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Last Time Out

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John SFYB Admin/Outreach

There were plenty of times in my life far worse than my last time using but not quite as demoralizing as that empty lonely feeling of accepting homelessness and pulling up some dirt underneath a playground. The ironic thing was that on either side of this patch of dirt between two churches anonymous 12th step groups met each day, multiple times a day to discuss the solution to the problem that had brought there. The churches themselves were built upon faith in a power above who could restore me from this bottomless pit of despair I now lay in and yet still their message had fallen upon deaf ears as I circled the drain and plummeted towards absolute zero.

For a week prior, I had been nose diving towards the avoidable fate and was powerless to do anything about it despite being consciously aware of the end I would certainly face alone. Fully employed and living in an apartment, driving a BMW with money in my pocket and convinced of my plan to relive my early glory days of criminality, I had also been informed about the progressive nature of my disease and knew in my heart of hearts I had no control over my actions and had changed far too much to execute this plan. Robbing and stealing, scheming, and scamming, lying and cheating was the order of the day back in my youth and although the actions I perpetuated this last time weren’t exactly forgivable I was no longer the victimizer I once was.

A ruthless streak inside of me kept me hovering just above this bottom and ultimately from acceptance of a complete surrender which has turned out to be the greatest of gifts in building a life of value and meaning. If faced with hunger I would take, poverty had no bearing on me as everything and everyone were simply tools for me to use as I took. Washing checks, assuming identities and stealing cars were common place in my hell bent younger years yet the changes I had felt and made in my life through attempting to recreate who I was had barred me from these actions. Internal strife and struggle launched this mental war within my head and as I fell deeper into the emotional combat I lost sight of the cliff I was stumbling off. Knowing full well that if I didn’t look up I would surely stumble clean over the edge I couldn’t stop my feet compelled by some unseen force destined to face my final dissent. If I were to survive the fall I swore this would be the fate I would never face again.

The job was suffering as I couldn’t pull myself from the bathroom after doing a shot, blood on my sleeve and eyes pinned in the light or saucers in the shade, sweating with lips chapped and dried, the desert is no place for tweaking. Eventually it became far too great a liability to keep me on as I would argue and fight with anyone to deflect how I felt about myself, I couldn’t arrive on time and sometimes wouldn’t make it at all. On the specific day that would be my last I was hardly there at all and for the time I was likely caused more damage than not, yelling profanities at a co-worker and sneaking off the shoot up quite often. The thing was I hadn’t paid my rent and had to move out of my apartment and was staying in the very hotel I worked at and driving a vehicle the boss had been financing my purchase of so if one went so would the rest. I knew this and yet still I could not keep it together and essentially forced this man’s hand, he couldn’t possibly keep me working when clearly, I wasn’t doing anything of value and was putting him and his place of business at risk.

One day I woke up in the hotel confused at how I had fallen asleep in the first place despite the dozen or so days I had been awake living in a hotel room with half a biker club coming and going, needle’s and dope everywhere and all at the very place I worked. Stepping outside I saw the wheel had been removed from my BMW (that wasn’t really mine because I hadn’t been paying for it) along with the lug studs to thwart a speedy getaway. Stumbling over to the main office to complain about this atrocity I was met with my final check and told this would be my last night at the hotel. Bing Bang Boom, no car, no job, no place and all because I couldn’t look up long enough to avoid the cliff I stumbled directly over, I was shocked somehow and well wouldn’t you be!

What normally would have sparked an immediate return to the criminal actions that haunted every waking moment of my past, this time I had no will to victimize others left in me, I would fall alone. Reaching out for help from anyone fool enough to still listen I was crashing hard from lack of dope or will to live and my cries fell upon deaf ears as one door after the next slammed shut. A dear friend who had a sober house picked me and the last of my belongings up off the curb in front of the hotel and was somewhat hesitant but let me stay until it was clear that detoxing here wouldn’t be a good look for the other residents who were all still early in their efforts to recover.

Waking in the morning I was told I had to go and as she was my final option as it were the remaining option was the street or a crime spree which I had already accepted as non optional. Gracious enough to allow me to store my things there at her home I insisted I be dropped off where the homeless people gather and accepted my fate. No dope to mask this harsh reality of homeless in the relentless desert sun in the middle of summer I fell deeper into a state of demoralization. Backpack packed with nothing essential to survival and crashed out on some concrete in front of the local grocery store with the veterans of this street life surrounding me, I owned the fact that it was my actions that brought me here. Once again, the trickster of my selfish and self-centered thinking had left me with nothing yet something was different this time, I began to pray.

