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Saturday, December 31, 2016

What is your resolution?

      
  Have you made the necessary changes in your Recovery to change what you didn't like about the previous year? Are you going to strengthen what you are good at that made the previous year great for you? What are you grateful for? These are questions I build off of every time I go into a new year sober & clean. What is my resolution? It has been six beautiful years of consistent change and lessons learned. The term, " made it" is not what I think of when it comes to Recovery. I would say, " Doing it" everyday one moment at a time is more appropriate. I have not gone through this year without my fair share of  tragic losses. I would say the loss of friends has always be the worst loss of my 6 years of freedom from drugs and alcohol. The numbers keep rising and sometimes hope seems like only a word we say for not having a true answer to stop the overdoses.
         There is hope though, a lot of it. I see it in the volunteers helping others no matter what. The drop-in centers and the Angels that man them. The Police volunteers that spearhead the community groups in order to help our friends and family. I am grateful and hopeful through those actions and people. The strength and perseverance they show through some hard times has been nothing short of amazing .  I don't believe in bad years just bad moments. I also don't believe that you cannot change those things. You have that ability  whether it be through your faith, network, hard work, and or determination and will. It takes more muscles to frown then it does smile. Finding meaning in tragedy and turn that  into triumph for you and your fellowship is what living life is all about.
       Be positively contagious for those who are not where you are just yet. Do not give up on others, imagine what it would have felt like if others gave up on you. Be kind in  how you deal with people. Be awesome in every step you take, others may be watching you. Be yourself because everyone else is taken, words that I live by. Be brave and have wisdom when choosing which battles to engage. You cannot avoid them all but you can avoid being in them all. Look for the silver lining in all that you do. Laugh as much possible and as loud as possible. Joy is so much more then a 3 letter word. If you are struggling and need help ask for it. Love will always be much stronger then hate. Hate is just really loud. Don't listen to it. We are here to help you and be there for you every step of the way.
You never have to do it alone again.

       

Monday, December 26, 2016

Addiction, Pig Farms, & Recovery

     
  As soon as I got off the greyhound the sun had hit my face and I could hardly breathe. It was the middle of August in South Florida. It felt like a wet quilt wrapped around my face. Once again I was on the run from my drug addiction and violation of probation. I had reached out to a friend and let them know that I was on the  streets of South Florida with absolutely no place to go and no direction in my life. Through multiple channels they got me into a sober house in West Palm. The owners of the house were pretty chill along with the House Manager. It was a week or so into me being there when all hell broke loose.  I was sitting across the street watching chaos follow me and unfold. The ATF had kicked in the door adajecent to the house that I was actually in. They were looking for me but had the wrong address. Similar to the way a movie unfolds the chase was on. I was afraid and did not know why they were after me. I finally called one of the agents after being urged by a Recovery Coach my friend he had put me in  contact with that worked over at 4D Recovery. We eventually cleared that up with the ATF. What had happened was a friend of mine I had grown up with was on the run for a serious offense. He had messaged me on Facebook 2 months before. They were seeking me out wondering if I had any clue where he was. I did not and after about 4 hours of questioning  and a major panic attack they let me go.
        Immediately I booked a bus trip back up to Massachusetts. I was done with Florida. I wanted to go see my son. First things first though. I had to get high. Trapped in a hamster wheel promising myself I will always do right by my family, friends, and loved ones right after I get high. So many broken promises the minute the needle hits my vein. I forget quickly, the world becomes distorted and I have no desire to be around people who are not in the same boat. At these moments I don't believe they would understand. Plus I convince myself that I'm not hurting anyone but me. Which is I know now is an absolute lie. The truth today is that I effect and hurt everyone around me when I am lost in these moments that turn into years quickly. I never managed to see my son and after getting into more trouble I fled back down to Florida. Quickly I saw that my cross country tours were wearing thin on everybody including myself. Within a month and half I had taken the greyhound up and down from Massachusetts to Florida six times.
       A friend of mine in a halfway house in South Florida had mentioned that there was a Christian Community in Atlanta, Georgia. Without thinking twice I fled for Atlanta. Hoping something would set me straight. Soon as I got out there I quickly realized the biggest problems from being on the Pig Farm. No drugs and No Alcohol. I gave it about a week and fled back to Massachussetts with quick stop in Fayetlville , NC. I was starving and phoned a friend in Massachusetts asking him if he could order Dominoes and have it delivered to the bus stop. Of course my friend with patience and love bought the pizza but not before he had his usual talk with me about getting sober, staying sober, and then eventually working my Recovery. He had been down this road before and was coming up on 5 years clean. When you are lost and struggling and you hear these messages of hope you think its inspiring and wish it true for you. Your reality lies to you and tells you different. It will tell you its meant for them and not you so why bother. If you are struggling don't listen to this message your conscious tells you. Its a lie and took me a decade to figure it out.
       There are many people you meet along the way some you wish to never meet again and others you have no choice but to thank God for. My sponsor and my mentor are two that I am grateful for and wish to remember for as long as my life permits me to. My mentor came through the same connection at 4D Recovery. He had introduced us. He owned his own business and had a large Recovery Community and housing for new guys like me. He told me I could stay here for the first month  if I promised to work as well as help out around the complex. With no hesitation I said yes. I was jammed up and homeless . My choices were very limited and I had burnt about every bridge along the way to get here. I started to be apart of something and felt apart of finally. There were people with different amounts of sobriety from all over the country with a million stories just like mine some even crazier. We were all there from various struggles but finally I had the same common goal as those that were well around me. To get my life back that drugs and alcohol had taken from me.
      My sponsor I had met years back in prison when we were cellmates. Shortly after we both got out we lost track of each other until once again we met 1500 miles away from our home in Massachusetts in the sunny state of Florida. We had our consequences holding us back way back then. Now we have the power of the Universe pushing us towards one another and forward in life. He broke down the 12 steps for me and was able to show me my character defects in a way no other person has been able to. He explained of powerlessness and told me of my responsibility and reward of giving what I have been freely given away to others that are just like I was. I still have the same sponsor and have moved on from my mentor. I still have respect, love, and appreciation for what he has shown me. He taught me how to move in the field of treatment and how to speak to others. Today I sit down at the table as a professional with other professionals all because someone believed in second chances. Second chances are paid for with people who do not make it and end up losing their life to addiction. I think of these things now every time the thought of drinking or using come up. It has been almost a year since I picked up drugs or alcohol and my life is completely changed. Then I felt nothing. Today I feel everything and that feels amazing.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Mothers Guide Through Meditation- Anonymous

