Category: Holy Addiction (Blog)

All The Gifts

Suboxone Was My Road To Recovery

Not Anonymous, JoAnn MillerPeople don’t realize it, but the people in the addiction/recovery community work hard.  I got to thinking today about how I could measure success with the work I do.  Up until three weeks ago all I did was write in my blogs and spread awareness through posters/memes and news stories on social media. So how do you measure success with something so difficult to measure?

IF I HELP ONE PERSON, IT WILL BE WORTH IT.  We have probably all said, thought or at the very least heard this in our community.  So I have good news for you all.  Here goes:

Entering this community  I was on Suboxone but wasn’t working a program, and my life sucked.  Just like an addict, I didn’t go through the front door, I snuck around back and climbed in the window.  My road to recovery was Suboxone, period point blank ( suboxone saved my life, and this is just my story I believe whatever works- work it) I didn’t need a sponsor, meetings, a higher power or any of that, just Suboxone.  I was adamant about it.  After relapsing too many times to count in the past 20 years, I figured Suboxone was the best route for me.

I went to war with my family and my doctor over staying on Suboxone and being accepted for it.  So if I knew anything at all entering this community it was that I was an addict and I would be on Suboxone for the rest of my life.  I was 43.

If you had told me the day I snuck in that window that I would own a blog with traffic, would be working with a radio station and three of the coolest guys in the recovery community, I wouldn’t have believed you.

The past year of my life has been one crazy ride.  I gave up drugs and picked up a mission. The day I typed addiction into the search bar on Facebook, I was shocked.  I was an active regular social Facebook user, and I had no idea that this world, our world, even existed.  You would think I would have run into a meme or something, but no, nothing.

Within one year this community has turned my life around.  You gave me the strength to give up the Suboxone.  I learned that I am a whole lot tougher than I thought I was.  I found skills that I didn’t know I had and self-worth that I never had.  I have a resume that doesn’t have one single lie on it, and it still looks impressive.  I sold a business and opened three more.  I got two incredible opportunities to continue doing awareness work, but now I can eat too.

Now my friends are writers, artists, lawyers ( that I didn’t have to hire ) paralegals, and so much more.  You’ve taken the time to teach me and to build me up.  In this past year, you have given me life-enriching skills, relationships, experiences and even things to look forward to.

So I wanted to give you guys this Chrismas gift early.  Once I figured out the amazing gift that you guys gave me this year.  I couldn’t wait to give yours to you.

Thank you, for saving ME.

 

Suffering Addict Shows For Christmas

 

Hey… Yeah… It’s Me…
Yes, good to see you too..

Here I am in all my glory.
The black sheep of the family.
The let down.
The disgrace.
The addict.

I’m not really sure why I showed up today.. I can feel all your eyes resting upon me with every move I make. I’m not here for your entertainment, I do know that much.
Seeing everyone I haven’t seen since I was a kid is a bit overwhelming to me right now.
Please don’t push me into a corner and surround me with your questions.
And please, don’t offer your advice unless you have walked the crooked mile that I am on.

In your mind it is so simple, just stop doing drugs. Go right on out there and get yourself a job tomorrow and buy that little house on the corner by the end of the year.

It sounds great.. just so puke perfect. When you are talking to me about what I should do with my life, keep in mind that it is easy to sit back and preach to someone when you have never encountered even the smallest of my problems in relation to your perfect little world.

I know that it makes for a good conversation starter.. but I am not living anywhere permanently, and I am not employed. Truth be told, I am wandering through this world relying on dope to keep me numb, so that I do not have to feel any emotion whatsoever.

I don’t have time to explain to you “how it makes me feel when I do drugs” or “when I am going to get myself together”. I’m broken.

What I do need from you right now is to be shown some respect, even though I know you do not respect me at all in my current state of mind.. please.. be a good sport and pretend.

I need to look around and see the faces of my family, enjoying their Christmas time together.. not blank faces and glares from those of you who think you are better than me because of the decisions that I made, and still make.

