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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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Recovery Army takes D.C. by storm

Takes DC by storm

Manders Espana

General Manders Espana Recovery Army Loose Cannon Advocate & SFYB Author Alumni  

Time for a change: I represent a majority of Americans who have one thing in common. I am an addict and I am proud. You see I am here to share a story.

America has been fighting a war with a Silent Killer that is more deadly then anything else in the world. Statistics show that the number one cause of death is overdosing from drugs. Last year I was furious at the response of people based on the media so I went out to share my voice based on my journey educating and studying different aspects of addiction.

I quickly became engulfed with ideas and then follow through. My mission to show people a different way to live with our disease and how to spread the word.  My story begins with me writing in a site that I am refraining from mentioning as a result of conflict of interest. People don’t like my honesty and get upset when they ask the truth. I call it being a real badass bitch because I said, no time for bulshit and pettiness.

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The world may have been cruel and given me quite the ride, but I held the bull by its horns and rode as hard as I could this past week has been amazing. I ended up doing something that I never imagined possible, I was scared but I remember the warriors who are fighting beside me so I mustered the courage to go to the Inauguration Events representing some of the best people in the business

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www.steeredstraight.com and did so many things that I never imagined possible.

I went from being a confused sober drug addict that was completely isolated from herself and society but yet I set out on a journey join me for updates on my adventure as a recovery ambassador.

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Sell Outs or Just Weak People

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Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

There was point in my life that I use to think that men or women who were working a process in their lives to better their lives were sell outs or just weak people. I felt this way for years until I myself began my own own process of change and a process of recovery and healing.

Now that I am in this process it is my opinion that these same people that are doing their process are the most courageous people I know! Being courageous does not mean that you do not have fear, that’s something each and every one of us has. Being courageous means that you do not let fear stop you in your process. And this is exactly who we are.

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None of us knew what to expect coming into this. We had great fear of the unknown but we chose to do it anyways. We knew something had to be done, so for many of us we faced our fears for the first time instead of covering them up and running from them. Aren’t you glad you did?

Yes, we still face fears on a daily basis but the courage we need to not let the fears stop us we now have in this process. Thru this process and God we have learned that nothing can stop us but ourselves. So keep fighting WARR; ORS and be the COURAGEOUS people we are! God bless each one of you as you continue your journey.

Raymond C. Kyle

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Biggest Keys to Making This Process WorkKey To Sucess

Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

One of the biggest keys to making this process work in our lives whether it’s about addiction or depression or suicide or just a life changing process, is trusting this process to work, and allowing the changes that it brings to happen in our lives.

I know anybody like myself trust can be a hard thing to even begin to do. When we have lived the life we have lived and done the things in our lives we have, we struggle at times with trusting anything even ourselves. This will come in due time. But in this process we sometimes just have let go of our insecurities and have faith that by doing so it will get us to where we need to be.

Trust they often say Is earned and once it’s broken it may be very hard to get back. Well that can be true cause we lost trust In ourselves at some point in our lives to do the right things and to make the right decisions. That’s when we realized our lives where out of control.

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In this process and in life we have to trust in something. What better thing to trust in then the process that is saving your life. As you trust this process and let it work in your life it teaches you to trust yourself to do the right things every day. And slowly as we begin to trust in ourselves we learn to trust in others and life becomes such a better life for all of us. Clear your heart and mind of the doubts that you have and let this process work in you for the better you. Trust yourself trust this process and trust in God. God’s got you if you will let him he will see you through! Have a most wonderful day my friends. God bless you.

KEEP GOING AND KEEP GROWING!

Raymond C. Kyle

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Do we choose to be addicts?Addiction Life

Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

The answer to that question is quite simple, No we do not choose addiction, addiction chooses us. Before you fly off the handle, allow me to let you into the mind of a grateful recovering addict, and let you see my thoughts first hand on this subject.

The majority of addicts will tell you that they never wanted to be an addict. We didn’t wake up one day and decide to kill our dreams of being doctors, or lawyers, or whatever it may have been to become an addict. I know for myself, I never thought I would end up being the same person I use to look down on and talk bad about, I also didn’t know that by putting that needle in my arm the very first time that my life, at that moment, would change forever.

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You see for most of us, we were running from something. We were trying to escape reality and we found a way to do so. Sure we made a choice to use, but I have yet to meet an individual that wanted to end up living the lonely dark lifestyle of an addict. But, unfortunately that’s what we got.

