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Let Go

From birth on, children are attached to their parents through dependence for care. It occurs naturally due to the child’s needs and the parent’s instinct to nurture. This bond is strong and should only last until teenage years (or longer in some scenarios) followed by a time of mutual letting go, or detachment. Detachment is the action or process of separating (ME dictionary). If done properly, the child is empowered into adulthood and no longer dependent of his or her parents in everyday life.

Drug use affects the decision-making part of the human mind which can lead to negative consequences. The nature of the parent/ child relationship is for the parent to help work through these consequences. The adolescent can become dependent on the parent to “fix” all the problems and eventually an unhealthy attachment is formed called codependency. Inevitably, the parent becomes sick from the addiction and can become an enabler. Enabling is the opposite of empowering. It does not mean the fault is on anyone other than the user. This is when detaching with love becomes vital. It seems unnatural for a parent to separate oneself from an addict child but separating from the person and separating from the addiction are two different things. Let me explain. If your friend was sick with the flu, would you expose yourself to their symptoms and risk getting sick too? Most would separate themselves from the illness while maintaining a connection with the friend. When we acknowledge addiction is #1) a disease and #2) not a personal choice, detachment is more easily accomplished, and boundaries can be put into place. This change allows the family members/ loved ones to become healthier and the natural consequences start to fall on who is responsible for them, the drug user.

During the time of detachment, it may seem things get worse for the addict. He or she is finally realizing the natural consequences that have come from his or her drug use. Learn to respond to the drama with “What are you going to do about that?” and “I have confidence that you will figure this out.” When the enabler is taken out of the solution, the user has no choice but to look in the mirror and search for the root of the problem. The drug use. This process leads the addict closer to desperation for recovery. It may be hard to watch your addict suffer consequences from their addiction. Take heed, things change quickly and then change quickly again. Removing your emotional self from the roller coaster that comes along with addiction allows you to become healthier. And healthy people help heal people.

The reality of addiction is the only person that can bring the addict to sobriety is themselves. “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Step one in AA NA recovery. Let your loved one know that you support them in their recovery, but not in their addiction. Below are some quotes to hold on to if you are struggling with detachment.

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; Reality can be obtained only by someone who is detached.” Simone Weil.

“You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, you can’t control it.” Alcoholics Anonymous

“The root of suffering is attachment.” The Buddha

No one should have to fight this alone. Form a circle of friends to turn to when times become unbearable. They will become your strength when you cannot hold yourself to the boundaries you have set for healthy detachment.

Lori
7/29/18
Lori Youngblood is a recovering drug addict.  Her mission is to help others gain knowledge about the disease of addiction.

Meet Tom

Tom’s family life during childhood was like many others. Finances were not a problem for the family of five, but there was something missing.  Fights were a daily ritual between mom and dad, that over time led to separation.

Tom was introduced to marijuana at the age of 13. By this time his parents were divorced, and it was rare that he saw his dad. “Mom just wasn’t mentally stable. I never knew where her rules stood from day to day, so I made my own.” Tom was told drugs were bad, but for him they worked. “Drugs made me feel good. I didn’t see the problem in using.” Without realizing the connection, the drugs led to criminal activity and Tom was labeled “bad”. Sometimes we speak things into existence without even realizing it. The more Tom was called a “bad kid” the more he believed it and felt the need to prove it.

At 16, Tom was kicked out of his home and began couch surfing*. This “worked” for some time but eventually he grew tired and returned home only to discover his mom had moved and not told him. Tom then moved in with his dad and his dad’s girlfriend. He became a master manipulator. Tom played his dad from every angle possible. The father/son relationship had weakened due to seldom visitation after the divorce. And the girlfriend? Having no kids of her own she was clueless and an even easier target.

Tom, being somewhat of a functioning addict* did graduate from high school- barely. Around the same time his dad moved off and Tom was living in a motel. He fed his addiction readily and heavily after receiving a large, non-restricted family inheritance. As his tolerance grew, Tom moved on to harder, more dangerous drugs. That’s when he did what he said he would never do; OxyContin, and it worked.

Opioids are like no other drug. The chemicals pass through the bloodstream into the brain releasing dopamine and endorphins at a rate that’s not naturally possible. This extreme feeling of euphoria and pleasure takes over every logic a person could have. Natural feelings thereafter are so low in comparison that the person using cannot stand to bare life. The only way the addict can feel good at all is with use of the drug. By this time, a physical and mental addiction has usually taken over.

