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Here is a story of one man’s journey through addiction;  too long to put on this page.  It is a personal, unorthodox  and unique in its account of what addiction means to this individual and the outcome of his recovery.  “…A kid can go from a suburban high school 15 year old with an interest in computers to a dope addict in just weeks.  And not just heroin, prescription drugs are grabbing a lot of kids by the balls nowadays…15% of all people are born with a lack of dopamine/endorphin productionThis accounts for most attention deficit, and most of the drug problem.  This also accounts for the most intelligent people you will ever meet…”  Read more about what can happen in  Frank’s Story

Ron G. wrote the “7 Truths About My Addict That Took Five Years To Learn” as a resonating piece for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America in their blog, INTERVENE.  These  truths should hit home with every parent of an addict.

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 9.48.34 PMMatthew Sockolov’s blog,  The Easier Softer Way appears in the side bar of dadonfire.net.  It’s a spiritually based personal recovery blog worth a look.  Its inspiring to see a young man sharing his recovery.  He posted his thoughts on his own fourth step in:  CourageClick on the link to view.   It is the meat of the 12 step program.  This is where an addict shares a fearless moral inventory with another human being.  Spiritual practices describe the process of  vocalizing one’s defects of character as a door to let go these soulful burdens.  The 12 step process can do anyone, in or out of the program a lot of good.  Many spiritual practices & religions use a version of the fourth step.  Catholics for instance “confess” their character defects (sins) to another person.  This process is fundamentally key to releasing the human flaws that fuel addiction to dangerous drugs and alcohol. Link by Matthew

If you  watched the 2010 world series, you may have noticed Texas Rangers Phenom Josh Hamilton who led his team to the big October showdown in the baseball world.  He has a batting average of .352 and hit 32 home-runs in 2010.  What makes this a bigger story is Josh’s journey from drug addiction to baseball stardom.  The blog “Man of Depravity” published Josh Hamilton’s story in a short bio and video you should view called Heroin to Home Runs; The Story of Josh Hamilton. Hamilton pulled no punches in laying it down to a higher power the same way he pulls no punches when he crushes a baseball.  He puts out a message to all other addicts; recovery is a possibility.  Every day is an another opportunity to stay sober.  One day at a time.  Josh has been sober since 2005 and knows intimately that successful sobriety requires daily vigilance as he follows his path of freedom from  addiction.    Link by Big Rod

The Way Live.com.    Pastor and Musician,  John Kilzer calls  his recovery worship service The Way — because in the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “I am the way” and because the 12 Steps are known as a way to recovery.  Music is John’s venue to success.   The music is for the broken, and those who don’t know they’re broken.  It’s for the recovering, and those who don’t believe they’re recovering. It’s got a message for those who need to hear one, and it’s plainly stunning…and for those who’d rather not….and not least, John Kilzer is simply an amazing artist.

The Fighter is a film with a rough and tumble backdrop inspired by the Lowell  documentary “High on Crack Street” by Richie Farrell, about crack use and crime in a run down New England Industrial town.  (you can view the entire film here).   Mark Wahlberg plays “Irish” Micky Ward, trained by his half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale), a former fighter who battled addiction.  Micky Ward overcomes the obstacles of drug ridden Lowell and rises  to boxing fame to  win the WBU Light Welterweight titles.  The movie was filmed in the City of Lowell, Massachusetts.  Check out the Boston Globe story .  Link by Barbara Lear of Salem, NH.

Romancing Opiates,  a controversial book on opiate addiction was written by social critic, retired doctor and highly acclaimed author Theodore Dalrymple, many call the Orwell of our time.  He has written extensively for the City Journal, Manhattan Institute; a social journal worth viewing.  His 2006 book, Romancing Opiates treats addiction and treatment much in line with his social commentary on failed states and systems.  Most of his writing follows an Orwellian ideology.  Curiously,  in his book about opiate use, he compliments Mao Tse Tung’s methods of eradicating  opium and heroin use in China with extreme coercion or death.  You can read the rest of this review right HERE

THE ALCOHOLISM AND ADDICTION CURE: a book with a claim to cure addiction.  Most have seen the ad’s.  It sparked my curiosity.    Heroin addiction is the genesis of Chris Prentiss’s book and his claim to cure addiction.  His son, Pax Prentiss was a 10 year heroin user among other drugs, including alcohol.  Pax conquered a larger than life complex about his dad by co-founding Passages Treatment Center with him.   http://www.dadonfire.net is not sold on a simplistic cure.  I do like the four points.   Here are some links for your own review:    Hollywood Rehab •   Breakthrough Addiction Recovery •   Addiction Tomorrow. “Curing addiction” at Passages is reduced to four  problems  in an addict’s life:  1) Chemical imbalance,   2)  Events of the past,  3) Current conditions and  4) Things we believe that are false; biggest being that addiction is a disease and “I” have it. (Of course this flies in the face of AA and NA.)