Many people will say it was a personal choice, and your right, it was a personal choice to use, but I know for myself I never wanted to be homeless, I never wanted to be laying in a hospital bed dead to the world. I never wanted to lose my family, my friends,my job, my life, but I did cause this disease does not discriminate at all, and once it digs it’s claws into you it’s not as easy to let go as many may think.

It’s easy for a person who has not experienced this first hand to say it’s a choice,and just like we started using we can quit. But those of us who battle this disease know all to well that’s it’s alot easier said than done. Addiction is cunning, and baffling, it fools us into believing we are just fine, that we don’t have a problem. We live this way until one day we wake up and we are laying at the bottom looking up with nowhere to go but up, and even then it’s anything but easy.

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For anybody that says addiction is a choice, I say this to you…over the years i have wanted to stop the vicious cycle numerous times, not saying that it’s impossible, cause by me simply being here today shows that it is, but this disease is not something you just get over. We fight this disease every single day of our lives it never stops. Most people cannot understand the severity of this disease until it hits home. Heck, we addicts can’t even understand it fully so I know that someone looking in from the outside sure cant. We addicts are not asking to be saved, we are not asking for you to give us a pass cause we are sick, we simply ask that you attempt to  be understanding to the disease before you go passing judgement and looking down on us cause we are battling this disease.

We simply ask that you love us til we can love ourselves. We will save ourselves, we will better ourselves, it just takes a little time. Be patient we are a work in progress, but WE DO RECOVER! God bless you all and my you have a amazing day.

RAYMOND C. KYLE

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We Are Not AloneLonly

Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

We all no matter where we are in life need to realize we are not alone, we are loved, we have been since the day we took our first breath. We also need to know that we do matter and that we are of some value in this life.

Many of us for years couldn’t even begin to believe cause we had clouded our thoughts and minds and hearts and souls with so much negativity and so much junk that we became lost in a world that we did not belong in.

When we began the change and we begin this process it was not a quick fix. This process allows us the chance to regain control of our lives from the inside out. It gives a second chance at life. And along the way we learn who we truly are and we realize our worth. Not who everybody else thinks we are or whatever, it’s not about that. We learn who God created us to be and we learn who God truly is on our lives. We get a personal understanding of who he is in our lives. We get to experience the greatness of our creator. His mercy and his love.

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We finally get to understand how loved we are and how valuable we are in this world that can make you fell alone. Your not alone no more you never were. God is always with you but on top of that you have millions of other people who became family when you started this process the too are with you they too love you and they too know how valuable you are in this world.

Now you the great person you are should live this same way day in and day out. Quit doubting and questioning and own it love and live it. God bless you all throughout your day.

Raymond C. Kyle

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I thought my father was Evil… Chapter 6

Evil Dad

erinkberndt

Loving Mom

When Dick & I had broken up, there had been so many fights & regrets. I was already wishing I had not chosen to be w him because he terrified me. He had a very tough guy reputation at 19 yrs old, There were other girls. Lies. Oh but the sex, that was great.

I was happy & content living w my Mom & Butch, he was a great man. I found some babysitting work in Fitchburg, Dick’s best friends, brother & his wife. They had 3 kids & I spent a lot of time w them throughout the pregnancy.

Dick didn’t do much for the baby at all while I was pregnant. I went to school & tried my hardest to make sure I graduated, to give my baby the best possible life I could as a single mom. I’m remembering now, after mom had left & before I was thrown out, that is when Dick broke up w me. He’s always had “great timing”. i was devastated at first, inconsolable. My best friend narya was mad at me, because I had slept w her boyfiend before she met him, so I really had no one to go through this with, & Dad, HA-HA. He had no clue how to deal w me, so he called Gramma. I remember so well, her saying, “Honey, it’s ok, you’re better off without him. I’ve seen the way he looks at you & he doesn’t look at you with love in his eyes”. I accepted that then & for far too long! The truth is the truth, even if you refuse to believe it.

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Althea thought I would have a boy & Rocky would have a girl, she was so good to us during my pregnancy, she bought a high chair, playpen, clothes & bedding. Dick delivered them. While i planned mine & what I was positive would be my daughter’s future, Dick partied & slept w girls much younger than even me.
My Mom & step dad helped a lot too. my step dads youngest daughter Tina & I became close, she had a 9 mo old daughter herself & was a year younger than me. She gave me all of her daughter Ashley,s clothes. They were beautiful. My Mom never thought to throw me a shower, but then again, she was estranged from my Dad & that side of the family as well as her own. Our friend Kerry threw me & Rocky a shower. Just us & about 6 friends. She did a great job, but it was nothing like what Rocky’s family did for her.

