Friday, May 8, 2015

My Mamma

                                                         My Mamma was a tiny little thing,with a big heart.My Mamma was also an chronic opioid user,at a time when little was known about Opioid abuse and even less was known how to treat it.Add alcohol to the mixture..death on an installment plan.
Her Story will be familiar to many,it all started after a Motorcycle Accident when she broke her back.Pain Pills and More Pills...and more pain pills.
    She was Stunning,the beauty of a Movie Star.I remember when I was very young,watching her get ready for the day,not a hair out of place and lipstick glided across her lips perfectly.Then she would take a kleenex and pucker her lips around it to get off any excess.I would then say " Mamma do I look like you ? No,You look like your father".Everyday I would ask the same question,anticipating she'd say " Yes you do !".I wanted so much to look like her,Natural raw beauty.
   As I grew older subtle changes started to appear,in her appearance,her speech,her day to day routine.
Roles began to reverse,being the oldest my new role became caregiver,to her,my younger siblings.
 Daily trips to the drug store to buy over the counter pills with Codeine.A bottle of 80 and a package of gravol to prevent them from making her sick.I realized ,after awhile this was reason for the changes happening to her.I attempted,begged many times for her to stop,But she wouldn't..I know now..Couldn't.
She had the Disease of Addiction.That vile, cruel disease that steals our Mamma's,Father's and Children.
 She was always the first to help out a neighbor, a family member in need,bring them a casserole,Home made biscuits.She was also a great cook and baker !In return we found out later..she would slip into their medicine cabinet and slip their pills into her pocket. She emptied our piggy banks,my dad's pockets...borrowed money to pay for her " habit".So many shared these stories with me...After she died.
 We attempted to get her help.I refused to buy her pills anymore,she would then send my younger siblings to the drugstore with a note...and they would arrive home with them in hand.I phoned the pharmacy to went on deaf ears.I phoned our family doctor..please don't write any more scripts for pain pills.He would promise to talk to her...He did..there, there, have to stop taking these as he handed her another script.She would con her co-workers into giving her something from the med carts..Then they would call me to come get her, as she was too "sick" to work.
  When we would rush her to the hospital after an overdose,we thought great..she would get help..Nope..she would open her eyes..look at us kids standing around the bed and say " Darn,I was hoping I would never wake up".
 I felt such guilt and fear ,leaving to start my own life.
 She died quite young in today's standards,after she developed a Chronic disease and her once beautiful body was unable to fight off any more assaults.Her severely damaged organs finally let her down.She finally got her wish,died in her sleep with massive amounts of pain medications.
 I loved her sooo much,she had many many wonderful quality's,which Addiction slowly eroded away.
I remember on Mother's Day ,I would always go overboard.Naively thinking if I showed her how much I loved her,she would stop.She didn't..I know, she knew, how much I loved her..and I knew ,how much she loved me...But she was sick..with Addiction..and Addiction won.

Happy Mother's Mamma...xoxo
P.S. I do look like my Mamma...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Knock Knock

For the next month our streets..News feeds,TV's and Newspapers will be full of faces, all vying for your vote.

Get engaged..

This is your opportunity to make your voice heard.

Addiction is stealing a whole generation of our Children..If we, as a community ,don't speak up, it will continue.

When they come knocking at your door..Ask the tough questions.

I am always amazed, how little, people understand about the epidemic ,we have exploding on our not so Gentle Island.

We have an Opportunity with our small size to be leaders in Addiction and Mental Health.To show the rest of Canada, what compassion, empathy and investment ,in our most vulnerable, can accomplish !!

We are known to be one of the most generous Provinces, when it comes supporting causes,Runs,Telethons,Food banks etc.

Addiction does not have Luxury of Tapping into those resources.Addiction is hidden..silenced..It is the Black Sheep of diseases,Not something people want to lend their name too.

Yet here we are,Thousands suffering in silence.We need to embrace Addiction and Mental Health as we do all the other diseases that Kill people.It Does Kill.We need to ask the tough questions,demand better treatment,take it out of the dark where it doesn't belong and out into the light to save lives.Stop the Stigma and Shame !

We need more education..programs for the front line staff at the hospitals..Addiction Centers..Mental Heath Facilities..Jails..,Those who deal with our children.WE need to make them feel like human beings with a Disease instead of second class citizens,who deserve what they get !!!

We need an In-Patient Rehab..Not just for youth..But for adults also.Evidence tells us that an intensive 90 day In-Patient Program is the best start of a good treatment plan.