    
        I get home from work around 4 everyday. Exhausted but my job as a mother is not done. Recently I began to integrate meditation in mine and 3 out of 4 of my childrens lives ranging in age from 3-9. My youngest Adrina being 10 months is still far too young but I am sure she gets a kick out of watching Mommy levitate. In all seriousness I breast feed while mediating with the 3 others. The bond that mediation has given our family is invaluable. My oldest being the big brother and " man of the house" for his siblings I would notice frustration and anger that would mimick mine with my children. After I would come in from work. Knowing that this is very uncharacteristic of my little man especially my 9 year old. He is always energetic, kind, caring, and happy. Not really sure how to fix him . I knew real change had to happen within myself as the leader of my pack. I just didn't know what. I started searching online and had come across 4D Recovery. Being the sister to a person in long term Recovery my brother was always mentioning holistic alternatives to anger, drugs, alcohol, and any form of ailment. I decided to call them up and spoke with them .
          Their was  a method the that they had  suggested to another mother which was  successful. The person on the phone suggested to us guided family children's meditation. So I searched it out on youtube and found a childrens guided meditation called the Enchanted Forest. Which as cliché as this might sound as a family we found the magic in meditation. Since implementing meditation I have learned to let go of the stresses I carry with me after work and leave them at work. More able now more then ever to focus on my family and there needs without worry. My mind clear and I have free conscience with less worry. The anxiety of that train ride home from the city and the fear of what horrors my little ones have unleashed upon my house are over. They still make their messes like every child does or 3 and a half in my case. But we are a better unit and the stress is no longer there. I am able to approach every situation in the moment and as is instead of worrying about what hasn't happened.
        With my children I have found them much calmer and relaxed instead of bouncing off the walls. They still bounce from time to time but its more of a game instead of chaos. There is harmony within my family. My parenting has improved with this new found Mommy tool. I am grateful for reaching out and finding a new alternative to deal with the stresses of being a parent with a full time job while going to school part time. It is fun for myself and my children. They look forward to this as a family and I as well with them. Before implanting this with my family I was just looking for a solution to make more of me. Almost one for each of my beautiful children. Their needs individually as well as their needs as a family are always my first priority. They know now when Mommy gets out of work we all have something to do together that benefits our Mind, Body, and Soul.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Change the way we think