“My body ran on a six-hour time clock”. Every six hours, Tom’s body would crash into a state of mental and physical pain. He would endure extreme flu like symptoms including shaking and vomiting. The only cure was to use again. Over time, Tom’s tolerance grew so high that the drugs didn’t work anymore.

Tom tried to quit cold turkey. He would stay sick for weeks at a time while suffering severe insomnia. The only way for him to keep his body temperature down was by laying in the bath multiple times a day for multiple hours at a time. Detoxing from opioids without medical supervision is not recommended as the body can undergo life threatening complications.

Tom would inevitably smoke marijuana to help ease the torture of the unbearable detox. This in turn lowered his inhibitions and before Tom knew it, he was using OxyContin again. The craving to satisfy his addiction had taken over his body, mind, and soul and he would do anything to feed it.

After three desperate and unsuccessful self-attempts to get sober, Tom made a phone call to his dad that saved his life. “I wasn’t afraid of dying from drugs, I was afraid of living on drugs.” Aware of how severe the addiction had become and without question, Dad flew his son to his new home state. Together they admitted Tom into a lifesaving treatment facility.  “I didn’t want to get high, but I wanted to get high.” The devil stayed on Tom’s shoulder while he shed many, many tears. The months ahead included inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, multiple weekly meetings, the most reliable sponsor he could find, and a lot of humility. The hard work didn’t stop as Tom crawled his way out of the dark, deep, pit that addiction brought him to. He would graduate from one rehab program and ask for more time. As Tom became more confident in staying sober, he moved on to rehab programs that encouraged more independence.

Tom’s first job sober was scrubbing toilets and he loved it. “It was nice to be a productive member of society”. He appreciated every sober day although he still struggled with depression. He kept fighting. Tom obtained a scholarship to college and did very well. He learned how to manage his time and study while keeping his connection with God close. Today Tom runs a successful business and gives back to the community. “I do not have everything figured out by any means, but life is good.”

What does it take for one to find sobriety like Tom? That’s the million-dollar question. For him, it was God.

Lori

Lori Youngblood is a recovering drug addict.  Her mission is to help others gain knowledge about the disease of addiction.

*Couch Surfing- What someone who can’t afford rent on their own and/or can’t find roommates quick enough does when they are “between” places. -Urban Dictionary

*Functioning Addict- A person that has an addiction whether it be to alcohol or drugs and still able to maintain a “normal” life. -Urban Dictionary

Let’s talk REP

Let’s talk about Rep

Has the addict in your life found themselves in a rehabilitation center? If so, you are probably asking yourself a whirlwind of questions. Before you get ahead of yourself, repeat after me, R-E-P.

Most rehab programs range anywhere from 28 days to 90 days but can be longer or shorter depending on the circumstances.

Regardless of the time, the addict will return to the real world. So many of us have hopes that everything will be “fixed” and back to “normal” but unfortunately recovery is not that simple.

Although it is important for addicts to take it one day at a time, it is important to recognize if he or she has committed to the road in recovery which lasts a lifetime. The family is encouraged to acknowledge that relapse can be part of recovery and that it does not necessarily mean a commitment has not been made. If these things can be done, your family should implement a rehabilitation exit plan, or R.E.P.

The R.E.P. will determine where the beloved addict will go after rehab. If underage, he or she will return home to the custodial parents. Deciding whether an adult child to come home after rehab is a difficult decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. No matter the age, the child will be set up for success if the family has well educated themselves during the treatment time and prepared boundaries to implement upon return. These are important not only for the addict, but it keeps the whole family safe. It is encouraged to have them written out and fully explained so there are no surprises, and all involved understand.

Although returning home is not encouraged when dealing with adult children in recovery, it may be necessary while the addict attends outpatient treatment. This will be a predetermined decision made by the family that is included in the R.E.P. Otherwise, the addict should be encouraged to find alternative living arrangements. There are countless sober living options available if the addict is willing. Parents may suffer feelings of guilt or shame when denying the adult child to move home but isn’t it every parent’s hope to raise their child to be a self-sufficient, well-abled adult? Anytime we as parents do for our children what they are capable of doing themselves we are enabling them. This can be as small as tying the shoes of a ten-year-old to as big as paying bills for a 30-year-old. Shifting the natural urge from enabling to empowering will become a strong force in your child’s road to recovery. The more we tell our kids “yes you can!” the more they will be encouraged to not give up which is the key to success in recovery!

Lori Youngblood
7/12/18

Lori Youngblood is a recovering drug addict.  Her mission is to help others gain knowledge about the disease of addiction.

Are you Winning The Fight?

