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7 YEARS

7 years has flown by, yet daily feels like a lifetime
7 years of not hearing your voice
7 years I have not seen you grow into the man you would be today
7 years of not one picture taken of you
7 years of not hearing you laugh or make others laugh
7 years of me not cleaning your room, because you wouldn’t
7 years you do not have to fight for sobriety
7 years you are without pain
7 years you have freedom and peace
7 years have changed me forever
7 years has aged me
7 years has calmed me
7 years of just wanting to hold you once again
7 years and I miss you the same today as the first night you were gone.

Miss you so very much Brett.  Look forward to the day we unite.  Love you sweet boy.

The ONE that head what I said

I recently spent two days at McKinney High School.  One Tuesday, I showed “Not Me” to over 600 students, and on Wednesday, I gave a power point presentation to those same students for 6 periods straight.  Although my throat was sore, my voice hung in there through it all.

Every time that I speak or do any presentation, I always pray that just ONE person hear what I have to say.  Just ONE.

I received the following email and want to share…

“Hello, I am a student from McKinney High School. You recently did a presentation at my school. I just felt compelled to say thanks.  In the past, I have thought about doing drugs and drinking, and I have done some.

I just had to say thanks for opening my eyes and helping me realize that doing drugs in general is terrible for you, even if it is just weed. You have also helped me realize that doing these drugs can lead to doing worse drugs, that can eventually kill you. I never thought a
drug like Xanax could be that bad.

Also I’m sincerely sorry about what happen to your son. Such a tragic thing to lose a child, even though he was 18.  Keep doing what you’re doing to help others out.
Thank you again Mrs. O’Keefe.”

My ONE.

I shared this with the school administration.  The principal answered back; “I’m sure there were many more than just this one kiddo reached by this message, but even if it is only one, then it was well worth it…especially to that parent!!”

ONE!

Take A Step Back

For weeks, I have been reading about political crap. We all have a side. What does that mean?

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a 21-year-old young man. Parents are crushed, siblings don’t really understand yet, lives are changed, dreams are shattered.

There is more to life than getting angry because we disagree on a political level. Venomous words destroy relationships. Relationships are what God intended for us.

Please take a step back today and think about what life could be giving you today. What others may be given today.

I really would not care who Brett backed politically. It sure would be nice to just have a discussion with him today.

“Shameless”

Sometimes, it is the children of the family that have to become the adults.  Often because they must take care of an addict parent.  They must grow up quickly to keep the family together.

I just recently started watching a series called “Shameless”.  It is about a large family, whose mother left years before, walking away from her alcoholic husband and all their children.

The oldest daughter quickly took over the mother’s position, raising all her siblings.  Dad went further into the abyss.   I find it interesting that the siblings all had to grow up very quickly, but they do what they have to do to keep their family together and afloat.  They do their best to stay mentally healthy, dealing with many overwhelming issues, such as paying the mortgage, feeding the family, having friends, school, jobs and more.   And then there is dad, the addict that has his share of needs, issues and ideas.

The drama is always there.  There never seems to be any calm.  They always seem to be putting out the fires.  Always running to find the extinguisher.  Just like in real life substance abuse, the fire extinguisher never seems at hand, to immediately handle the flames.

We have come to a time where we are accepting addiction and maybe even have a slight understanding of this disease.  Maybe in time, we will begin to not judge.  There are no perfect families, because there are no perfect people.  Every person has baggage and inside each bag are different contents.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just leave those bags, unopened and forever gone, left at the depot?  But that is not life.  We are a product of our pasts.  Many of us are better from what we have overcome.  Many of us wear masks or even must wear the “pants and aprons” for the family.  Too many live in shame and guilt because of the drama from others.  Someday, I hope we all learn to look beyond the face and into the eyes of others.  That is when we will truly be compassionate.

Cold Season, heed warnings

The change in seasons and temperatures typically makes for cold season.  With that comes relief such as cold and cough syrups and more.  Please know that Triple C’s / DXM are abused by many for the high.  Be vigilant in locking up not only your prescriptions but also over the counter medications.
 
Here is an article that lists some of the lingo used by our youth to hide the real intended substances.

I had a dream

Last night, I had a dream.

A little boy, in his baseball uniform appeared and my heart just melted.  He was about 5 or 6 years old.  Yes, it was Brett.  He came up and jump up into my lap.  Being a mom, the first thing that I did was smell him and wrap my arms around him.  I don’t think he said a word.