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I did everything right throughout my pregnancy, eating right, exercising, no drugs or alcohol. I continued on with school. Sometime near graduation time, Narya “forgave” me & we picked up our friendship just as it had been. I didn’t go to Senior Prom, Dick wouldn’t take me & the 30 yr old My Mom was pushing me on was more than willing to take me. I refused, worried everyone would think that he was the father of my baby.
Pregnancy changed the way people treated me, even though that should have solidified my “slut” status. Yet, girls were so much kinder, a few speaking to me for the first time in 12 yrs. Others helping me if I happened to miss a class.

I made it & graduated from high school 6 mos. pregnant. Mom & Butch were there, but no one else. Even though the high school was only a mile from my Dad’s house. He did not come. I had been visiting Gramma & grampa after school when I would have an OB class after school & wait for Mom to pick me up after work to catch a ride back to Fitchburg. They gave me a $100 for graduation. I was so proud to be able to buy Gabrielle, after my friend who had died in *th grade, a car seat bumper pad & sheets for her crib. even though I didn’t have one at that point.

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Dick was supposed to have been at graduation, it hurt so bad that he couldn’t even bother to show. Not the first nor last time a major event would be missed by him. He did end up buying the crib the people I was babysitting for had used for their 3 kids & I was happy w that & he bought the mattress. That’s it.
Just before my due date of August 1, 1988, I was at my grandparent’s house & my father showed up. That was the day that he told me he loved me for the FIRST time in my life. He asked me to move back home & take care of my brothers & he would help me w the baby. I talked to Mom & we agreed this was the best move for me. The family I had been babysitting for moved me down 3 flights of stairs 25 miles back to Athol & up 2 flights, provided the truck & charged me nothing. They were so good to me.

Chapter #1  My Nightmare Turned Miracle (The beginning)
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Sometimes we create our own storms.

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Raymond Kyle

Founder Warrior Foundation.

Maybe not intentionally but we still do. We make choices and we allow things to go on that we should have never allowed. Many do this cause they feel that they ain’t worth much or others just get so use to it and they settle for it.

This happens in our recovery and healing process just as much as it happens at any other time as well. Many times in this process we learn as we go that not everybody and everything that we allow to be part of our lives and our process is good for us. A lot of people and things can become toxic to our process and if we continually allow these people and things to stay they can become very toxic to what we are trying to do.

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Never allow somebody or something to hinder your process. You have to love yourself enough to be willing to let go of whatever it is that is holding you back or making you lose focus on what you need to be doing no matter how hard and painful it may be. Ask God to bring the right people and things in your life and remove those which you don’t need. I would tell you that those that fight to stay in your life are the ones that belong, but even sometimes those people are the ones God will remove. Call on God for the wisdom strength and understanding to help you figure out who and what you need in your life to make this process help you get the most out of life. Have a wonderful day my friends. May God bless you and your journey.

Raymond C. Kyle

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My Descent Into Hell

Hell

erinkberndt

Loving Mom

So it was, that I headed to Winchendon to meet the girl’s new love interests. I was extremely happy w my Boyfriend in VT. he was 5 yrs older, had a great job, treated me well & we had been together for about 6 mos. Minus the break up time, when he refused to take me to my Junior Prom.

 I went to Winchendon, having no idea that the ride I was making would become my future, the one I would spend 22 yrs trying to escape.

 We ended up at a decent home, This was where Rocky & Janes new men lived. It was their parents 2nd home & the 2 of them rented it. I met Frank & Dick. Rocky & Frank seemed very happy, but Dick didn’t really go near Jane all that much. When we left Jane had us all yell “we love you dick”. Dick got my number from Rocky & started calling me. I kept telling him he was supposed to like Jane. Unfortunately, he did not. Why o Why, is hindsight 20/20? They really deserved each other,

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 Everytime we went to Winchendon, Dick would find me & when I was home he’d be calling me. What I would’ve done then, had the term Stalker been defined back then, we’ll never know. I was instead flattered by all the attention, so much so, that I called my bf in VT & ended it. He was upset & sarcastically said ‘Is it because we fight so much?” he was right, we didn’t fight. everything was good, but Dick had me intrigued. The irony was that I ended up reconnecting w the old bf on fb just a couple of mos ago. He didn’t remember saying that, but it had stuck in my head because it turned out that that was the truth. i equated love w violence. That thin line between love & hate.

