3 Things Needed for Best Success in Recovery

National Recovery Awareness Month; right here, right now.

What is there to be aware of?

Three things…

Be aware…

Three things are needed for best success in Recovery according to three of my friends who are in active Recovery and succeeding well.

One might think it’s money…

a place to live…

keeping busy with work…

or maybe a really good counselor.

BUT, it’s none of those things necessarily, though each of those things are good to have.

My sober friends Croix and Evan both say it’s LOVE & FELLOWSHIP and they both found this in local AA style groups; being with people who understand and accept you with all your struggles and flaws. Evan says, “…the relationships that I’ve acquired in this program have been amazing…”

There is strength in numbers, as the old saying goes; Coals stay hot when piled together…. a lone coal fizzles out. SO if you want to succeed in Recovery, the advice is: don’t go it alone. Come into the fold of those who know your struggles, of those who support you and accept you, and find the love that makes it all work.

Beyond that, My sober friends say WILLINGNESS is key in turning a life around and keeps you on the path of continuous sobriety.  It’s the willingness to be reminded and to be helpful to others who are in the early recovery stage. Another friend, Travis, tells me, “I need reminders… reminders that only newcomers can give… reminders I get of someone working the steps and just getting honest for the first time.”

Evan adds to that : “I am able to be sober and available to show others that there’s another way to live. When I was out there in active addiction I couldn’t do anything without looking for something in return. These days I live my life doing selfless acts of love to help people find the road to recovery.”

To be honest, I am humbled by my sober friends. The commitment I see and observe is amazing. I know that each of my friends would do anything to help someone struggling with addiction, find sobriety; I have witnessed them taking phone calls at inopportune times and making it a priority to be a listening ear and give words of encouragement; I know they have driven old cars into the ground to gather people from wherever locations to get to nightly meetings, or to include another recovering friend in a fun sober excursion.  These men walk the talk with passion!

Croix ties it all together, “What I needed and need most for recovery is love, community, and the willingness to continuously share those things that were given to me, with others.”

I am not in recovery,

… but I met these dedicated and passionate men during my son’s struggle to stay sober; unfortunately, my son did not fully latch on totally to the fellowship of the sober community and he made one mistake, one night, and died of an unintended, overdose after 5 months of sober living.

I choose to love on Croix, Evan, Travis, and others in recovery and support them in any way I can. I urge you to do the same if you know anyone who struggles with addiction, or struggles in early recovery; encourage them toward love, fellowship, and willingness.

It could save their life!

Loving, accepting, and helping others is exactly what God calls us to do in all areas of living – it is what He did for us. God, in the form of Jesus Christ, loved us so much, he sacrificed his own life, in order to bring us into the family – the community – of God, the Father.  And He commands each of us to love others, as we love ourselves, and help others toward the understanding of  the Lord’s love for all people.

Today, right here, right now, is the day to be passionate about people and Recovery!

Be aware and do what you can to support those in Recovery in respect & honor of National Recovery Month.

 

I have connections with all of these groups that support those struggling in addiction and seeking sober living; Please, consider making a donation to any, or all, of these life saving helps and ministries:

Hampshire Hope (DART program)

Honest Beginnings (SOAAR / The Nest Recovery Center)

Northampton Recovery Center

Teen Challenge 

 

 

 

 

Why Be Aware of Drug Overdose?

“Someone dies every 14 minutes from drug overdose in this country.”

My son, Caleb, was one of them; He died of an overdose in May of 2018.

So….Why be aware of drug overdose?

I tell you the truth – no one is immune from this epidemic;

don’t be lulled into false security thinking: “this will never happen to my family…”

Because that’s what I thought… that’s what many other mothers who grieve their son’s and daughter’s thought… none of us ever wanted to be in this grieving-an-overdose-death-club.  I know my son did not want to overdose… he had plans for his life – but they were altered by one mistake, one night.

I want you to know that overdoses happen to good, kind, lovable people, like my son; too often, overdose is fatal.

I want you to know that some people are lucky to survive overdose and have a second chance at life; Evan, one of my son’s sober house buddy’s, is one of these survivors.

He says, “waking up from an overdose is probably one of the worst things you can experience…It’s so scary… it takes me a little while to cool down and come to reality and appreciate that I’m alive and apologize to whoever cared about me… All I can say is be grateful for the life that you have.”

So… you may ask…why does someone overdose?

Evan shares, “I would have to say depression and or heartbreak, stress (is what) pushed me to my limits… I (knew I ) had a way out of all this by using drugs as an escape.” I can concur, because I know my son suffered from these ailments as well and am certain that his feelings of despair drove him to relapse after 5 months of clean time.