I remember when he died, I grabbed a t-shirt from his dirty laundry.  Slept with it for days and finally put it into my pillow case.  I was devastated when it accidently got washed.  I don’t think that it still smelled like him, but it really did not matter.  I hate to admit that I cannot remember his smell anymore.  It was a combination of him and his deodorant.  Yes, his deodorant is still in my dresser drawer.   It’s just not the same smell anymore, but I would never get rid of it.

Just like Brett, he had to jump off my lap and head into another direction. 

As I share this, once again the reality of his life and how our lives changed becomes overwhelming.  What is very interesting is that his passion for relationships and helping others has evolved and proves that goodness and belief are paramount.

Today, I am so very blessed.  Brett does not show up very often.  Just a few times so far.  But the work that he does makes me one proud mom.

It is now an epidemic

 

th2o4lplinToday is Friday, the last day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.   I hope that I have been able to give you some education as well.  We must have these honest conversations with our kids.  I will continue to provide information and education throughout the year.  Drug dealers work 52 weeks out of the year.  Not just during Red Ribbon Week.

With a person dying every 13 minutes from a drug overdose, and someone dying every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, we as a country have finally admitted that we have a problem.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has called this a national epidemic.  We are no longer just talking about kids.  These are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers that are anywhere from 15 to 60’s that are dying.  Big Pharma is encouraging doctors to write more prescriptions for pain relievers.  The pain scale of 1 – 10 is killing us.  Once the hydrocodone is gone, there are plenty of street drugs that take the place.

Here is a story that a mom wants to share.  She wants others to understand that this is very real.  We have to pay attention.

Heroin Just Killed my Baby  (appropriate for 8th grade and up)

This article and video came across my desk recently and I am just amazed at the statistics and where they are headed.  There is also a short video that is very well done.

This is America on Drugs: a visual guide

There is a fabulous video by Discovery, narrated by Robin Williams.  Your body on drugs.  It takes 4 different drugs and 4 different people that are addicted to these drugs.  They have them do four different activities and watch how each person struggles with each activity.  I highly recommend you watch this video with your kids.  It is probably good for ages 10 and up.

 

robin_williams      Your Body on Drugs  (44:06)

 

Many that are addicted to opioids or methamphetamines find themselves injecting the drug with needles.  However, there are many problems that can occur from this, abscesses, collapsed veins and more.

1908449_826207214076758_9058092065272313565_n“This is a picture of my daughters arm from the last time she stuck a needle in her arm on 6/10/13. She got cellulitis at the injection site which turned into necrotizing fasciitis within 24 hours. She had five surgeries to save her life and her arm. She got a miracle. Thirty days in the hospital. Five days on life support and 8 in ICU. She’s been clean since then, but she has that scar to remind her of what heroin cost her.”      – Nuncy DeLeo Sullivan

 

 

soccer-ball

Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Bath Salts          Methamphetamine          Heroin

 

 

You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing!

 

 

Addiction is a Medical Disease

th2o4lplinToday is Thursday, the 4th day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.

Research shows that if someone is genetically predisposed towards having mental illness, they are also prone to use licit and illicit substances and develop problematic usage patterns,” says Caitlin E. Carey, a PhD student in the BRAINLab at Washington University in St. Louis. “This is important because if a mental illness, like depression, runs in your family, you are presumed at risk of that disorder. But we find that having a genetic predisposition to mental illness also places that person at risk for substance use and addiction.”  (Medical Xpress.com, Oct. 6, 2016)

When we were doing the interviews for Not Me, I was amazed that each person had some form of mental health diagnosis.  There was ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, and disorders such as Eating Disorders.  Then you throw in any type of Trauma, and it made me understand why they used.  They just wanted to feel normal, or should I say, Not Feel.  One of our youth was asked what she will do different for her children, and her answer was “I will make sure they see a counselor from the 4th grade up”.  With all that I see and learn about substance use and mental health, she is spot on.  We get well check ups, but ignore the mental health.

14502830_1241539479210194_8836471677924921115_n

Addiction is a disease, NOT a moral failure.  The brains are different in addicts.  Can you imagine not being able to stop doing something that you know is not good for you?  Can you imagine waking up sick every morning knowing that you will get worse until you get more drugs?  I have heard people talk about the beginning.  Shoulder surgery, knee surgery, wisdom teeth, peer acceptance, boredom, and other reasons that people begin down that path.

Here is a story that was in the paper.  The author honestly tells what her life is like.

