-branded products. A percentage of the products you buy goes back to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

When you shop through smile.amazon.com — and indicate the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids as your charitable organization — we receive 0.5% of your total purchases at no extra cost to you.

4. Richard is shopping through Amazon Smile where his purchases give back. Like Richard, when you shop through smile.amazon.com — and indicate the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids as your charitable organization — we receive 0.5% of your total purchases at no extra cost to you. Need a holiday gift idea? Purchase a book from our Amazon bookstore to give to a family member or friend.

5. Bill is advocating for change. Bill and his wife Margot suffered a tragic loss when their son passed away after being denied insurance benefits. Now Bill is fighting for other families to receive benefits that the law already promises to protect, and is gathering signatures for further legal action.

6. Patty is teaching her community to carry life-saving Naloxone. Patty, who lost her son Sal to an overdose, made it her mission to ensure that every police department in her county carries Naloxone to assist them in reversing opioid overdoses and saving lives.

7. Michelle is telling her late daughter’s story. Michelle’s daughter Casey said that if something were ever to happen to her, she’d want her to write an honest obituary about her struggles with addiction. When Casey died of an accidental heroin overdose, Michelle has told her story everywhere she can to help break down the stigma that prevents so many from getting help.

Continuing Care eBook

8. Jane is sharing Partnership’s resources with other parents. Jane’s son Adam is now on the road to recovery thanks to the resources she found on drugfree.org — like our Treatment eBookMedication-Assisted Treatment eBook and Continuing Care eBook. Jane called our Helpline at 1-855-378-4373 and talked with a trained and caring masters-level specialist who helped her develop a personalized action plan to help Adam. Please share our online resources and Helpline with anyone you know who is struggling with a loved one’s substance use.

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These are all amazing ways parents are reaching out and helping other parents with a loved one with an addiction. Helping others is a way to help shatter Stigma and support others in from the addiction epidemic and makes an impact on the families and our Communities! Reading is an informative way to become educated about addictions of any kind. So if you have a neighbor who has a loved one as an addict? Reach out to them this Holiday Season and see how you can help make the Season a little “Brighter.”  Download eBooks, PDF guides and more to help a loved one >>

“Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon”

 

Happy Sober, Clean, Bet Free Holiday Article Share Series. Were Getting Through Holidays Together!

Hello, And Welcome Recovery Friends and Visitors,

 

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Since this year for me has a been a bit cray – cray with co-writing a memoir with another, also book promoting for authors, advocating and recovery article writing, and guest blogging much more, I decided to do a little something different this year on my recovery blog. Most know I am passionate and adamant about being around through the Christmas and New Year holiday for those who may be struggling, need more support or feel tempted to stray maintaining recovery.

It can be a “risky” and tricky time for holiday parties, booze, desperate gambling due to lack of money for gifts, and party time means more recreational drugs around. Sad, but it is true. So I thought, why not share many Holiday articles with a mix of a few of my own this year and we help one another as a collective!

I have had some awesome guest recovery authors and articles this year and decided to share a few of them, along with some new ones I have permission to share as we all need support from as many people and places as we can get. So I will begin with an article I just read that will help with ideas of staying safe over the holidays on Sober Recovery!

*Three Reasons To Connect With A Recovery Community Through Holiday Time by  Toshia Humphries *

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The holiday season is upon us. Many are traveling to be with family while countless others gather with friends and significant others to celebrate the festive time of year. However, not everyone has a picturesque holiday experience.

The forces that could pull you into relapse tend to get stronger around the end of the year when you’re likely to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and reconvened with people who likely saw you during your addicted past. Now more than ever, it’s important to build up a support network to ensure you stick to your commitment.

Here are three reasons why you need to connect with a recovery community during the holidays.

1. Prevents isolation.

Staying connected to the recovery community can prevent isolation which is typically a precursor to relapse. Isolation can also worsen symptoms of any dual diagnosis such as depression, anxiety, and other mood or personality disorders. All of these can escalate to relapse, accidental overdose or even suicide.

2. Provides a sense of family.

Staying in touch with the recovery community allows for a substitute family experience if family holidays are not possible due to either death, distance, or estranged. And, if the family is an option, the family dynamics make relapse more probably, the recovery community can act as a chosen family; one that is ideally far more supportive and less dysfunctional.

The recovery community is also equally as necessary for those who have families and enjoy being around them. In fact, possibly more so, as it is easy for those individuals to forget they need the recovery community or recovery itself. Often, these individuals begin to think that sobriety alone is enough—it’s not.

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3. Keeps you active in recovery during the holidays.