So… what’s one thing you can do to fight this epidemic of overdose death?

Know what Narcan is and get trained in how to use it and have it on hand at all times.

Caleb’s good friend, Allison, came to a Narcan training during a local Vigil event put on by the local Sober house, Honest Beginnings and SOAAR group a few months after my son’s death. After making a luminary to honor my son, Allison was trained and equipped with Narcan – did she think she’d have to actually ever use it?  Hear her story from this past school year:

It was a weeknight at 9pm on my college campus here in Western Mass. Not the time that anyone would expect to need Narcan. I definitely didn’t….I was walking home (after doing homework with a friend). I heard someone yelling for help down the road. I went to check it out and it was two college aged guys. One was on the ground. He was really cold and clammy. His breaths were really short. I recognized these as symptoms of a possible overdose….I told him to call 911 while I went to my car to get Narcan. I gave it to the guy on the ground and the ambulance showed up not too long after. I honestly do not know what happened after that, but I do know that I am incredibly happy that I had the Narcan and that I had been trained to use it.”

Allison’s personal message to everyone:

I hope that someday there will be no need for Narcan, but until that day, everyone should have it and know how to use it. I also hope that some day the stigma will be gone so people can ask for help without worrying about the backlash.”

Get trained in Narcan and know how to use it… you could save a life!

Mostly, I want you to know that so many people suffer from all kinds of things and feel hopeless and helpless. Not everyone has the support systems they need, nor does everyone have the inner strength to choose the better ways of dealing with struggles and hurts and scars and they do make the mistake of using a substance to soothe their pains – this does not make them bad people or ones to be afraid of or shunned.

So, I urge everyone to value all life and show love to everyone… it is the second greatest command after loving God;

He says: love others.

“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

Not some others, not the others that are likeable and most like yourself…  no…  love others – all the others.

What’s this got to do with overdose?

Maybe, just maybe if we as a people can master just these two commands of God, then maybe Allison could see her hopes come true – a time when there would be no need for Narcan – a time when all stigma is gone and people can feel free to ask for help.

Just maybe…

Do your part to soberly respect Overdose Awareness Month (August):

Be educated, get trained in Narcan & have it on hand, and LOVE OTHERS… really.

 

Trust God, Clean House, Help Others

My friend, Croix, got his One Year Coin and I was there to witness it!

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This young man was my son’s roommate at the local sober house, Honest Beginnings, and the one my son wept fearful tears with just days before my son overdosed and died.

Proud.

Yes, I was so proud of him as he beamed at the podium. We have emotionally adopted Croix and think of him as a son, as we do others we have met while we were on the difficult journey of trying to help our own addicted son in Recovery.

At the podium, my freind clearly declared and shared his testimony as to how he accomplished this milestone:

“Trust God, Clean House, Help Others” is what he said.

Basically, that was his whole speech..

This plan is so simple; it is profoundly awesome!

Trust God: At some point in our lives, we must admit that there is One over us, One we must submit to and trust with our lives.

  • For me, that is Jesus; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Clean House: No Windex necessary! It’s not that kind of cleaning. This is cleaning out the messes in life that we have created – making amends with people we have offended and hurt – seeking forgiveness and making things right with them.

  • As a Christian, I align this with the concept of repentance, making all things right in relationship to God, first, then with others; “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

Help Others: This is the profoundly awesome part because it is the key that keeps him continuing on the path of Recovery.  Croix said, when he stops helping others, that’s when he sees himself begin to slip in thought/mind and heart and that’s a dangerous thing… a very dangerous thing.

Helping others is the way to stay focused — talk the talk, and walk the talk alongside!

  • Coincidentally, this is the way to follow Jesus as well, He said: be fishers of mendo as I did love your neighbor. Jesus sought out the broken and made them whole by seeking, serving, and loving. This is key to the mission, no wonder it is so effective in Recovery for one to help the other; it’s essential to passing on the wholeness & healing.

So, in case you are wondering…

or know someone else who needs to know what a good battle plan is…. this is it!

BATTLE PLAN IN RECOVERY:   TRUST GOD,  CLEAN HOUSE,  HELP OTHERS!

BUT DO NOTE:

It’s not a one time declaration, it’s a day by day, moment by moment work.

It’s doable.

Recovery is attainable.

 

PS. This is a good battle plan for every life in fact.

Trust God, Clean House, Help Others: Repeat.