Feeding a vein is not a life choice.

pablo

Is the Brain of an Addict Different from Non Addict?  (1:17)

Methamphetamines are very dangerous drugs.  You can snort, smoke or even shoot with an IV needle.  Interestingly, if you are not familiar, there is little odor if someone is smoking it, making it easy to get away with at home.  Below is a documentary showing the many problems associated with use of the drug.

How meth can destroy your life (10:37)

Taylor Hooton Foundation educates on the dangers of steroids and OTC Supplements.  These are very quietly abused drugs and supplements.

See the Video (4:35)

soccer-ball

 Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Opioids        Cocaine        Steroids

 

Be careful with your words, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten. 

 

Real Life Stories

th2o4lplinToday is Wednesday, the 3rd day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.  And please share this post so other parents can learn.

I have spoken to so many people that struggle with addiction and who began getting high as youth.  The one thing that I hear most often is “I never knew what the real consequence was”.  It is so very important that we teach our youth about the realities of drugs, and not let them learn about them from their friends.

As Robert Downey Jr. said “Getting high was fun until it was no longer fun.”  Being an addict is difficult.

This video contains honest people sharing their stories and their journey.

Real Life Drug Stories (7:51)

not-all-that-wonder

Talking with many health professionals, one thing that many agree on is that our youth do not have good coping skills.   Many turn to substances as a coping skill.  Some even learn this from parents.  For example, you walk in the door from work, comment that you had a really hard day, and then go pour a cocktail.  This is a coping method.  Our kids see it.  Better if we walk in the door, comment on your day and say, I am going to go take a bath, or take the dog for a walk or just sit in the garden.  Then when you are having dinner, having a glass of wine with your meal looks very different to them.

After Brett’s funeral, everyone came back to our home for fellowship.  I looked out the window and saw a few of his friends walking down the street.  They were heading to a house to cope, the way they knew how.  By smoking pot, taking Xanax or shooting heroin.  

One of the best methods of coping, relaxing, calming anxiety, calming anger and even enhancing sleep quality is Mindfulness.  Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.  Everyone can benefit from this simple exercise.

How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life

 

In the documentary “Not Me”, the realities of who our kids became due to drugs was discussed.  The drugs changed their lives.  The drugs changed relationships.  The drugs changed everything.  The story, “I AM” shares one person’s thoughts about change.

Read ‘I AM”

soccer-ball

Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Amphetamines         DXM         Hallucinogens

Take the time today to tell your kids how much you love them.  We cannot see the future.  Love today like there will be no tomorrow.

Ecstasy/ MDMA / Molly

th2o4lplinToday is Tuesday, the 2nd day of Red Ribbon week.  Please be sure to ask your kids what they learned at school each day this week.

MDMA was legally being sold in the United States under the brand name “Ecstasy”.  In 1985, the drug had been banned due to safety concerns. Since, Ecstasy has become a term for drug dealers selling “Ecstasy-type” drugs that may, in fact, contain very little or no MDMA at all.  What is being sold on the street, is very inconsistent and scary.

Usually when kids take this drug, they are staying “overnight at a friend’s house”, and typically need a day to recuperate.  Because of the dry mouth effect, they will often suck on hard candy or suckers.  Many youth have shared that they started this drug in middle school.  It is very big at Raves and commonly taken at Electric Daisy Carnivals (EDC).

 1440x900-time-trip-desktop-hd-wallpaper-mdma-molly-ecstasy-640x487         resize

Ecstasy / MDMA                                                                         Molly

Read the facts

Below is a story about Olivia Marquez-Sykes.  I learned about Olivia from a girl in Flower Mound, that is somewhat like a daughter to me.  They were great friends.  Although we prayed, God had another plan.  Olivia now helps me educate.

olivia-marquez-sykes2-jpg                 Olivia’s Story

 Overtaken is a documentary that reflects prescription and illicit drug use.   It is a great film to watch as a family with kids from 4th grade and up.  (26:55 min.)

hqdefault          Overtaken Documentary

A few years ago, three young adults were at a Rave.  As they were driving from Downtown Dallas to Keller, one of the three overdosed in the car.  They drove to a hospital in Irving where the youth ultimately died.  Read the story

The investigation found that they purchased a few tabs at the Rave from a girl that was just 18 years old.  She got charged with involuntary murder for selling the drugs that someone died from.

 

soccer-ball

Soccer Ball Lesson
Soccer Ball is a game that you throw a ball that has words on it.  Whatever word your thumb lands on, you learn about that word.  Today’s words are:

Rohypnol         Spice/K2          GHB