If you believe that addiction is not a disease; but it is “something” that is curable, read this book.  Addressing the four points will take a lot of cash.  Passage’s, Malibu,  is $78,560 per month.  A scaled down Passages, Ventura is $32,500 per month.  That includes daily work of nine therapists and doctors  a plethora of phlebotomy according to Judith @ Passages Admissions (805) 283-4737.  Those costs are based on Jan. 2010 pricing.

“The cure” is a commodity.  Life energy, you might say.   But, isn’t that personal effort no different that what has been known for the last 54 years since alcoholism and  drug addiction to follow, were defined as disease by the AMA.   It takes work whether done in 30 years or 30 days.  As far as “a cure”, I wouldn’t bet much money on a “cured” addiction left un-checked after a single month of treatment.     Addiction recovery, however one minces words, be it a  cure or recovery,  takes living in vigilance for an addict.  Most can’t afford luxury treatment, but probably wouldn’t argue the impact  of personal and public cost of  addiction.  It is  a financial burden to all of us and big dollar treatment doesn’t  pick bones about this reality.  A “cured addict” is another story.

This is a dark eye opening story written by Laura Lang in 2004 about the  impact of heroin on her life.  “…I have not been born again, and I didn’t die of an overdose and come back to life.  I simply decided that if I kept shooting heroin everyday I would eventually become a serious junky.  What most people don’t understand about heroin is that there are two kinds of heroin addicts…”

Read the rest of it here:   http://blacktable.com/lang041104.htm

Eddie Grijalva  is a compassionate leader in the world of recovery.  His fire for finding solutions happens everyday in Tucson, Arizona and throughout Native American Communities in Southern Arizona.  His work is a model among other American Indian tribes across the country.   As a Compass Behavioral Health Service staff member and recovery specialist he has walked and talked as a leader among many.  His story was featured in the recovery blog,  Addiction World.  It can be viewed right here:  Eddie Grijalva’s Story

“…successful recovery starts with giving people a second chance, withholding judgment and offering compassion. “It’s about honoring people… ” – Eddie Grijalva

“… We buried 6 of his friends up here from OD’s.  Often the ones that died were fresh out of very expensive rehabs.   The point I am making is this…it is love and love alone that will help you and your family thru this nightmare. Tough love mostly…”  read the rest of Maggies Story

Beautiful Boy – a father’s journey through his son’s addiction.   David Sheff writes about his son’s addiction and his own journey… “Beyond the visceral torture of helplessly watching Nic, his adolescent son, descend deep into the rabbit hole of addiction, Sheff confesses to the ubiquitous parental habit of second-guessing every decision he has made throughout Nic’s life…”   David’s son, Nick, does, by grace, recover and Nick goes on to write his own book “Tweek” about his methamphetamine addiction.  See the above links for details about both books

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Life After celebrates and offers a video archive of stories of hope.  This archive of stories of recovery was constructed by the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Below is a sample of what you will see on their site.

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Synopsis of a new book by the author, Dr. Barbara Sinor, www.drsinor.com

“….Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery offers deep insight into ourselves and those we love. Between the potent stories, the reader finds pertinent information surrounding addiction recovery which presents an awareness of how the public can help those with drug or alcohol addictions. Various literature is introduced which allows the reader to discover how anyone of us can be of service to our addiction population….”  see the rest of the synopsis   here. Material submitted by Dr. Barbara Sinor, Ph.D.

Pat shares this story.  His experience begins in the blue collar town of Ayer, Mass., as he chronicles the difficulty of dealing with dual diagnosis in his family.

I am an alcoholic and drug user, active since 1971, until I stopped drinking in 2001.  If I knew then what I know now I never would have started.  During my heyday, I used pot, amphetamines, cocaine and LSD.  Who would have ever guessed I was that messed up; but I was!

In 2001, I was told by my Primary Care Physician that I would have to undergo chemo for liver disease or face the possibility of developing cancer of the liver.  I am happy to say the treatment was successful and I have recovered physically from the treatment.  I am now as I was then; a single parent.  My children at that time were 15, 10 and 8 years old and I was working full-time and only missed 2 days of work because of the treatment.  I can’t stress enough to my children that they should not abuse alcohol and not do drugs.  In this world we live in, these things have been so glamorized that it is sickening.