That night I followed one of the fellow men in despair to a Filipino church that we heard had free dinner and as we ate the spaghetti and salad they prepared and listened as they preached about their God. Feeling empty at the time and unable to recognize their altruism for what it was, I snickered at this message of hope and knew there must be an ulterior motive yet they asked for nothing and only hugged us and thanked us for coming. I followed this street veteran who led the way to a safe place to call home for the night, it just so happened to be underneath a playground between two churches where not only the congregation met but also various anonymous fellowships, multiple times a day on either side discussing the solution. How ironic that this would be my first night clean, how ironic that I now attend groups at both locations, in both fellowships, share and participate and find my community and a host of friends. The next morning, I pulled myself from out from underneath this playground as a pastor came and told me “You Can’t Stay Here!” I strolled back to that grocery store and plopped myself back down.

.   “God please end this suffering I continuously cause myself” was about the best prayer I could muster just as a friend from the fellowship passed by and said four very spiritual words to me, a mantra I now somewhat live by. “FUCK THAT, GET UP” he pronounced, reaching his hand down and pulling me up from despair. That moment has been the forefront of a journey I am surprised by with each passing moment. Today I am eternally grateful for the constant reminder of the pain I never wish to return to that playground represents, the bottom I never sought to reach is now the bedrock from which I build an amazing life beyond my wildest dreams.

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Stop Frying Your Brain song kept rattling around in my head after visiting their website. It was worse than it’s a small world at Disneyland. Eventually… I would hook up with those guys and it’s all because of that one stupid song.

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A Call To Action!

With a world flooded with those who would seek to take advantage of those in need, the fleecing of private insurance providers by insane overbilling schemes and fraud within the treatment industry doesn’t end there.
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John SFYB Admin/Outreach

When a few ounces of urine are converted into liquid gold by profit mongers using elaborate laboratory schemes promising riches that far exceed any realm of reason, the sincerity of the message literally gets flushed down the toilet. Multi-million-dollar yacht owner James Slattery aptly named his boat “Pissed Away” as almost a means of mocking the federal investigation of his company Millennium Health and the subsequent 256 million dollars fine which was paid the day it was ordered.

This story seems overshadowed by the Chris Bathum scandal by where the self-proclaimed Rehab Mogul is alleged to have perpetrated over $400 Million in fraud, racking up 75 sexual assault charges and earning himself a 35 years sentence. Most recently we watched as the FBI raided Sovereign Health treatment facilities across Southern California to advance their criminal investigations of fraudulent activity within that billion-dollar business. Add to that the Steve Johnson saga in Palm Beach racking up 48 charges of patient brokering and so as the list grows from top to bottom we are forced to stare the corruption down as the epidemic grows.

The opioid epidemic can no longer be swept under the carpet as mainstream America and the world feel its deadly grip grows, grasping increasingly more within its fatal clutch.

The CDC mortality rates may not be the precise statistics some may require in order to raise the red flag yet you simply need a stroll through any impoverished area in order to look this beast in its eyes. That isn’t to say this blight on our species is limited to those poverty stricken by any means as suburbia suffers alongside the ghetto watching its youth die in unimaginable numbers.

Numbers and stats, rates and flow charts can’t compare to the pain we each feel when this brutal onslaught touches down in our lives and we are left baffled as to where we should turn for help. The headline news highlights these two evils almost simultaneously leaving fear for the lives of the addict in our world and doubt that any true help exists.

Power corrupts and great financial means is often confused as such which is what may cause these perpetrators to believe themselves untouchable until some alphabet agency kicks in the door, but what about the addict?

What about the loved seeking help and assistance dealing with the addict? What about the society that will bear the cost of treating the addict?

The solution is transparency and openness in this business which when corrupted is often shrouded and guarded from peering eyes hidden behind HIPAA, a protection intended to aid the client not the facility. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) is United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. This legislation has been the protective shield for many clients, helping them find recovery without fear of the unfortunate stigma addiction carries.

Being that 91 Americans die every day from opioid overdose and over half those are prescribed by their primary care physician this shadow of darkness must be brought into the light!