We need more Recovery Homes, to help them move on to the next step..Getting their life back !!
Evidence tells us the brain needs to heal..circuits need to reconnect..Wounds need to heal..They need to re learn how to live..This takes time..they need new skills..learn to love themselves them a reason to live.

We need Treatment in the Jails,Since that's where many end up..If your not going to offer treatment instead of incarceration..Then you had better offer it to them in the Jails..Do you really believe simply throwing them in jail for 30,60,90 days for petty crimes, that is in fact ,a" symptom" of their disease, is treatment ??...or a deterrent ??..where 90 percent are in there for addiction related crimes.That is the perfect place to initiate a treatment plan..I'm not talking support programs..Support programs work best  DURING and AFTER treatment..Treatment isn't throwing them in hole to detox on their own for days on end..That's inhumane!! How's that tactic been working for ya by the way..NOT

Education in the schools...Not the "JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS" But Peer to Peer..That's who they are going to listen to..again Evidence shows us this is the most successful programing !

Pick anyone of these..or one of your own..But let's come together as a Community..a Province..and make our voices heard at the door for those who can't speak for themselves.Let's educate the Politicians..All of the above are cost saving for them ,in both the short term and long term.

A Young Woman explained to me, recovering from Addiction is like awakening from a coma..Yes she was detoxed..Body clean of drugs..But her brain was still badly damaged..and her body and soul badly broken..She had re learn skills all over again..She had to come to terms with her actions, when the addiction hijacked her brain  thinking of one..but to get that next fix.As her brain slowly healed..She was awakened to the all the casualties this disease had caused.Through in-patient treatment that encompassed both her disease and mental health,Followed by 6 months in recovery,And on going support programs in the community she is now living a productive,Fulfilling life.She's knows she will never be cured but feels she has all the tools to remain in recovery and move on with Life!!

Are we Compassionate enough,As Islanders to offer all those suffering with Addiction and Mental Health the same opportunity ?

I Think so...xo

Ask The Questions..Educate Them !

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

Another Holiday..As far as I have come in my own recovery, I wonder if we ever truly fully recover, from our child's turbulent journey..

Most of us are sentimental creatures..We love to think back on holidays past..when are children were small and we loved to see the excitement in their eyes,The family gatherings and so much love and laughter.That's what memories are of..The Happy Times..Family.

Addiction changes those memories.

This Easter my son is in recovery,but we all know this can change.. at anytime ...and the cycle starts again.We must learn to make new memories. 

I wish this Journey on no parent.Every now and again the nightmares come back.Last night was one of those nights.I actually had to open his door to make sure he was there.

I guess that's what brought me here today..

Never give up hope..
Miracles happen everyday..
Today we celebrate a Miracle..xoxo

Happy Easter

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Should Recovery Homes be Charged ?

Ok..Mamma's on a rant !!

I just read an article with the headline" Should Enablers Be Charged With Involuntary Manslaughter ?"
I refuse to link to it and give them more hits then they deserve( as they no doubt, get paid by the number of hits) but the utter absurdity of it makes my blood boil !! Pssst..If you do come across it,don't bother leaving a negative comment on it because it won't be published ( ask me how I know ).
This is a site that is well developed to the eyes..But it is a site that promotes recovery homes..not an educational site on addiction..with facts or scientific based evidence.It is a money maker..Billions, I might add for private enterprise on the backs and lives of OUR children !

The writer of this post gets paid !!!  A person in recovery herself, who early on, developed a following from other parents, reaching out to them for help,Reading their poems,story's posted on every online group or facebook group going.

I'm not going to pick apart the article,I refuse to give them that much attention !!

My purpose is too speak to parents.Please Please educate yourself on Addiction !! Please work on your own recovery ,so leeches like this will NOT take advantage of you..Advantage of your Child who is ill with a disease/disorder..Addiction is not a crime..It is a health issue  !! They don't care about us or our children..They want your money.Do your homework on these sites..these homes that offer false claims..false hope..when your desperate to help your child! There are many good homes out there..Do your homework!!

I'm sure I may have shared this story before,But I'm sharing it again.
A mother confided in me, her family spent 38,000 dollars to send her son to an "Supposedly" upscale rehab for a 28 day stay..Full of promises..Two days in her son left..It was a week before she found out ( her son finally called her..NOT the rehab).When she contacted the place to ask why she wasn't informed..Confidentiality was the reason given!!!!! The reason became quite clear in her next Question,What about any refund due since he only stayed 2 days!! NOPE no refund..It was his choice to leave.Yes he can come back..for another 38,000..his bed that was paid for 28 days) ?..that he left..has been taken. Not bad money they made in 2 days 76,000 dollars !! It was only 1 week into the month.There are many good rehabs,recovery homes,programs out there..Some are free!!! Others a minimum amount..Just do your homework !!