I’m probably not going to have much of an appetite, considering that my stomach is filled with anxiety and I don’t really eat much these days.

Please don’t insist on loading my plate with all the things you want me to try, I am not going to eat the things I know that I like, much less something that you are forcing me to take.

Let’s all sit down and just be family. Just be here, together.. laughing and cutting up about old memories, and let’s pass around all the new babies.

Don’t pull me to the side with the “Can I talk to you for a minute” scene.. and take me outside to tell me how I need to do this or that. You don’t know what I need. I’m not me.

When it’s time to pass out presents, don’t make excuses of why you would have got me this or that.. but… Listen carefully, I do not want gifts from anyone in this room. That is not why I am here.

The greatest gift that you can give to me right now is a taste of normality.
Look at me and talk to me like I never fell off the wagon.. like I am not a junkie.
Let me remember what it was like to be me. Before my demons drug me into the life I live now.
If only for a moment, let’s pretend that I am me again.
Let’s act like I can look you in your eyes with confidence while we carry on a random conversation about the news, or sports, or the weather.

I need to find me.
I am so lost.

Please don’t bring up my past, or the life that I lived before.
Do not ask me when I am getting my children back from CPS.

Befriending me in order to get me to open up to you about my life and then using my words against me later on will cut me to the core. Let’s avoid that at all costs.

Please do try to include me in things.. Invite me outside to play tag football with the rest of our cousins. I am an addict, not a stranger to our family traditions after Christmas dinner.

And last, but not least.. don’t feel sorry for me.
I am grown.
These are my choices, and my consequences.
And I live with them every single day.

But today.. I want to feel normal again.
If only just for the afternoon.

Even though you don’t understand…
Help me remember what it’s like to be me again.

And if you happen to be present in one of the emotionally frail moments and breakdowns that I am bound to have happen sooner or later, the longer I am here.. Just sit here in the silence with me. Don’t ask what’s wrong. I’m not sure.

Maybe I just miss me a little more today.
And maybe tomorrow I will keep one of those promises that I make to myself every day when I try to get clean and stop using.

But just for today….
Leave your panoply of  judgments, questions, and whispers in your car when you walk in and see the chair that has been reserved for me for all these years that has sat empty is occupied today.

I am here.
That’s all I need for now.
Love,
The Still Suffering Addict

My friend: Danielle R. Gilliam, we will get through this.

RecoveryRadio.FM Review

 

December 1st RECOVERYRADIO.FM went live out of Palm Beach, Florida. Three huge names in recovery are hosting the show, RJ ViedJames Sweasy and Bobble. These guys are all forces in the recovery community but together WOW, you can expect lots of inspiration, differences of opinions and thanks to Bobble every topic will be explained so that everyone will understand completely.

The show runs for three hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 pm to 11 pm on

96.1FM for Pompano to West Palm / 97.5FM for West Palm to Jupiter/ 1340AM for all of West Palm County. You can also watch the show live on RECOVERYRADIO.FM OR on Facebook at www.facebook.com/recoveryradio.fm

If you aren’t familiar with these guys, let me tell you a little about them from my perspective.

RJ Vied is a Recovery Advocate who is a talented writer, speaker and all around genuine guy. I guess you could say he is the eye candy of the show…at least that’s what all the ladies are saying but don’t take my word for it, check him out yourself. You can follow RJ Vied on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rjvied. Don’t think that means he is just pretty to look at, this guy has a genuine passion for reaching the addict still suffering and supporting those in recovery. RJ Vied is a triple threat, intelligent, talented and honorable. The eye candy part is just a bonus.

James Sweasy is one of those magnetic guys that when they talk you just know you need to listen. Sweasy is from my hometown Louisville, KY and his no-nonsense approach to recovery has made him one of the most followed Public Persona’s in Recovery, and he is just getting started. Sweasy’s fans are die hard and with Sweasy’s creative video angles and call it like it is approach this guy going to be HUGE…ok he already is huge so how about Enormous. Relatable is Sweasy’s middle name. If you aren’t a Sweasy Fan, you need to hope on over to www.facebook.com/jamessweasy and learn you a thing or two. That’s what us Kentuckiana’s like to say.