When the epidemic more than doubles in deadly force from 2015 and the 33,000 estimated dead from opioid overdose alone, 158,000 estimated total deaths from all drugs that year to shocking numbers this year proves to show, we must rally together for effective means of putting this evil genie back in it’s lantern. 2017 shows so far to be the deadliest year on record where overdose is concerned and it’s only a little more than half over.

Combining the scandal and fraud perpetrated by the very institutions tasked with combatting this disease, the TRILLIONS spent, billed and thrown at it and the headline news airing something about the growing epidemic we must rethink, shift and find a new way. We at Stop Frying Your Brain are a community of over a quarter million addicts joining hands as we do at the end of meetings and shouting for change!

..Revolution in the means we go about treating the addict! Real Progress in the fight against the deadly killer which is not on the streets but the illness within!

Transparent facilities with open doors and legitimate practices! You got nothing to hide you say, SHOW ME! No more will we stand for the same lies and bureaucratic run around, we want to know what you plan to do different! Countless treatment facilities claiming to be evidence based,  well show us the evidence!

The numbers are shocking and I’m not quoting sources because I want you to look them up, I want you informed and not by me, go look and find 90% relapse rates, 85% of all in need receive no help at all, 23 million in need, 4.7 trillion billed…. This disaster must be treated as such, Start asking questions, start taking action!

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Stop Frying Your Brain song kept rattling around in my head after visiting their website. It was worse than it’s a small world at Disneyland. Eventually… I would hook up with those guys and it’s all because of that one stupid song.

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How Have I Made It This Far?I Refused

Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

For many of us our past at times may have made us wonder how we are still alive today? Well I will tell you how….by the grace of God!

We all have done things in our lives or put ourselves in situations that it’s a miracle we made it out of. For some of us like myself it seemed to become and everyday thing. We would willingly put ourselves out there not caring what the outcome would be. Escaping death for the first time was scary but then it no longer became a fear it became who we were.

You may ask why God would save us time and time again when we didn’t even attempt to save ourselves. Why would he save us and not the ones who died doing the same things we were? Well all I can say is its by his grace we are here today! His mercy and his love is what has gotten us to this point in our lives.

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He is a father to us all so therefore he protects his children. If you are one of us blessed children of God that has lived the life of addiction and crime then you are here still cause you have a purpose that you need to fulfill. So to you I say quit asking why you are here and start asking how do I fulfill my purpose. God has a plan and it’s up to us to fulfill than plan. God bless you!

Raymond C. Kyle

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Recovery is a processProcess

Just like any other process in our lives it takes time. This is not a quick fix for all our problems, it’s a day by day process where we simply try to be better today than we were the day before if we happen to be so blessed to see it.
Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

Alot of times in this process, individuals tend to want to rush, like there is some kind of race with a prize for who gets there first. Well, sorry to bust your bubble but whether you get there first or you get there last,we are all winners. We a get the same prize, LIFE!
There is no need to rush, enjoy this beautiful journey. Take it all in, don’t skip the hard part’s. The struggles in this process is where we are created, this is where we are learning to tap into who we truly are. Just slow down and relax.

You don’t have to move mountains every day. You don’t have to hurry up and get to a certain point. Take your time, and enjoy this journey. When we rush is where we are more likely to make mistakes. If we allow down and pay attention then we are better able to get out of this process and out of life what we not only need but what we deserve as well.

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I challenge you today, as I do myself to slow down. Take this magical journey into the deepest darkest parts of your soul and allow it to do the work it needs to do. Enjoy being you, enjoying the progress even if it’s minimal, enjoy it. This process works if you work it and will allow it to work in your life. Remember you cannot rush greatness, and you my friends are great. God bless you and have an amazing day.

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alph-dogThe Movie Alpha Dog

What makes some give up & others the drive to change the world?
erinkberndt

SFYB Author

Has anyone seen the movie Alpha Dog? If not it’s a true story in which a young hard core addict owes his dealer $1200 . So the dealer kidnaps the guys little brother. He is seen by 39 people while being held. Actually developing what the 15yr old thought were friendships. They took him all over the place. The guy watching him keeps giving him the chance to escape.

The teen decides to stay so that his brother won’t get in any more trouble & he knows his brother will pay it. When the brother refuses to pay off his debt the dealer orders the child’s death. They make him hike up a hill to where his grave is already dug, they blindfold & bind him, slam him in the back of the head w a shovel & then shoot him. They close in the end of the movie w the Mom, who was beautiful, thin & young before this happened, now blown up, unkempt woman in a psych ward.