 I was going camping in the State Park, Lake Dennison, when Dick offered to come get me since Rocky & Jane were already at the campsite. I didn’t make it to the campsite that night. Dick kissed me on the beach in a beautiful, romantic setting, our 1 st kiss. Honestly, it was bad, no stars, so spark, nothing. He was an awful kisser & that should have been enough to stop me. Nope, not me, too self conscious of what he’s going to think of me if I try to go. I stay & have sex w him, surprisingly that was good, really good & that’s where he had me.

hell 1

 He dropped me off at his house & I became his girlfriend. Mom, was having an affair while Dad was at work, so I used that to blackmail her into letting me spend weekends at Dick’s. I was working so he would drop me  off & pick me up. He was a true partier. 3 weeks into our relationship we got in a huge fight at a big party. some girl wanted to beat me up over him & really I don’t remember much, except that he sided with her & made me sleep on his bedroom floor that night! There were always girls in & out of his house, always excuses about who they were.We made it 3 months w him bragging he wanted a baby & to spend the rest of his life w me. He’d been saying I love you since the 2nd night together. I got pregnant fast, at first he was excited. Rocky & Frank were expecting too.

 I’m going to tell you more about Frank & Dick’s family. They had a very successful porta potty business, Frank Pygmy  Sr. had been raised poor & built himself a lucrative business. he was married to his 2nd wife Althea. Frank Sr’s 1st wife had given him 4 boys & Althea had given him 4 girls. The youngest was only 3 when I first met them. In the beginning they were very welcoming & I was very comfortable w them. Frank Sr always scared me, he reminded me of my own father, as he had shown up to fight w Dick on a couple of occasions & then kicked us out into the night, to find sleep elsewhere, even though Dick paid rent. He always told me horror stories of how Althea beat the boys, didn’t let them eat w her girls, or shower in her shower, they had to use the creepy cellar instead. He told of beatings & torment as bad as mine.  Then there was the fact that his real mother had not been seen since his 3rd birthday. He was 19 & I was 17.

 He broke up w me shortly after we found out I was pregnant, he changed his mind….yeah & was screwing every under age girl he could. I spent my pregnancy away from him & saw little of him. I did date some while i was pregnant

hell 2

 When my mother had to finally tell my father I was pregnant, home suddenly got really bad, Mom had met someone & she ended up leaving me & the boys alone w him. I was pregnant so there wasn’t anything else he had to worry about me, I was dating & going to parties, sober. One night he had come home drunk & my friend Olivia had been living w us, we were heading out w a guy I was dating & his friend, who was black. Besides, being an asshole, my father was also, very racist. He tried to stop us from leaving. I went anyway, thinking I would come home a little late & he’d be out cold  & not even remember what had happened.

 I couldn’t have been farther from the truth, we got home late & the house was pitch black & dead quiet. We slipped in the front door & the living room light clicked on. There sat my deepest fear, evil glowing in his drunken red eyes. Hatred seeping from him in pools. He stood up & said “You both get the fuck out of my house, you,”he pointed at Olivia, “you have half an hour to pack your shit”. “You”, me now. “you have an hour to pack your shit & get the fuck out of my house”.

 We were out in the dark @2 am, trying to get somewhere. Olivia’s Mom came & got her. I had to swallow my pride & call my mom & her new boyfriend. They came right away from 30 miles & picked me up & took me in. He was a great man, treated my mom like a queen. Living w them was peaceful. They had a Bait & Tackle Shop that I happily ran on the weekends so they could have a life. Plus I was paid & buying things for the little miracle I was growing.

 

Chapter #6 My Evil Father

Evil Dad

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  • Erinkberndt Author My name is Erin Berndt & im 46 yrs old I am married to my soul mate, Fedor. I have 2 children Dacia & Anthony from my ex husband who I spent 22...
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  • stopfryingyourbrain.com one of the most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here to learn more   We are looking for the best books to recommend to our user community. If you are an...
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  • Members of Congress, the Betty Ford Foundation, the Christi Foundation and Many Others Meet to Discuss Opiate Deaths Today. Click on the image below to join our automated drug, alcohol training and marketing series if...
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  • stopfryingyourbrain.com one of the most viewed Substance Abuse sites in the nation click here to learn more When someone talk about the long-term consequences of war, let’s talk about the men and women who came...
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