What does winning the fight mean to you? The word “win” is a past participle verb which describes a completed victory. “Winning” is a present participle verb. That means it is currently happening. When one is “winning” the drive would be to keep fighting until the fight is “won”. But is the “fight” ever completely over?

For those involved in addiction, whether it be the addict themselves or the loved ones, the answer is no. Thankfully, it can get easier. What does the fight look like? There are different stages of addiction and that will determine “what” the family and addict is fighting.

Addiction starts with the first use and quickly progresses into continued use. The fight begins. Around this time the family will usually experience denial. This could be rejecting that drug use or drinking is occurring or recognizing the use but minimizing the problem. In essence, looking the other way. As the disease continues, the addict experiences increased tolerance of the drug or drugs. The fight to use becomes more difficult. The family may try eliminating the problem by rationalizing, making deals, or pleading with the addict. The family’s regular function will begin to diminish at this point. Different members will likely try to reorganize the structure of their home life without the addict. This could include a spouse working a second job or the oldest sibling becoming the mother figure. The addict then forms dependence of the drug of choice. This is where it can get very difficult to continue drug use but the fight to use grows stronger. The addict may experience legal trouble, loss of job, trouble in school, or loss of family as the members go through their own efforts to escape the turmoil. The last stage is deep addiction. By this point the family has likely reorganized to regain functionality without realizing adapting actually reinforces the addiction.

Once the addict and family has gone through the cycle of addiction, admitting there is a problem could come next which is the first step to recovery. The fight turns into a battle to heal wounds and stay sober. Each member involved is encouraged to seek help during the recovery period. The addict must always fight to stay healthy including mind, body and soul or relapse could occur. The National Institute of Drug Use states that 40-60% of all drug addicts will relapse and the rate is closer to 80% with heroin users. The fight to stay sober never ends but it does change. What does your fight look like? If you or a loved one is suffering from the disease of addiction your fight is not over, so do not give up hope!

Lori
6-28-18

Lori Youngblood is a recovering drug addict.  Her mission is to help others gain knowledge about the disease of addiction.

Respect

Somewhere along the way, society has shifted. Respect was instilled in those born before the days of technology. It was part of life. You shake the hand and look in the eye of those you meet. Today, we are lucky if our youth put their phones down long enough to see the person standing in front of them. Who’s to blame here? Better yet, what can we do about it? Whatever the situation is, being proactive is the key. The respect institute has come up with eight basic ways we can bring back some r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Setting boundaries is huge. As decades go by, boundaries are stretched more and more.  Setting boundaries for ourselves keeps us and our home safe and on the same page. Whenever those boundaries are crossed, pre-determined consequences come into play. No surprises. Respect gained.

Tell your truth! The truth will set you free. It will also show your transparency, allowing others to be transparent. Even your kids. The more truth comes in to play, the more respect we all have for one another. No one respects a liar, even if the lies are white.

Follow your passion. Will a chef cook a better meal or will a mechanic? The chef has passion for cooking, so the meal will more likely be better. If you follow your passion, you will make a better meal than someone that is just doing the job to do it. The more we follow our passion, the greater our passion will be used to help others. Teaching our youth to follow their passions will teach them to value themselves more, because they are staying true to themselves, all while gaining value in their passion. Wow.

Knowing we are valuable is what keeps us going. We go to work because we value the fact that it pays our bills. We are valuable in that concept. We matter. The more our kids feel valued, the more they will feel self-worth and respect themselves. They matter. If you feel valued, then you will respect yourself more and in turn thrive to be a healthier human being. Value the one life you’re given and teach them to value theirs from an early age.

Trust your gut. Did you know your gut has over one million neurons? Like the brain, it has feelings, remembers things, and sends us messages. Unlike the brain, your gut doesn’t lie. Don’t let your brain trick you into not trusting your gut feeling. And don’t let someone else’s lie trick your gut either.

Get help! A strong support circle will help anyone thrive. No one can do it alone. The more help you get, the more you can help those around you, especially those suffering with addiction. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and not by one person. God didn’t intend on man to do it alone. So, don’t face the situation alone. Get help.

Show compassion. When was the last time you talked to your child instead of at them? Seek to understand them by showing them compassion, then they are more likely to try and understand you back. This may (will) take time and practice. Take the time out daily to have a conversation with your child, and don’t be surprised when they start to listen to you more in return.

Have courage! You need it to follow these respect basics. It won’t always be comfortable, and you won’t always be the favorite. In the long run, you will be glad. The more we show respect for ourselves and others the more respect we will gain.

Lori
6-28-18

Lori Youngblood is a recovering drug addict.  Her mission is to help others gain knowledge about the disease of addiction.

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 heard 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.