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She is a complete wreck, her son died for $1200,because his brother wouldn’t tell them what was really going on. I’ve seen this movie a million times, as sad as it is, I like the actors. I watched it a few weeks ago, now w a new perception of the ending.
As the mother gives her side of the story you realize she’s institutionalized, & she slips into madness. Watching this I realized as it hit me like a brick; that could’ve so easily been me. I could’ve made different choices.

That first night I had been awake since the previous morning so approximately 36 hrs w no sleep, while I was walking along the highway trying to burn energy. My gaze kept going from the skies to the huge trucks that kept passing, if my son had faced death, there was no reason why I couldn’t do the same. But I didn’t do it.

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On Monday, I was complaining to my husband that there’d been no response from God yet. Yes, I really thought I should’ve had my sign already. So he tells me to watch my bird feeders for a new bird because he knows Anthony & I used to watch the birds at our feeders in the mornings when he was young. I need to interject at this point, I had been awake for all but 2hrs of sleep since that Saturday morning til Monday night. I could not keep anything at all in my body. I was violently ill from everywhere. I was also sickly & so weak previous to this.

I got another 2hrs Monday night, actually early Tues morning & went to have my tea & *down swooped my very first wild bald eagle as it soared over the lake along the surface, I knew immediately that was my sign. When I talked to my daughter later that day, she said “omg, mom. We were out for a ride yesterday & there was an eagle over the car”…… 1200 miles away. On Wednesday my 6yr old grandson (Anthony’s son) saw it at his bus stop & on Wednesday Ant’s gf saw it 20 miles from where my daughter & grandson were.

That solidified my belief in God. I was still sick, I was getting calls from MA, forcing me to attend the wake & funeral. I had no money & my ex assured me his family was covering all expenses. I was so grateful for that. There was no way I could’ve paid, & definitely not my ex. But I was harassed by my ex’s sister, telling me how bad I looked to everyone & what a shitty person I was. I was so sick & dehydrated, but I had to go. On Tuesday & Wednesday. I repented all of my sins & forgave everyone I felt had ever wronged me. This great big weight was lifted from my shoulders that I no longer felt, it had been there so long. I made personal apologies to everyone, but most choose to not be in my life & that’s 100% OK w me. I needed to do that to move on.

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On Thursday I flew “home” to Mass, because I still could keep nothing down or in, I collapsed in the airport trying to get to my connecting flight. I had to be cleared by the EMT’s to fly on. I got into town w 3 hours to spare. Sick to be in my house 25’ from my backyard in MA is the cemetery. I coincidentally had met my son in the cemetery just before I moved. It was me, his sister, his son & his nephew. That’s the last time I saw him alive & when we parted ways it was w an I Love You from all of us to all of us. I was OK not attending these forced services I had no hand in arranging & so I just followed what had been set up. The first sight of my son’s body hit me like bricks dropped from a skyscraper & I dropped to my knees. I had a lot of family support, my aunt & cousins I hadn’t seen in yrs, my brother, my sister-in-law, close friends. It was a very large turnout.

My son lay there for all of those there to see, dead at 25.They cried the tears, they appeared to mourn. Yet the shit that took place, was so typical for that small dirty evil town. No one cared while he was alive, he was called names, ignored by the family & just never important to them.

Ant’s cousin is , who is also rumored to be on Heroin, did a deal at the wake. My ex was trying to score percocet for himself & Ant’s gf who was at that point 4 days into withdrawal. He was also trying to take her mother home w him, since his own girlfriend had to put her 3yr old to bed.

The “best” part of the night though for me was when I had gone outside looking for a friend & was told that this drunk “relative”, you know the type, mom’s friend ends up family. She didn’t know me or my ex & she most definitely did not know my son. She caused a scene in front of his casket, then progressed to driving by the funeral home & swearing & sticking up her middle finger. When I came out she had parked just a house up from us. I approached her & asked her to leave. She went crazy & tried to storm the funeral home. I had to have the police called.

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His service the next afternoon was beautiful I had decided I did not want to see him lowered into the ground, but tongues immediately began wagging, horrible mother, mean, evil, crazy.

Call me what you want I had already had my good bye in that cemetery in March. That is how I choose to remember my son. My ex’s family had everything removed from his plot….. Granite edging, toys I had put there from Aiden, trinkets, the money. Gofundme was set up & money taken by an aunt, an education fund set up, that has never been mentioned again. Everything my son owned that should have gone to my grandson was whisked away & hidden by my daughter & ex.