Last but not least is Bobble. Bobble is a musician that is rocking the recovery world with his relatable rhythms and hip hop recovery music. I don’t know a bunch about Bobbleother than thank goodness for him being on this show. Sure enough, when I am scratching my head about some odd term, idea or recovery approach Bobble is quick to say, HUH? Please explain that so we all can understand it. You can follow Bobble at www.facebook.com/bobblemuzikRAW

I am going to give www. recoveryradio.fm a ten on a scale of 1-10. If you missed the show last night, you could listen to it on their website www.recoveryradio.fm anytime.

Be sure to check out their next show every Tuesday and Thursday. They encourage people to call in but remember this isn’t a podcast so no swearing or you will be disconnected immediately.

RECOVERYRADIO.FM is a great concept with incredible talent, I look for this show to have a long successful run. Congrats guys, we will be listening, that is for sure.

Christmas & Addiction

I love Christmas, it’s truly magical to me, in my mind.  Since being an addict for over 20 years, most of my fantastic Christmas’ have been fantasies in my mind.  The truth of Christmas for me always ends up the same.  I was clean last year and have had 4 or 5 clean Christmas’ during my 20 year run with opiates.  The crazy thing is it doesn’t matter, at least not yet, if I am clean or not.  Christmas always ends up making me feel like a subhuman.

These are some ways that Christmas would be easier for me, and this is using or not.  If your loved one is actively using or even new to recovery, they may not have something nice to wear to the get together you want them to attend.  A week or two before the event if you know they don’t have anything to wear, take a bag of hand me downs over and tell them so and so was cleaning out their closet.  Don’t mention they can wear any of it to Christmas, they will figure it out.

As a kid, we craved the approval of our parents. As we mature, very little changes in our need for approval (often beyond just our parents). So if you are the parent, family member or friend of someone struggling with addiction, do your best to let them know that they are cherished and valued. This underlying message opens the doors of communication and brings them that much more likely to confide in you when they are ready for help or just for an ear while they are on their recovery path.  If I ever look into my mother’s eyes and see something other than disappointment, it will be the happiest day of my life.

For the person abusing substances, as well as for family and friends, gifting can be tough. Before exchanging elaborate holiday wish lists, consider trading in material objects for “healing gifts.” This can relieve tremendous pressure that may be placed on addicts who are often just getting back on their feet financially and can’t afford to purchase presents. So you can do like letter writing to each other instead of gift exchanges.  Something where the addict can express their feelings and give a gift without it costing money.

You will be surprised at what a difference even a minor attitude change can make in behavior. Your loved one is likely under a lot of stress just keeping up with the rest of family or friends and staying in high spirits, so remind them of a phrase that’s said a lot in recovery: “It’s progress, not perfection.” It’s a valuable reminder for them to continue moving forward like they say one day at a time and, though it might not always feel like it, a holiday is just another day like any other in the broad scope of one’s sobriety journey.  If the person is still using and they show up to the holiday events that could be a big step in the right direction but make sure that no one yells out OH LOOK WHO GRACED US WITH THEIR PRESENCE, stuff that seems very simple but is huge to an addict.  Just writing this has got me in tears.

Don’t Hover:  Have the strength to let your loved one feel safe, even if it means giving up some control.  If they need to skip out on the customary touch-football game to go to a meeting or meet up with recovery friends, you should give them room to do that and permit their absence at this event. No accusations, no judgments. Period.

With some awareness and understanding, Christmas might be great again.

Surviving The Holidays When Addiction Is In The Family

The Holidays are tough for everyone. When you add addiction to the everyday stress it can be overwhelming. The number one tip that I have is about expectations.  I don’t know about you but when the Holidays come I have this picture in my mind of how everything will turn out.  Before I realize it I have a picture in my mind that would be tough for a major motion picture to produce.