I do not know if there is any relativity to another situation that I deal with on a daily basis, but my children were diagnosed at an early age with ADHD.  Which it seems, may actually have been bipolar disorder.  My two oldest have mild cases and do not need medication.  My youngest son has an extreme case and has been hospitalized three times in (2) years.  It is not an easy thing to deal with and each day can be a challenge.  All three of my sons are very intelligent, but at times I look at my youngest son and see his difficulties and it makes me cry to see him struggle like he does.  My ex-wife – my children’s mother – also has bipolar disorder and also abused drugs and alcohol.  She has been hospitalized (14) times since 1995 and currently shares the five bedroom apartment I have with my two sons still living at home because she is unable to work because of her disability.  She became homeless 2 years ago.  I have had a tremendous amount of support from my family over the years and have had a great deal of faith in my life that has really helped me get through trying times.

I have been involved in a few support groups through the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and The National Alliance on Mental Illness.  Having those resources available, really helped me.  Like I said, I don’t know how my children having a mental illness relates.  It just goes to show that in some way what we do may have some far reaching consequences that we cannot see.  This story was submitted by Patrick Gentry

excerpt…”Point is this.  Just one addict!  has imposed a cost to his family, various providers,  the community of LA, the jail system and the valuable resources of North Ridge Emergency Center of an estimated total of $25,000 in two months time.  A cost no one keeps track of or understand this its totality.  In an era of impending health care and legal reform, the success and further growth of  pre-screening protocols like SBIRT would appear to be an imperative…”  read the rest of the article here

Hooked: Five Addicts Challenge Our Misguided Drug Rehab –  book by Lonny Shavelson …The author shows that the “System” is designed to weed out those who most need its help. Dual diagnosed? Go to the drug rehab centers and be told treatment is not available to those with severe mental disturbance. Rejected but not despairing, go across town to the mental health center and be told, “sorry, we can’t help you until you stop taking drugs.” Suffer a relapse?  Be kicked out of most programs, as though the ability to NOT use drugs is a precondition for admittance to a drug rehab program.  Homeless? Conclude your rehab by being placed in a cheap hotel room in the same part of town where drugs dominate life…sound familar?  Read more here:   http://www.unhooked.com/booktalk/hooked_shavelson.htm

What’s Left of Us, a memoir of addiction.    Check out his site. Website contribution by Richie Farrell.  Check out some quotes from his book  here.

“Any parent who has had to confront a child’s drug abuse is familiar with the drawn-out agony of despair, impotence, fear, grief and, while there is still a chance for recovery, hope. That last is perhaps the most ravaging of all. Hope means you aren’t yet numb enough, not yet at peace with the chaos into which life has spilled, not yet so defeated and angry that you’re unable to try to help. Julie Myerson, a novelist living in London and the mother of three children, was finally forced to throw her eldest son out of the house — and change the locks — when his cannabis habit so deranged him that he became physically violent. He was 17 years old.”  Read the rest of the review here Article from New York Times, “Reefer Madness” by Dominque Browning.

The Heroin Awareness Foundation is a self-funded, volunteer organization designed to provide non-professional, unbiased information, discussion, personal connection, encouragement and resources for families and individuals affected by heroin and other drugs of abuse.  Read the stories HERE.  Read Kyndalls’s story.  Site posted by Mary.

This dad lost his daughter to heroin and responded with a website outreach called Dads against Drug Dealers in an effort to target drug dealers.  His site’s  memorial page starts with his own 19 year old “Jani” followed by 14 others/  All young lives lost to drugs.  All loved.  All only the tip of the iceberg.    Check out this website right here.

Click here to read a -straight to the point- account of  Mary Ann’s lifelong battle for sobriety and sanity and her ultimate success.  Now with over a decade of sobriety behind her, Mary Ann is a contributing member of Narcotics Anonymous, having attended national conventions and engaging in service work in Northern California, spreading her experience, strength and hope to those in need.

Excerpt from the book Trapped by Lori Stephens and Robert Nahas:

…My spinning head started to slow down.  I felt like I’d just stepped off the Tilt-a-Whirl at the carnival.  No point of reference, nothing around me staying in one place, everything changing shape.  My eyes slowly focused, filtering out the fuzzy, indiscernible shapes in the surrounding environment….  Local sounds still seemed off in the distance, coupled with a cave-like ringing sound in my ears.  My body, numb and lax, felt like it vibrated, so much that it hummed from the inside out.  Though I lay motionless, I could feel every cell in my body vacillating in frantic horror, trying to keep my organs in play and everything going according to the master plan.  It was mass chaos without the coordinated efforts of my brain, which was off-line and useless at the time….

