Wednesday, 30 October 2013

50,000 Opportunities

Since January 1, 2013, my blog has had 50,000 views! It hit that milestone today, which warms my heart because it means that I had:

50,000 opportunities to educate

50,000 opportunities to make people feel less alone

50,000 opportunities to make the “unlovable” feel loved and valued

50,000 opportunities to be heard

50,000 opportunities to make a difference

50,000 opportunities to give a voice to the voiceless

50,000 opportunities to prevent another person and family from going through this

50,000 opportunities to build compassion

50,000 opportunities to connect with YOU!

Thank you all for supporting me in my journey down this difficult path with addiction. I never imagined that I would become a parent of an addict, but it happened. It has been a long, difficult road with many obstacles. This blog has been a great outlet for me. Knowing people were reading it lifted my spirits. Thank you for being by my side through the journey. I appreciate each and every one of my followers. Together, we can make a difference. xo

God bless you all.

With appreciation,

Sunday, 27 October 2013

FREEDOM - an update from Claire

In May 2013, I posted a heartbreaking story called "My World Came Crashing Down". It was about a young woman named Claire who was desperately trying to get help for her opiate addiction.

I've really gotten to know Claire over the past few months and she is an amazing young woman. This journey with addiction has brought so many wonderful people into my life. Claire is one of them. I am so pleased to give you an update on where she is at now, written in her own words. 

When you read her story, I hope that you will see why it is so important that we demand more from our government in terms of treatment for addiction. Many wonderful people like Claire, who have so much to offer the world, are lost to addiction. We have to provide life lines for them to find their way back. Treatment, compassion, and recovery support are those life lines. Because Claire finally received the help that she needed, she has her son back and he has his mommy back.

When Health Minister Doug Currie tables his Mental Health and Addictions Report and action plan on November 1st, I hope you will think of Claire and her son when you read it. The document may be just words on paper, but those words could mean life or death for people like Claire and my son. 

Here is Claire's story.... 

The moment I opened my eyes every morning, I awoke to my nightmare. For the longest time in my dreams, I wasn't me. I was someone else. I was always happy in my dreams.  My life was my nightmare.

Most mornings, I would lie in bed trying to fall back asleep so I could be happy again in my dreams. Unfortunately, no matter how long you stay in bed, you eventually need your fix. The longer you put it off, the sicker you will be. The quicker you do it, the less time you have until you need to do it all over again.

Imagine being in survival mode every day of your life. That's exactly what it's like to be an addict; every day is about survival.

Every day, before I picked up my toothbrush, I would pick up a pair of tweezers and very painfully peel the skin off my open wound around and on my nose.  I applied make up over it to try and hide the obvious infected wound on my face.

I could never tell if it was blood or drugs dripping down my nose, but I was constantly checking for this in mirrors when I was at work, home or anywhere else. For me, having this sore on my nose was like somebody had written “Addict” on my forehead. Everybody and anybody that looked at my face could tell what I was doing. For this, I had a lot of shame. I didn't like going out.  I could not leave the house without having piles of make up on my face. To this day, I still go to pick up that pair of tweezers, but I am sure glad that I don't have to do that anymore.

Once you lose yourself, it doesn't take long to lose everything else in your life. Now that I have found myself again, I no longer worry about losing my son, losing my family, losing my home, probation officers, jail, rehab, detox, money, drugs, or sickness.

The last time Rose posted my story, I was denied methadone. I didn't know what I was going to do at that point but I knew I couldn't take no for an answer. I called every doctor, every doctor at Mount Herbert, and did everything remotely possible to get in the methadone program. It was even a thought of mine to leave the island to try to get on methadone maintenance therapy in another Province, but I knew I would want to be able to come back to be with my son, and that would not be possible. Finally, for the first time in my life, I saw myself reaching out to different people; asking for help from people I thought I would never ask for help from.

Finally, I got a call back from my doctor. He said, “You're coming into detox on June 10th. You've been inducted into the methadone maintenance therapy program.”  It was the most out of body experience I've ever had. I cried and, at the same time, asked the same question over and over again to him. "Is it for sure?"

That day was a great day. It was the first sense of relief I’ve had in years.  I knew right then my life would be different. I knew that I had no chance for error. This was my time.  If this didn't work, nothing else would. I had to make it work.

Going to detox for the last time was a positive feeling. It was different this time. I was in a different headspace. I felt hopeful.  I took a lot more back from the meetings. I was positive the whole time.  I was just so happy that I was chosen. June 10th is my favorite day in the whole world for two reasons:  June 10th is my son's birthday, and June 10th is the day I got my life back.