I just know the gift I bought my husband is going to make his year!  The gravy recipe I found is sure to get my mother in law to say ” Omg this is the best gravy!”  The Holiday cheer will definitely make my two aunts that hate each other at least hold their tongues.

When the big day arrives it never fails that someone else gives my husband that gift I was so excited about and my gravy was a big hit but my mother in law decides to start her first diet and gravy is not ok- but chocolate pie her sister brings will be ok.   The two aunts don’t make it into the house because my aunt Sara attacked her sister in the driveway and they both wound up in jail.

Now I am a mess because the reality of my Holiday doesn’t fit my expectations.  Sounds obvious but it’s a big issue this time of year.

When addiction in our lives, whether it’s us or our loved ones we just need to thank God we are here and able to enjoy the day.  We need to laugh at the crazy we call family and realize that these people are what’s important not some fantasy.

 

This year let’s just have realistic expectations that things are going to be messy.  That is the way life is.  If we get too caught up in the fantasy of the Holidays we put ourselves at risk of undue stress and our loved ones as well.  If you are the addict you don’t need that.  If your loved one is, then they definitely don’t need to feel pressure to be picture-perfect when they might be struggling to make it through the day.

So let’s operate from love this year.  If you have someone in your family that is using think about inviting them to Holiday events anyway.  Be prepared for them to say no or be late but that is ok.  The main thing is that they know they are loved.  Sometimes that is the best gift you can give.

Angel Warrior, Daris Patrick Fent

Daris Patrick Fent isn’t the stereotypical drug user.  ” I am a Marine, I am meant to save lives, be proud of that,” said Daris to his mother, Melissa Dye.  The best way to describe Daris in the early stages of addiction is that he was able to function when after his doctor in the Military prescribed him Oxycontin after a minor injury.  Daris was not just a  manly Marine; he was a sensitive musician too.  If Daris tried something he was good at it.  He was just that kind of young man.

 

 

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-6-44-42-pmNo one in his family, nor the Marines noticed any signs of drug use until the pain meds he was getting from the doctor stopped coming.  Daris like so many others felt he had no other choice but to move to heroin which is cheaper and more accessible than prescription medications.

It didn’t take long once heroin entered Daris’ life for the signs to start to show.  Melissa, Daris’ mom, came across test messages between Daris’ brother and his girlfriend where they talked about the time he spent in the bathroom and mentioned Daris falling asleep in the middle of a text message.   His mother didn’t have any proof but confronted him and said “I know you’re doing drugs,” he immediately broke down, begging for help.  Over and over he kept saying “I don’t know why I can’t stop, I just want my life back.” That night Melissa stayed up all night surfing the Internet, looking for rehabs and resources only to come up empty-handed.  Like so many parents she didn’t know where to turn.There was one facility with a bed for him, private pay only and I had no choice but to take out a private loan to try and save my son’s life.

Melissa found one facility with an available bed.  It was a private center that Melissa had to take a loan out to get Daris into the facility.  At Liberty Ranch, Daris was too close to home and all of his connections.  Daris began leaving the center and had a tough time dealing with the rules.  Melissa says she doesn’t blame the treatment center; she believes that a more faith-based program would have fit Daris better.  One of his regular reassurances to his mom about his condition was ” God will see me through this.” Daris had a strong faith and Melissa wishes she could have found a faith-based program for him.

When your child is using a substance like heroin you know that at any moment your entire life can change.  With fentanyl being added to heroin more often than not, parents are living their lives in agonizing fear of losing their child to this disease.  Melissa was no different.  On August 14th Melissa joined an ever-growing group of families that have lost one of their most precious gems to a drug overdose.  Daris had been doing very well.  He was working out at the gym when he made plans to meet his mom at his sister’s basketball game.  One of his old using buddies approached him at the gym and asked Daris to come hang out.  On their way to the friend’s house, they bought heroin.  It is estimated that Daris took his final dose of heroin around 10:30 am, at about 11 his “friend” called a friend and told them that Daris was unconscious.  Unfortunately, even after he was told to call 911 he waited, at 3:10 another call was placed to the friend at which time he admitted that he hadn’t called 911 and now he was talking about dumping Daris in a ditch somewhere.  After hearing this kid on the other end of the conversation called 911.  By then it was too late, Daris had suffered severe brain damage from lack of oxygen.  Thankfully Daris gave his mother the gift of three days where Melissa was able to cuddle up next to her son, breathe his scent and tell him how much everyone loved him.  Melissa held him looking at her beautiful son as he took his last breath.