…With the toxic concoction that had flown through my body for the past twenty hours, there was a cellular panic of a different order.  The desperate urge for more was well heard by the incumbent resident.  My insatiable body scorned the exhausted liver and kidneys for robbing the precious poison, while they approached total shutdown.  And like every other time, the voices, in unison, grew louder and louder with each pump of my heart:  “MORE METH!… MORE METH!… MORE METH!… MORE METH!”  Like in the final mile of a marathon, my heart struggled to thrust yet one more time….

Excerpt from the new book What’s Left of Us by Richard Farrell.  The book will be available from Amazon after June 30, 2009.

I am a heroin addict.  My life is limited to three concerns.  The first thing I gotta figure out every morning is how to get a bag of heroin into my arm no more than ten minutes after I wake up.  If I fail, I’m dope sick.  The cramps inside my lower stomach go on a full-scale attack….

… The majority of heroin in Lowell originates from New York City.  Puerto Rican gangs bring it here by the kilo.  The drug dealers on Adam Street who package the heroin from one pound bricks into grams and half-gram are no Einsteins.  They cut the heroin or add fake shit….

… Too much pure heroin in a half-gram package equals a “hot shot.”  You’re history, because five minutes after the rush your heart stops.  Too little or no heroin in a half-gram package gets you dope-sick.

… But my major concern on Adam Street is “cotton fever.”  I’d rather be dope-sick all day than get what the Puerto Rican junkies down here call “cotton shot rush.”  It’s when a dirty piece of cotton fiber used to filter the heroin makes it into your bloodstream….

… “Cotton shot rush” is a perfect example of life as a heroin addict.  You live for the moment.  If it happens, it happens.  But there is no mistaking it when it hits.  Ten to twenty minutes after you pull the trigger it whacks you like you’re in the third day of the flu virus.  The ears give it away:  if they start to ring you’re fucked.  Pressure begins to mount on each side of your temple like a vise squeezing slowly together.  Sweat pours off your brow but at first there is no temperature associated with it.  The shakes progress quickly to trembles.  Chills hit immediately after and the body’s temperature spikes….

… I wasn’t always a homeless, jobless, low-life heroin addict.  Once I was a good kid, an altar boy for Father Muldoon right here at St. Patrick’s.  I went to the YMCA as a young boy and played basketball, baseball, and football… injuries from football got me addicted to drugs, and the night I watched my father die, and everything else that happened, sent me on a path to heroin.

“Yo, yo! Heroin, cocaine. Dimes and nickels.”

June 10, 2009

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Attn:  President Barrack Obama

URGENT HEALTH/ DRUG ABUSE ISSUE

Dear President Obama

I am a small Tucson business owner and father currently affected by the downturn.  My boy, Owen is 22, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and is a heroin addict. He also has some judgment impairment (ADHD…)  Without too much detail, I need to say the system is failing him and other addicts, especially those with life threatening diseases.  He  is a non-violent person and frequently ends up in jail instead of rehab, because rehab is so difficult to get into if your not very wealthy.  The outcome of being an addict often leads to jail.  After 4 years, he hasn’t much time left  to get well or he could die on the streets.  I urge you to address the epidemic of drug addiction with compulsory federally mandated addiction treatment and rehabilitation,  especially for addicts in grave danger from the complications of overlay diseases such as diabetes, type 1, HIV, hepatitis, etc…

I would like to add that my beautiful son is currently homeless in Los Angeles and in and out of ER.  Lately, he made (4) ER visits to North Ridge Medical Center, LA,  for dangerous  diabetic complications (keto-acidosis).   Unfortunately, the medical system, particularly in ER fails to grasp a global view of the patient while in ER and frequently discharges patients back on to the streets with life saving prescriptions they can not easily fill.  Measures that would help and could prevent the overtaxing of ER facilities around the country could be triggers for compulsory psychiatric evaluation and transfers to appropriate lower cost facilities or rehabilitation centers or even a simple shelter.

Legal complications should also be noted.  Regarding an addicts impact with the legal system, they rarely are able to follow through with court mandates while active in addiction, nor does the legal system make a distinction or accommodation for the circumstances of a young sick addict.  For instance, court mandated commitment to rehabilitation is not triggered in cases where an infraction is not specifically drug related (i.e. possession) even though DA’s know the offender is an addict and in Owen’s case, gravely ill.  Most addicts are released to the streets without a treatment mandate and re-offend or overdose.  From a very concerned father.

Sincerely

William Ford,  Concerned Dad

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