I left MA w no regrets that I would be away from the hellish drama. Florida is home now. I lay down to try & get some sleep, on the night that marked a week, Sunday. I lay down exhausted & closed my eyes.
That was the moment God took over!!!

Now back to Alpha Dog & that poor mother, some of us get the shit beaten out of us & just stay down. Not me, I have prayed for mental breakdown, it would certainly explain my experiences a whole lot easier. But, that is not what I am made of & God knew this when he healed me & gave me the ideas, the motivation, the drive & passion, to put it all out there. To dedicate myself to helping others & trying to change addiction/recovery stigma. This girl is on fire!!!
Thank you
Erin Berndt

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Relapse is not part of recovery

Relapse is not part of recovery. Let me say it one more time, relapse is not part of recovery. Even though it happens quite often to not only the newcomer, but to those who’s been in the process for years as well, it still is not part of recovery..
Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

To consider relapse as part of recovery, takes validation away from your process of recovery. Recovery is about bettering yourself,and pushing forward. It teaches dedication, hard work, focus, determination and courage. If a relapse occurs

it’s not cause it’s good for us, and that it’s making us better. It’s not cause it’s part of our process. It’s simply cause you lost focus, you had a weak moment in your process, and you allowed the disease that you battle to win.

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But my friends, it does happen, and as sad as it may be it happens quite often. But don’t come into your process with the mindset that relapse is part of recovery. With that mindset it’s only a matter if time til it does happen. Instead, you stay focused on your progress, you keep the mindset that by any means necessary you will not relapse. The mindset that you will not give up. The mindset of a warrior; born to fight and fight to win.

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Recovery…how bad you want it?

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For years and years I made choices in my life that took me thru some pretty lonely dark places in my life. This whole time I thought I was living life and that it was never gonna be no more than the vicious life I had created. Oh how I was so very wrong.
Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

One day I had finally hit my breaking point or as many like to say ROCK BOTTOM. Then and only then did I decide it was time for things to begin to change. So I began the lifelong process of healing and recovery. It’s been a pretty amazing journey so far, been had ups and downs but today I am living a life I can be proud of. I am giving back to life instead of always taking. It’s just the beginning of a new chapter in my life and it can be yours too if you want it.

 

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But just wanting it is never gonna be enough. It’s gotta consume your thoughts it’s gotta become just as important to you as anything else in life. Until this happens you will go in circles trying to find your way and your purpose.

You gonna have to fight. You gonna have to make some decisions to eliminate people or places or things in your life and it’s gonna be hard to do. You still gonna make mistakes and it’s OK cause these mistakes are simply lessons teaching you and preparing you for who God has designed you to be and for what he is gonna take you through on your road to a fulfilling life.

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Some days will be harder than others…some days are just gonna outright suck but these are the days when we all find out what we are made of. Face your fears…face your demons…your insecurities. ..whatever it may be face them head on defeat them and make them your foundation for which you build your life upon. Don’t give up don’t give up don’t give up. Giving up is not an option.

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You keep fighting thru the tears the pain the hurt and the scars and in the end you will see that it was well worth every single moment. Remember it doesn’t get easier it gets better. Quit limiting yourself and tap into your full potential. You got this…believe in yourself and believe in God who will always be there to pick you up when u fall. Love life and most of all love yourself. Have a amazing day my friends and may God bless you.

 

 

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What Can A Certified Recovery Coach Do For You?

Stephen Kavalkovich

SFYB Contributing Writer

By Stephen Kavalkovich, Certified Recovery Coach

The first step in establishing a mutually respectful relationship is establishing trust. The bottom line is that people don’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care. This is paramount to vetting someone that you are going to spend money and time on to attain a desired result.

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When speaking to a potential client, a coach should be assessing the multiple issues and circumstances that led them to make the call. I would start by letting them have a sounding board to bounce their “stuff” off of, not giving a bunch of “you need to commands’”. That comes later and with more receptive language. In my previous life as a paramedic, my first 2 minutes at the location of a given crises was to assess immediate life threats and put off other details to the side.

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This had to be done rapidly and with good clinical judgement. In the recovery coach world, the thought process is very similar. Someone who is in the grip of a fatal disease process such as addiction is fighting for their life as well. They might not have a stroke of heart attack currently, but we all die of cardiac arrest and a hot shot of heroin can produce the same result.