 

The heartbreak that Melissa Dye and her surviving children have endured because of Daris’ senseless death has created an unstoppable force.  Melissa still struggles with the loss of her son, but she is also determined to try to save someone else’s child.  Project Daris, is a team made up of medical professionals that offer a FREE program to Kentucky and surrounding States schools. Melissa takes Project Daris into schools and provides drug education, K-12,  on the subject of current drugs that are being abused and misused.

Melissa’s team is determined to counter the glorified messages kids see and hear on social media. Daris’s story is told to the students, and they watch his memorial video.  Project Daris works with guest speakers which include people in recovery and parents that have also dealt with a child suffering from Substance Use Disorder. 

When asked what her main goal was Melissa was quick to say, “My primary purpose is to put drug education back into schools.  Drug education needs to be part of the curriculum; our children deserve to learn the life skills to avoid drugs. I believe this is where we can make the biggest impact.  We’ll never be able to keep the drugs or dealers off the street, but we can educate our children in the truths of drug use and abuse!”

I then asked Melissa what advice would she give families facing this situation in their children and she said, “I didn’t have the tools or knowledge to save my son, become educated! Don’t believe in tough love or rock bottom; the bottom was my son’s death.”

Recently, after visiting a school, Melissa got an email from the parent of one of the students that saw Melissa’s story at school.  This is what the email said:

Project Daris

Melissa:

I wanted to let you know that my son, who is a 14 yr old Freshman, was present in the assembly at Montgomery County High School when you spoke yesterday. He was very emotional telling me about your son’s life and his death. I am a drug counselor. We have people in our family who are in recovery, and have even lost many loved ones due to addiction including my mother-in-law in 2005, my best friend, who was like my brother and an uncle to my children; he died last year on my wedding anniversary, and my little sister lost her best friend only two months ago due to using heroin that had been laced with Carfentanil. We also come from a family of substantial military personnel including the Navy, Army, and United Stated Marine Corp., so there were many things about your life that struck home with my son. First, I want to offer to you my sincerest condolences for the loss of your child. Thank you for your child’s sacrifice for our country and our freedom, and thank you for your sacrifice as a military mom. I want to thank you mostly for sharing Daris’ story. Even though I try always to be very honest and real with him, my son was surprised by Daris’ age, talent, and Military service knowing that he died from an overdose. I know it can’t be easy to do this, but I want you to know that you made an impact on my son, and I am grateful for that. Tonight we sat together and listened to Daris sing songs on YouTube, and we cried together as we watched his memorial service. There are no words that I can say to relieve the pain of losing your child, and so I will not try to come up with any. I wanted only to thank you for taking the time to try to save other kids, MY CHILD, from the same desperation that I know Daris must have felt and that you must feel now. My heart breaks for you, but I am so grateful that you are using this as an opportunity to help heal our communities. Thank you, just doesn’t seem to be enough. Sincerely,

Mary Smith

Letters like this one are all the payment that someone like Melissa Dye needs to continue working nonstop to make sure that she does her best to keep any other mother from going through the nightmare that she and her family have endured.  Daris didn’t have to die.  If his “friend” would have just dialed 911 as soon as he noticed there was a problem, Daris would still be here.  Daris Patrick Fent was an all-American boy, who was talented, loving, intelligent and kind.  His life mattered the same way your child’s life matters.  Daris was right about one thing.  He was a Marine; he was meant to save lives, and his mother is very proud of that.

To learn more about Project Daris visit their Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/projectdaris/?fref=ts

If you would like to get Project Daris into your School go to their Facebook page and send Melissa Dye a message.  This is a free service.