Staying connected to the recovery community keeps you active in your recovery throughout the holiday season. It provides consistency and gentle reminders that relapse has nothing to do with having a dysfunctional family. It has to do with you. And, if you were an active addict with a picturesque family, then you could easily be in relapse with the same.

The key to getting through the holiday season is not to lose sight of your recovery. Staying connected to your recovery community keeps you plugged into that recovery process, keeps you accountable and allows you to do the same for others. Most importantly, it serves as prevention against relapse and provides everyone with a sense of family, even if they don’t have one of their own.

For these reasons and more, staying connected to the recovery community throughout the holidays is a life-saving choice for everyone. Wishing you all a happy and safe recovery throughout the holiday season!

~ Author/Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~

 

 

 

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

I Am Happy To Welcome Author & Writer Lisa Boucher To My Recovery Blog For A Thanksgiving Special Interview.

Happy Thanksgiving and Welcome to “Recovery Starts Here” Special Author/Writer Interview. My name Catherine Lyon, Author and Advocate.  I know I am a little overzealous as I just bought Lisa’s new book titled; “Raising The Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” released just this past June 2017.

By the title, you may know some of what her book is about. But from all the 5-star Amazon reviews, there much more. And there is nothing like giving some practical and sound advice about alcohol and stopping alcoholism before it starts or happens.

Today though, we are going to learn more about who Lisa is and the “writer side” of her. So I hope you enjoy this “Special Interview” with Lisa Boucher.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

 

Share a little of what you do?
I am the author of 5 books and an RN. My first 4 books were novels, and my current book,
Raising the Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture” is nonfiction.

I’ve worked in all sorts of departments at the hospital: ER, telemetry, medical, neuro, and psych. To be honest, my true love is the writing biz but that doesn’t pay that well at the moment, so a girls’ gotta have a day job!


Where were you born and raised? Youngstown, OH


Tell us more about you? (Like your education, family, hobbies.)
I have a nursing degree and a BA in English. Have always been crazy about animals. I used to have a quarter horse, Sham, who I loved almost as much as I do my twin sons. I love to cook, I’m part Italian, so food is a big deal in our family. I also garden, and like Cat, love to feed and watch the birds.


Do you have any latest news?
I do! Raising the Bottom recently won the 2017 Best Book Award in the category of Women’s Health, and it was a finalist in addiction/recovery category. I also am looking forward to 
Shape Magazine, yes, the Shape Magazine, to run a piece that I contributed to that and will be on their online magazine.

I was also interviewed by a writer at Epoch Times, so I look forward to reading what he put together. I wish I had a specific date, but from what my publicists told me, it should run late November or early December. It may even be out by the time Cat publishes this!



Anything we should know besides you as an Author & Writer?
I’ve been sober 28 years. I am certainly no prohibitionist, but I am troubled by the “women & wine” culture that seems to be a bit over the top. Let’s not forget the kids of these women. There’s nothing funny about a drunk mom. Ask any child who has one.




Do you like writing?
I love it. It’s a process and can be crazy and maddening and frustrating sometimes, but it’s who I am. I am a writer.




When and why did you begin writing?
Honestly, I heard a voice–an audible voice in my kitchen one day. I had just graduated from nursing school, back in 1994. I was home alone one day and musing about my life, my purpose. Was nursing it? A voice came through as loud and clear as if my husband was standing in the room, but he nor my small twins were home. The voice said–”Now I want you to write a book.” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have a computer at the time.


What inspired you to write your first book? God.

 

How did you come up with the title?
I can’t remember, it was a long time ago.  I guess it just came to me like my titles usually do. I have a writer’ly quirk that I can’t seem to write a thing until I do have the title.



Do you have a specific writing style?
No. With the novels, I just let it go and then do lots of cutting and pasting! With RTB, I did try to at least plan out the chapters.




How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story is about my alcoholic mother; our family; my getting sober early in my disease. I then interviewed 10 other women and they shared their story. I focused on women people would never suspect they had a problem. High bottom women whose bottom was mostly internal: doctors, nurses, mother and grandmothers, young women.

I also did a chapter for the kids, “What Your Kids Say about You and Your Drinking. I feel they never get to have a voice, so I wanted to give them one. I also did a chapter, “Doctors, Nurses and Health Care.” There is so much that goes on behind the scenes at the hospitals and people have no clue. Healthcare has changed so much, and not for the better. The hospitals & some doctors, they want customers, not cures.


To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I didn’t have to travel since I was local, but I did write some of it in Bimini. Bimini is a tiny island in the Bahamas and not much goes on there. It’s a perfect place to write. Ernest Hemingway wrote some of “Islands in the Stream” there.


Who designed the cover?
She Writes Press had a design/illustrator do it.




Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Well, it’s not a novel, but I think every person knows someone who drinks too much. It’s a book for all, whether or not you drink–you know someone who does. Forewarned is Forearmed!


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favorite?
I have so many books in my reading pile. I’m reading Erik Larson, and my favorite right now is David Foster Wallace. He was brilliant but sadly, committed suicide at the age of 46. He was an amazingly gifted writer. Such a tragedy.



Outside of family members, name one person that supported your commitment to becoming a published author?
Well, not many. I really didn’t talk about it all that much. It seems that if you mention you’re writing a book, everyone chimes in and says me too! I wonder how many of those people will actually finish a book. It was such a tough long road, and still is, so I didn’t talk too much about writing with people other than my family. Of course, people knew I wrote, I just didn’t look to them for support.

 


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m pleased with the way it turned out. Of course, if I sat and thought hard about it I would come up with something, but why make myself crazy? It’s too late to change anything so it is what it is and I think it’s pretty darn good. I did the best I could, and I know my writer’s voice came through strong & clear in “Raising the Bottom.”




Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Oh, my goodness yes! With each book, my writing got better and better. I grew as a writer.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
No, I can’t act. Can’t see that at all!



Any advice for other writers?
Keep plugging away. I think if it’s for you to write, you’ll write. I tried to walk away from it so many times, but it seems I kept getting pulled back. If you can walk away from writing and be happy and never miss the agony of it all, you’re probably not a writer. But, if you keep writing even when the journey looks so dark, you’re a writer. We can’t not write. Period.


Will you write another book?
If God wills it, I believe I will. I have some ideas already, but I’m not ready to start another book yet.




What are you reading now?
Just finished *your) Cat’s book: “
Addicted to Dimes, Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat.”  (what a journey she had, but survived and came out stronger on the other side!).

I’m also reading Anatomy of an Epidemic” by Robert Whitaker.
He’s an investigative reporter and writes about the destructive nature of big Pharma: What he learned mirrors my experiences of what I’ve seen going on in the hospitals for 24 years. The pills doctors prescribe are ruining lives. It’s so sad to see lives destroyed by all the drugs they put people on. I’ve watched lives spiral down to the depths of despair, all because of the RX’s.


Do you remember the first book you read?
Anything Nancy Drew! I Think was the first series type books I can remember.

 

Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jesus, & Michelangelo. Can you think of two more interesting people?

CAT: LOL… I have to agree about meeting Jesus to ask, What’s It All About? And the other person….hhhhmmmmm, ELVIS! To let him know how bad The Drug Epidemic has gotten…And some to blame is like his Doctor, Over Prescribing Pain Meds and Anxiety Meds too!

 

Favorite Music and Color?
hmmm, that’s a hard one. I like Norah Jones and soothing instrumental music. In my car–I’m a country girl and love the old county music of Wille, Waylon, Kris Kristofferson, Cash, Tammy Wynette. Yeah, the old stuff!
Colors: Turquoise or Black.

 

What do you want to be written on your headstone as part of your Legacy?
Something about healing. I’ve worked with women for 28 years, and I know I’ve been blessed to have been a part of their healing. I also want to leave a legacy of having a bit of grit. The world can be a hard place, but we can be all right if we take God with us.  

 

“One of Lisa’s Favorite Place? ~ Palermo, Sicily – Italy!”

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Do you have a blog or website? Where can readers connect with you on Social Media? Sure do! WebsiteRaising The Bottom.


I’m on Twitter & Instagram: @LBoucherAuthor  – My Book Available on Amazon online.
  – FB page: Lisa Speaks of Raising The Bottom



I Thank you, Kim, for allowing me to share YOU with my readers and blog visitors. We all will enjoy learning all about you as a writer. WHAT an Honor it is to have you with us!

WISHING YOU and all my blog readers, friends, and visitors a very HAPPY, Healthy, and Sober THANKSGIVING! May God Bless You…



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Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

 

Vance Johnson, Former NFL Pro, Father, Sober Coach, and Many Share and Reach Out To Him…

Vance Johnson, Former NFL Pro, Father, Sober Coach, and Many Share and Reach Out To Him…

Hello, Friends, Readers, Denver Fans, and New Visitors,

Well, we have gotten Vance over his writer’s block… And is why I have not posted in awhile. Today I wanted to share a little about Vance, the man today. WE also wanted to share some of the messages he receives on Facebook almost every day of those he has helped from addiction, looking for help, or maybe a parent whose child is an addict and is just looking for some support or guidance on how to help their loved one. Sharing these are powerful and helps others have a little more understanding of HOW Addictions are killing our loved ones and ravaging our communities.