The loss of a life through drug addiction is one of the most frustrating and painful moments that  I have personally experienced multiple times in just a short period. Some moments greater in emotion then others all just as complicated to explain why it is happening on such a large scale. We point fingers at the doctors and prescriptions . The pure ignorance of their get out of jail free card with claiming to be naïve to the drugs they prescribe. At a 200 thousand dollar a year  tuition to practice medicine we cannot simply buy into this excuse. However they are not all to blame. We cannot just blame the medical society. So what now? My frustration turns to the dealer who sold him or her their last bag. With addiction we are all entitled to a last bag. Sure the dealer becomes the easy target. He is producing a good that we are willing to barter  with our lives. We sell our soul for that one moment we have been chasing since the first time we picked up. Is he the culprit for the destruction of our society or simply a piece to and equation so much larger then him?
         I turn to the addict next. My anger and pain that he or she has caused us all for ending such a beautiful life to soon. How can they be so damn selfish when all of us love them so much? Do they not see the value that we see in them? I am mad at these moments for losing them. For having to search for their voices only in my dreams. So what now?  I turn my angst inward I begin the self-blame for  not doing all I could do. Had I not done enough? Still I find no right answer. This disease has become a Social Disease. What if someone was not suffering from the disease of addiction but rather caught up in a moment of advertisement not realizing that were being advertised too. What if we are advertising for what we stand against  unknowingly ? What if we do not realize what we are showing the next person growing up who is  feeling misplaced in the world. Someone who struggles to find a voice but see's the noise his neighbor had made through his addiction. Later being memorialized on Facebook with his passing soon after at a vigil? So he or she decides to take that path. Not because he or she is an addict but because their society had created a path they did not realize  looks appealing to some feeling out of place and easily influenced.
      We suffer as a community but not all suffer from the same thing that we are so quickly to label with the same stamp. How much are we truly missing from the problem? The solution might be something we are overlooking if we are not searching in the right places having such a singular focus. In recovery we say the problem is not in the drugs it is in the thinking. What if our solution lied in thinking that we have not tapped into yet?   We must be willing to consistently shake the foundation of our conscience  if we are to ever evolve in how we combat this epidemic. Figure out what works. discard the rest, change if we have to, and never give up.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Generation Reform




 From politicians to medical professionals we have been lied to long enough. A change in reform must happen or this epidemic will not shift. We are dealing with an overdose epidemic country wide that is completely wiping out a generation and spilling into the generations coming up. The Social Disease of Addiction as my friends at 4D Recovery have termed it. They are working around the clock with client care trying to make a dent with the , "great epidemic of the 2000's".  I have personally lost well over 50 individuals whom I have grown up with. Most funerals I find myself just going through the motions not really able to comprehend it any longer. I feel jaded at every sad ending to a long struggle with addiction. How can we make a dent when industries are the first to receive benefits. The same businesses that sickened us now are the same ones with grants to come up with, " The Cure" with  more medication. The industries measure of reform come in the push for legalizations of marijuana and the fallacy that it will help curb drug addiction. Less is given towards the towns and communities that actually put in the work for real change. More drugs? Less problems? How about less drugs, less problems. More funding, more education, and more money to those communities and less for those industries.
     We have politicians giving us some then taking back more. Governor Charlie Baker is a perfect example of such maneuvers that leave the Recovery Community scrambling once again for funding that is already so scarce. Shortly after signing a landmark opioid bill The Governor was quoted as saying, " I am proud to sign this legislation marking a remarkable statewide effort to strengthen prescribing laws and increase education for students and doctors." Fast forward to a week ago Charlie Baker as part of a state wide budget has cut 1.9 million dollars for Substance Abuse Treatment. I'm sure reasoning is outlined. For a lot of us there is no excuse when we are struggling as is to get the ones we love the proper treatment they need.
      The reform we need has still not be presented to us. It is forming however within the communities that are grossly underfunded. We have been lied too long enough. Education for children is needed. Treatment is an amazing tool although unfortunately it is the  last resort. Being proactive in our school systems instead of cutting budgets for them. Like diverting money from public school systems to fund charter schools. We live in a society where the take is always much bigger then the give when it comes to those in less of position to stop such things. We need help and our voices are becoming louder. As parents we will not settle for hopelessness there is always hope. We are the silver lining for those who are looking for answers. Lets focus our future on solutions and creativity. Let us continue to pray for our children, family, and friends.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The help we recieve from the friends we meet


Along the way to Recovery you are going to need help. Sometimes you are going to need it so much that you feel as if you are doing nothing but bothering people. The idea that you should have your shit together is a story we tell ourselves. It is just that, a story that we perpetuate into something we pass of as true when it is the furthest thing from it. I have a friend over at 4D Recovery I speak with a lot. Not only is he in recovery but he is intelligent in grounded in faith. Our conversations range from sobriety, religion, life, success, drive, health, and family. I need that I need professionals around me to listen to me and talk to me through my insecurities, anxieties, and fears of failure. If it wasn't for them and their time that they volunteer I would feel crazy in my recovery. I need guidance and help every step of the way. My fellowship was my family while I mended those relationships with my blood family. They showed me love and took me in. Spent hours and weeks with me just talking and being that friend that we all need. I love my fellowship and will always remain grateful to them. Before my belief in God there was belief in my sponsor that there was a God. He hammered home two true fact that hold truth to this day.

1. That there is a God

2. That I am not him.

So many times through my failures in my recovery I would try to wrestle control from the universe instead of letting this just happens as they and accepting them as they are. We all do right? That is what makes us human. From an addicts perspective these things are trivial and sometimes so hard to comprehend. To let go! That we become overwhelmed and frustrated to a point where using and medicating seem the only viable way out of our thoughts. Help is the best way out of the mental prison. How do we know we need help if we don't have the right people around us? Who do we reach out to? That's why friends like I have mentioned have helped mold me into who I am becoming and keep me grounded when my mind gets away from. If you need help don't wait 10 years like I did. I had to lose everything in order to say I NEED HELP. The three words that saved my life . You don't have to. Some of you will but you defiantly don't have to.