After detox, I really wanted to commit to my recovery so I took the only rehab program offered on the island - the Strength program. This would be my third attempt. I wasn't too excited about going but I wanted to make sure I did everything possible to ensure recovery.

I only spent a month at the Strength program. I found it hard because they mixed all different types of addicts together, who were all at different stages in recovery, and who all had to live in a house together.  I decided to leave it because it wasn't the road to recovery that I needed. It wasn't the help that I needed. I was still very committed to my recovery, and had a very positive outlook on life. I just needed to find the support that would work for me. I decided to join the WrapAround Program and it was just what I needed.

The thing that I know about addiction and recovery is that there are many different types of addictions, and there are just as many different types of recovery options, so what works for one person may not work for the other.

Life couldn't be better for me. I am in the process of rebuilding my life. I dedicate my days to my son and my recovery, so now I am a good parent and a functional member of society. My family trusts me again. I have new friends. I was able to pay off all of my fines, including my criminal and traffic fines. I have paid off my student loan.

For the first time in a long time, I can wake up with a smile on my face. Life can never be perfect. I still have my struggles to this day but, after everything I've gone through, it doesn't seem as hard. It doesn't seem hopeless.

I am now six months into my recovery. I never thought I could say that. I am so proud to say that. I am now confident that my future will be better because of this experience. I'm going to dedicate my life to helping others. I’ve always known that I wanted to do that, but now I know it is my destiny to help other people who are dealing with an addiction, anxiety or depression.

My future goals include getting more community support for addiction, including bringing SMART Recovery to the Island. I am currently in the process of completing that goal with Rose and another wonderful lady as well as with another gentleman who also suffers with addiction and is in recovery.We are going to work as a team to get trained and to co-facilitate the meetings.

I feel like I have purpose in my life, not only am I a parent, which is a priceless feeling, but now I have the ambition and drive to make a change in bettering our Island with much needed resources for addicts. From detox to rehab and everywhere in between we need to improve all areas. From the lack of recovery options to society's judgement, there is a lot of work to be done. I am determined to make a difference. 

I wrote a poem today, and that's how I will end my story.

I stand for one
I stand for all
I'm there for those who are about to fall
I'm also there, for those who have been through it all
Let's stand as ONE
And let the Judgement be Done.

Sincerely Claire, living in paradise ♥

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Letting Go Of Those Not in Recovery

I have a beautiful friend going through a really hard time with her addicted son. I am dedicating this posting to her. I hope this poem gives her some peace, as it did for me almost two years ago.

From the book “The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie

Letting Go of Those Not in Recovery

We can go forward with our life and recoveries, even though someone we love is not yet recovering.

Picture a bridge. On one side of the bridge it is cold and dark. We stood there with others in the cold and darkness, doubled over in pain. Some of us developed an eating disorder to cope with the pain. Some drank; some used other drugs. Some of us lost control of our sexual behavior. Some of us obsessively focused on addicted people's pain to distract us from our own pain. Many of us did both: we developed an addictive behavior, and distracted ourselves by focusing on other addicted people. We did not know there was a bridge. We thought we were trapped on a cliff.

Then, some of us got lucky. Our eyes opened, by the Grace of God, because it was time. We saw the bridge. People told us what was on the other side: warmth, light, and healing from our pain. We could barely glimpse or imagine this, but we decided to start the trek across the bridge anyway.

We tried to convince the people around us on the cliff that there was a bridge to a better place, but they wouldn't listen. They couldn't see it; they couldn't believe. They were not ready for the journey. We decided to go alone, because we believed, and because people on the other side were cheering us onward. The closer we got to the other side, the more we could see, and feel, that what we had been promised was real. There was light, warmth, healing, and love. The other side was a better place.

But now, there is a bridge between those on the other side and us. Sometimes, we may be tempted to go back and drag them over with us, but it cannot be done. No one can be dragged or forced across this bridge. Each person must go at his or her own choice, when the time is right. Some will come; some will stay on the other side. The choice is not ours.

We can love them. We can wave to them. We can holler back and forth. We can cheer them on, as others have cheered and encouraged us. But we cannot make them come over with us.

If our time has come to cross the bridge, or if we have already crossed and are standing in the light and warmth, we do not have to feel guilty. It is where we are meant to be. We do not have to go back to the dark cliff because another's time has not yet come.

The best thing we can do is stay in the light, because it reassures others that there is a better place. And if others ever do decide to cross the bridge, we will be there to cheer them on.

Today, I will move forward with my life, despite what others are doing or not doing. I will know it is my right to cross the bridge to a better life, even if I must leave others behind to do that. I will not feel guilty. I will not feel ashamed. I know that where I am now is a better place and where I'm meant to be.

Take care, my friend. Stay strong.