And with all the coaching, speaking around the country, and events Vance attends, he is seeing this First Hand. It is some of why he does what he is doing. GOD truly had a calling, a faith-driven purpose for his life years ago when he was laying in a hospital bed in a coma for 26 days in the Rock Bottom of his own addiction.

Having Triumphed in his own recovery is how he can now help so many from this EPIDEMIC. Here now is some of those messages he receives.

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We wanted to share this from Vance’s inbox message on Facebook as he received this from a young lady who calls herself Anonymous. HE, of course, knows who she is so we won’t be sharing her name, but her message is POWERFUL…

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The Message From Anonymous:

 

Three weeks ago, after 2 amazing years of sobriety, I was found barely alive in my car. I’ve been thinking about writing this every day since then for you to share Mr. Johnson. My name is anonymous.

I must remain anonymous to preserve my family’s privacy. What you think of me, is not their fault. I’m 27 years old. The mother of 3 young boys. The fiancé of a hard-working, loving man. The daughter of 2 wonderful, supportive parents. The granddaughter of 2 amazing grandparents who I look up to every day. My days are built around my children. I wake up before them, get clothes ready, make their breakfast, clothe them, send them off to school and preschool programs. I kiss their boo-boos and tuck them in every night with a hug and kiss. We sit on the floor and play, cuddle and watch movies, make crazy art projects. I have wonderful friends. We go to playgrounds and out for ice cream.

My fiancé and I make a point to love each other every day. I love spending time with my family and hosting holidays at our home. I anticipate the change of the seasons and find so much joy in the change they bring. I love to write and to get lost in my books. I am so many things, understand. I am also a heroin addict.

Behind every move, I make there is an uneasiness within my family. I’ve spent years clean to fall back at the feet of my demons. Gained back years of trust to lose it all in one day. I fight every day to be a better person. To be honest with every word that I speak, to walk past your purse without even thinking about what’s in there. I know where and how to get high, but I don’t. I chose to live every day, but that wasn’t always the case. I’ve wrecked cars, stole, created my own list of various criminal charges.

I’ve disappointed everyone in my family. My name is anonymous…to protect myself from what you might think of me if you knew. I sit next to you at public functions. Volunteer next to you. My well-behaved, well-mannered children play next to yours. I stand in front of you at the grocery store. I hold the door for you with a smile. If I told you I was a heroin addict, you probably wouldn’t believe me. But there are millions of people out there who look just like me, sitting next to you. Think about this the next time you are feeling hateful towards addicts because we’re people who have just as much to offer. Narcan saved my life and allowed me to have another chance to do things right.

My name is anonymous because I’m still waiting for the world to open their hearts and stop looking down on me.

Annonymous…


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One More Share:

VANCE: Last night I had a call that has emotionally put me behind bars. Once again I know first hand how the people I’m called to help feel when making decisions regarding issues that keep the family in bondage to addiction, every day. This hits home and cuts to the heart.

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There is on occasion when moms and dad’s ask me what options they have when their adult children face jail or even death because of the poor decisions they’re making. Whether he/she is using drugs, selling, lying, stealing, cheating or hanging around a crowd that will eventually take them down. There is TUFF love… I generally ask moms and dads to choose the middle of the road when it comes to free themselves from their adult child’s poor choices. One of many is a home, but no money, and when they need help show them the way with conditions. 


Not protecting them from their choices I think is good practice, because they have been protected for a long long time, you may still be currently supporting them. Reassuring yourself that this lifestyle is their choice, also helps you feel less guilty about cutting down or cutting off financial support. We should replace nagging and yelling with clear communication.

Be confident about your boundaries and be able to say “no” when you’re feeling manipulated. Be done with enabling but still ready to help.

Our adult children are struggling with life, unable to cope with everyday challenges. Many return home from rehab lost and confused in some cases. Can’t hang out with old friends, relationships or even work because they don’t know who they are anymore, not recognizing that they haven’t developed the necessary emotional tools to succeed as an adult in the world of work and relationships. What can you do as a parent?

Many facilities that offer treatment don’t care what happens to them when they leave. No exit plan or resources for ongoing treatment. So do your homework guys. Recently I’ve seen young men that are in transition/halfway homes after being released from jail with no resources for staying clean or accountable, outside of “if you screw up, back to jail or prison”.


YES, this one is personal, so loving all of you who face this with me today. I’m looking in the mirror tonight myself, asking “did I do enough”!

And there is sobriety in that!
www.vanceInspires.com

 


***Yes, Vance is more than just a man in Recovery***

If you or a loved one needs help from addiction? Please visit his website Vance Inspires …  “As a certified sober coach, escort, and intervention I am able to offer multiple options getting your love-one the care they need”…Vance

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