These are people who should be charged with  Manslaughter..Not Involuntary ,as they know EXACTLY what their doing..Ask them for the stats..Ask them how many of their residents are still in recovery after their 28 day stays.They won't share that info..Why ? Because they don't track them..Why ?..Because they don't care..Why ? Because they just want your money!! Why ? Because your Child just didn't want it bad enough..Bull sh*t !!

This Article,( If you hadn't already guessed) Made my stomach sick !! Bullying and Fear mongering at it's finest.To have a broken parent ( just as sick as their child) believe, that they could be charged in the future for enabling.. Sending them into panic mode to one of their homes to be saved....Ludicrous!!! Leaving parents to believe..yet again..It's their fault..BULL !! Most of all.. Shame on these parents selling themselves out to these criminals by writing articles for them !!!!

Please get educated on addiction..Please get yourself well..xoxo                                                                                                                    I'm beginning to really hate that word "Enabler" !!!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Just Say No ?

As I scanned the pages of our morning paper waaay down in left hand corner,of an inside page was a small IMPORTANT blurb.

Prescription Pills drug of choice.
A major concern to us the RCMP.

" What concerns us the most about pills, is how quickly young people are getting addicted to them and the desperation they get ,once they are addicted,to acquire more pills and the type of offences they are prepared to do in the short term to feed their habit."

Addiction is a Disease/Disorder of the brain.We can't pray,wish,jail, or ignore it away.If those things worked we wouldn't be in the epidemic we are today !!

It needs to be treated..We need resources..many many resources..what works for one does not work for someone else.

We know, " Just say NO" is not working.

We know, that in a very very short time..popping pills..leads to snorting..which leads to Injecting..which leads to death.

We know throwing them in jail is not working.In A small population like ours they all know one another.They are bunking with their dealer.They are learning new ways to beat the system.Make new contacts.There is no treatment in jail.Incarceration is not treatment and yet we expect them to emerge from jail, full of piss and vinegar to embrace this new life of being drug free.With no treatment to help them develop strategy's to pull this off.Sending them to treatment would be a much a better plan..We tell them if nothing changes..nothing changes..But yet..the Judicial system does the exact same thing..If nothing changes..nothing changes..Offer them treatment for god's sake!!

We can't educate them with scare tactics and telling them just say NO.I think we have all used those tactics with cookies..Cookies are bad for you...they'll ruin your supper..NO you can't have a cookie.They know cookies taste good..If it tastes good,how can it be bad ? As they sneak that cookie when our backs are turned.That's the same adolescent ( not mature) brain we are dealing with in educating them in the schools.It doesn't,(and the proof is in the streets,the jails,and the graveyard) work.How we educate them needs to change.Let's try letting those in recovery,those who just a few years ago where sitting at those desks,do the education.Instead of a parent..a person in authority.. We know at those ages they are more influenced by their peers then the are by those in authority. Lets let the experienced , The peers,paint the picture for them.

Let's be more educated ourselves..Like we are about others diseases our children develop.
Let's be less judgemental and more compassionate.
Let's be more empathic and less critical.
Let's work our own recovery and support ,encourage them to work theirs.
Let's do this together ,
Let's be heroes instead of victims...xo

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

They Did It Their Way

I received a phone call last night from a dear friend of my fathers.I always thought of him as an uncle as he was always around our home.He is ruff and gruff,tells it like it is,but has a heart of gold.He had just recently heard about my son's battle with addiction.He hesitated to reach out,not wanting to appear nosy.I assured him,I was very grateful for his call..and any insight he had I would love to hear.

You see he has been in AA for 45 Years,Just picking up his 45 yr chip before Christmas.Amazing...

He asked about my son,His drug of choice,how long he been on journey through hell and then he asked how I was.Not your everyday conversation but I was curious to listen to what advice,wisdom he could share.

He started out by saying AA/NA is not for everyone ( gasp).This coming from a 45 yr.AA man shocked me to no end.It wasn't for your father,This I knew.It worked for me,It saved my life.I took what I needed and left the rest.Your father wasn't me,He was very private and quiet ( except when he was drinking).I would drag him with me to the meetings and watch his legs shake,his eyes staring at the clock on the wall,fidgeting the whole time.I knew deep down he wasn't feeling comfortable but I figured eventually he would see the error of his way and embrace the 12 steps.He never did.He did it his way,Like the old Frank Sinatra Song " I did it My Way".