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My goal as a coach is to assess for and address immediate life threats such as a need for medical detox or psychiatric hospitalization. After these needs are examined and handled accordingly, a decision to take someone on as a client can be mutually agreed upon. In certain cases my professional opinion may be to refer someone to another qualified individual or service. The goal is to provide someone with the quality ethical, moral, and proper help. As a provider, the decision to say no has to occasionally be made in the interest of the client, not in the interest of collecting payment or boosting my resume.

Let’s say that I have taken Bobby on as a client, immediate personal safety needs have been met, now the time to begin establishing a coaching relationship has begun. A great analogy that I would use is out of my experience as a martial artist. When I was trained, a lot of times my teacher would stand in front of the room and give us examples of drills or techniques.

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Then our job was to repeat them thousands of times until they became automatic. He would pace slowly up the aisles and watch, correct, and always give encouraging words. Then we would take these new lessons home and be expected to set side to practice. The next class would be a time to continue practicing, and he would know if were actually taking study time at home. It would be obvious to him. If it wasn’t being done, he would get to the causes for not following through. Through this, relationship and trust would build. He would be assertive and sometimes blunt, but always from of a place of love and respect.

Recovery coaching is the same. I have to be able to meet a client where they are, give them tools and techniques to begin using while we are together. When alone, the responsibility is on the client to do their part. My job is not to do the work for them, but to encourage them to find their own way that works for them. Going back to my old Kung Fu training analogy, the techniques that were repeated over and over to exhaustion would eventually become automatic.

A 10 year food or heroin addiction does the same thing to our behavior. These things, over time, become automatic. Just like eating healthy and exercising become our default mode, so does maladaptive and destructive behavior. A coach can help someone begin to interrupt these behaviors and do something different. I am here to applaud victory, but also give reasonable consequences and accountability to a client. If someone wants to stop drinking 4 bottles of wine a day, perhaps a victory in the early stages would be drinking 2 bottles. This may not seem like progress to a family member who never had a problem with addiction, but the growth is clear. 2 is better than 4 in this case.

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A new goal might then to be 1 bottle. Of course, there are many other factors in this example, but the point should be clear here. Helping someone who has never done laundry and they are now 45 to now do it on their own is a victory and should be recognized. Progress is progress no matter how insignificant it may seem. My role as a coach is not to give someone a life’s purpose, but I would consider it imperative to help someone explore and discover this for himself.

There are many aspects to being a recovery coach, most importantly is to help someone become better than they were when they contacted me. Recovery can be the most challenging endeavor in a person’s life and for some, the most important one. I believe an effective coach should also be one who can identify with their client’s struggles.

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Circumstances may be different, but identifying hardships and feelings can also build rapport and trust. If I am learning how to do gymnastics, I wouldn’t go and ask a plumber how to do it. That is, unless he is also moonlighting as a gymnast. Another way a coach can be utilized is in helping the family of one in crises to become educated about the nature of the disease. They can also help them establish healthy boundaries that would be of unparalleled value to all parties. A coach is a great addition to a person’s recovery journey. Meeting someone where they are and taking them by the hand to to help steer them through a new life is a mutually rewarding experience than should be utilized and investigated fro anyone seeking recovery.

 

 

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A few of thoughts about relapse prevention: You may find this most helpful if you are already working hard (or long) on your recovery?

By: MD Lukens, PhD   © 2015
Michael Lukens

Dr. Michael Lukens SFYB Addiction Expert

If you are currently engaged in a recovery process, regardless of how far along you are, then good for you, congratulations, keep up the good work!  because we all know stopping an addictive pattern of drug and alcohol use is hard to do.  If you’re slipping or experiencing a relapse, or if you’re just hungry for more recovery support, then please do yourself a favor and continue to read.  

Once sober, stopping relapsing can be even harder than the initial challenge of getting sober.  As Mark Twain quipped about his smoking: “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”[1]

A few of thoughts about relapse prevention: You may find this most helpful if you are already working hard (or… Click to Tweet

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For those of you who are directly or indirectly involved in recovery (your own recovery, or a loved one’s) I want you to know that the number of people who are capable of recovering fully without help is not as small as you might think.   