I see alot of your Father in your son,I had to agree, he is almost a carbon copy, personality wise.He will find his way.Just support whatever way that is,he'll work it out on his own.He learned that,he said, from my father.There is no room for judgement when we all have a common goal...To Live..To get our life back..To be once again in control of our Lives.

I shared with him that my son was in recovery thanks to Methadone.I waited..for the conversation to take a downward turn..He never missed a beat..He actually started to cry..He was so relieved to hear he was in recovery..And see..He's doing it his way!! I was so scared he was going to Judge him..But he didn't..He added that many of his fellow AA members had taken Antabuse ( a Dr.prescribed medication) To get off the booze..He was glad methadone was working for my son.Whatever works !!

It made my heart sing to hear him say those words , 45 years later and he supports whatever works.He continued on to say everyone was different,their poisons were all different.Some are easier to overcome than others.You know, when my life was quickly going to hell in a handbasket,the one constant in my life was my Mother,she never gave up on me..And I put her through hell...Well I lost it then..I hear this so often..and I know we can never give up, We can offer support or advocate. I agreed with him and said,I understand some people chant"Give it to God"..But God gave him to us..for a reason..there is a no return Policy when it comes to our children !!!!.I will always keep My sons matter what..

He is taking my son out for coffee next celebrate recovery..Their way..xo

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Taking Our Kids Back

As I popped on the Internet this morning, the latest news feed was a mile long.It was the top one that caught and held my attention.It was actually from a group I thought I had left,because of all the fighting among the member's.

The message however was a strong one.It was asking all mother's to Unite in Taking back our Kids.

I never went to the site to view the comments as I knew they would be full of so many opinions on that statement." They have to want it themselves" " Just give it to god" " He is evil "" I can't save him" etc.

 I myself, continue to work on my own recovery,Like my son's, it is and will be a lifelong process.Over the time I have left many groups,stopped following certain blogs,Joined more groups,searching for like minded parents such as myself.I also still follow blogs that aren't like minded because they keep me on my toes.They also have taught me many things,Like my son's recovery I take what I need and leave the rest.

We are all fighting the same Devil..Addiction.

Let's Do Our Part, To bring Our Kids Back
There is much we can't help our children with.No we can't save them,But we can be part of the solution that may lead them to recovery.

The most important step is getting healthy yourself,For me I found the healthier I got,The better my son got.
The main steps for we parents, are the Obvious ones.Not enabling,set up rules and boundary's.Always ask yourself is this helping my child...or feeding the Addiction.Each and everyone of us can do our part in Taking back our Kids.

It does not have to be holding a sign and standing in protest,There are many who can't do that.It does not have to be speaking out in pulblic,Public speaking is not everyone's cup of Tea.It is not founding a self help-group,Starting a blog,researching for new ways to unlock the brain of those suffering from addiction,Fighting for better treatment,recovery homes or writing new laws to protect our children.It does not have to be any of these things.

  • It can be as simple as writing a letter to your local government represenitive,Your city counselor.
  • It can be giving to a foodbank,A homeless shelter,Offering a warm blanket or a meal to somesones child,hoping someone else is doing the same for yours.
  • It can be supporting them in the treatment of Their Choice..Most importantly,being there if that choice fails and encouraging them to try a different path.
  • It can be keeping them close..texting,calling,leave a message with those 3 powerful words" I love You"
  • It can be driving them to treatment and visiting them on family days.
  • It Can be Admitting when your wrong..and zipping it when your right

It can be a hundred small things,but you can't do it if your full of anger,fear,So sick you can't get out of bed,uneducated about the disease of addiction.

You can't do anything if you don't lift yourself up and start recoverying yourself,That is the first and most important step.

You have to give to yourself first,before you can give to someone else..but you can do it..Just as our children can do step at a time.

Let's do our part...take our kids healing ourselves first...xoxo

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Different Roles In Addiction

As I read blogs,research papers,self help groups,papers on addiction etc. I often wonder how I survived without a psychologist ,A social worker,A youth worker, A psychiatrist !
I grew up with an alcoholic father and an a mother who was addicted to opioids.I was the oldest and just assumed the role of both parents..or either,when situations arose in regards to my younger siblings.It was just the way it was.It was my norm, and I just accepted that fact.

I had a wonderful supportive extended family,not that they took over any these roles,but they would call..or visit..bring meals..ask if I needed anything..took us out of the situation when needed..all the time, never acknowledging the problems verbally,out loud, within our family unit.

I learned survival skills..responsibility..compassion..empathy..I sat in the rooms with my father giving him proud of his mom received no help , as they would just write more scripts for pills..sell her over the counter after day, without a question..or any concern..even after 3 OD' one said a word..pump out her stomach,medicate her,write her another script..send us on our way.

My point is did I grow up without any baggage..without any professional help!

My only conclusion was I didn't know any was, what it was and I just did what was needed for our family.Yes, it was dysfunctional in today's buzz words..but it was my norm.there was also a lot of love..there were good times,times of sobriety for my father,times when my mom wasn't completely zoned out,we took family vacations..Both my parents gave whatever they could to help out a friend,a neighbour,a stranger,Every Sunday we sat in church.

It wasn't until I had children of my own that I knew..promised myself..promised children would not grow up like that..and they didn't.They grew up in normal,loving,nurturing family,with rules and boundary's and responsibility.

I guess my question has always been, as I now journey alongside my son with his disease of Addiction..How in the hell did I get through this with my parents..unscathed!!

I will not be so lucky on this journey,this time.

They say knowledge is power,It is also heart wrenching !

The drugs of my parents choosing, were not the same in volume, or in potency ,of my sons.

The fear,the helplessness,the knowledge..Oh the knowledge..In knowing, I could lose my child,cannot be compared.There is no greater love than of a mother for her child.

I will not let it defeat me,I will keep researching,I will keep on loving,I will continue to keep him close.I will cheer lead whatever path he chooses to maintain his recovery.I will share,Loudly..our story.I will continue to advocate,support,reach out to others on the same Journey.I will continue to heal,So I never..never again be taken to my knees in such devasting fear,.Yes, I will come out of this one a wee bit battered and bruised..but
not defeated !! I do pray for other Families,Those who live with this disease..God bless us all..xo

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dear AA/NA

This is a not so short and not so sweet post,I am so angry and disappointed.Just answer me this question,and,It had better be an intelligent,evidence based answer!

Why would any AA/ NA group refuse young Men and Women,Their hard earned chips,when they find out they are on MATS??
A young Man/Woman who, during "treatment",was driven daily to NA/AA meetings,visited daily in rehab by NA/AA..given the books,welcomed with open arms,loved  by those members who stated "seeing these youth's smiling faces in recovery make our day". BUT never told " By the way,if you take MAT ( medication assisted treatment), you are not welcome??? When they KNOW 80 percent in the Center are taking them!!!

Never miss meetings,worked their steps with every bit of sincerity as the next person,turned their life around 100 percent,Tell Me Why don't they deserve their Fcuking Chip???

  Their not clean ? They are on a medication for a disease,They're NOT high.We encourage our Youth to attend NA/AA,It has an important "Support" place in their recovery, AND this is the result,time and time again.
  YOUR freaking higher power is WAY different than mine.Mine does not JUDGE.Mine hung around with Thieves and prostitutes,Murders, don't tell me MAT is a crutch,Cause you know what ? I love crutches.They help people walk again ! I love Band aids.They help our sores heal !

Any Adult who has walked this road of Addiction and refuses a young or any person who" is" in RECOVERY,A GD well earned Chip,Needs to work his freakin steps again.Cause he missed a whole lot !!.
Example :
AA:"The Big BOOK"
 No A.A. member should “play doctor”; all
medical advice and treatment should come from a
qualified physician.

Drug Replacement
By definition, drug replacement is used for a differ-
ent reason than prescribed medications for mental or
physical health. This distinction makes drug replace-
ment a separate issue for us in NA. When it comes to
those who participate in drug replacement, it is helpful
to remember that our Third Tradition clearly states that
membership in NA is established when someone has a
desire to stop using or when they choose to become a
member, not when they are clean. No matter what the
issue, groups are still charged with the goal of welcom-
ing each person who walks into a meeting.

They earned that Chip. A few years ago a young man shared with me a story, about himself, and his to recovery on MAT and being refused his chip.I dug out one of my fathers chips and personally gave him his one year chip.I know, My Dad, would gladly give it up to this young man ,who rightly deserved it.Cause that's the kind of AA/NA MAN he was.Shame on you!

Bill W was a very progressive man,I have no doubt he would be rolling in his grave seeing what happened, and happens everyday within these groups.Remember folks AA/NA is not treatment..It is a support group.

P.S. Do not tell them to find another another meeting,This is a common theme among our youth who attend "Different" meetings.There must be someone willing to stand up and speak for these youth.Times are changing folks and our kids are dying.Be part of the solution Please, Please ,not the problem.They are devastated! I will forever choke on the words,Seek a NA/AA Support group it will help in your recovery.When, I know in my heart,this will be the reward for your recovery, None !