When comparing those who received no treatment to those who did receive treatment, the numbers are similar, and they are modest (approx 25% of those treated and those who did not receive treatment of any kind recover from drugs and alcohol).  Another consistent finding is that addicted doctors and nurses who are enrolled in strictly supervised long term programs show a 75% or greater rate of recovery at the 5 year mark.  

Making-Sense

How do we make sense of these seemingly contradictory data?   This is my take:
  1. The person’s commitment makes all the difference (the untreated who quit and the professionals who quit at such comparatively high rates were people who were the most highly incentivized to commit and follow through);
  2. Standard treatment is not all that effective (the quality of care in general is not high);
  3. And the fact that care is ongoing may make a bigger difference than anything else.  Of course, it requires commitment to stay in treatment of some kind over the long haul
  4. founder

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Katie Donovan

 Katie Donovan Non-Profit Staff Reporter Staff Author

My Daughter the Addict – A Suburban Mom’s Nightmare @StopFryingBrain

By: Katie Donovan

I was the PTO mom, the carpool mom, the Brownie leader. We ate family dinners at the table, taught our children manners and took family vacations. My husband and I were blessed to have very good jobs. My daughter, Brittany, the beautiful girl in the photo, was the honor roll student, the volunteer at the city parks and recreation department and loved playing sports.

 Other relevant posts by this author:
(1) My Daughter the Addict-A Suburban Mom’s Nightmare
(2) Families Against Narcotics Announces Run Drugs out of Town Event
(3) No One Brings you Casseroles when you Child is an Addict
(4) Katie Donovan Named Executive Vice President of Families Against Narcotics

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My Daughter the Addict-A Suburban Mom’s Nightmare Click to Tweet
THEN OUR ENTIRE LIVES CHANGED

Growing up, I had skewed images of what a heroin addict looked like. I envisioned them sitting in an ally, or a gangster or a criminal. The stereotypical hippie from the 60’s and 70’s that grew up in a bad home. I had preconceived notions that you had to stay away from them…that they were

BAD PEOPLE.
NEVER ONCE DID I ENVISION MY DAUGHTER.

 I am very ashamed of my thoughts now. I never really had a “real” exposure to addiction. What I saw was what was pictured in the movies, or on TV. We lived in the suburbs where “that just didn’t happen around here”.

BOY WAS I WRONG

 Now, addiction has a multitude of faces. It’s the high school quarterback who became injured in a game, was prescribed Vicodin and became addicted.

It’s the mom down the street from you, driving her minivan to CVS to pick up more pills, even though she just finished a 30-day supply in 10 days.

It’s the babysitter who went to a party and didn’t drink, as mom and dad properly told her the dangers of it. So she took a few pills instead.

It’s the heroic marine who fought in the Gulf War, who is now fighting PTSD.

It’s the corporate executive who was prescribed Xanax for stress.

It’s the senior citizen who had hip surgery and within weeks, unknowingly was now dependent on prescription narcotics.

click-hope-handcuffs

IT’S MY DAUGHTER

This is happening in our homes, our communities, our schools!! No one is immune. It affects all classes, races, ages and professions.

GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND

If you feel like “it would never happen to you or anyone in your circle”, take a look around. It’s happening. You may not even know it. Most become isolated in fear and lost in their addiction, finding it hard to reach out.

ITS TIME TO SHOW SOME COMPASSION

Recently, as I was walking to my car, I noticed a homeless man hunched over. Instead of walking by him, I stopped and asked him if I could sit down next to him. We talked for a good hour. Turns out he was a marine, who was injured, became addicted to Vicodin and didn’t know how to stop, but wanted to so bad. Swore, he would NEVER do heroin…that’s what junkies do. But then his pills got too expensive and now his body was physically getting sick. He ended up turning to heroin, just to feel normal again. My heart broke for him. I gave him my card and said to call me if he was ever ready for help. He called 2 days later. He is currently at a 6-month treatment facility, fighting for recovery and has renewed hope in life.

As a community, it’s time to come together. These are not “junkies in the corner” …these are our friends, our neighbors, your grandfather, men who fought for our country.

THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN.

Please, don’t’ make assumptions on people. The next time you are walking and see someone homeless, don’t walk past and avert your eyes. Stop and reach out your hand. It was my daughter sitting there once, lost in her addiction and feeling hopeless.

YOU MAY JUST SAVE A LIFE

Katie Donovan, Recovery Advocate

Executive Vice President, Families Against Narcotics

Author of www.amothersaddictionjourney.com

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