This is a part time position with no more than 15 hours per pay period.
Parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents, consider this. You enter the space of a child or adolescent who is on a smart phone, ipad, tablet, computer, x-box etc…… and you try to engage them in conversation. The response you get may be something like urghh. You try again and with great effort they tear their eyes away and will perhaps give you a short vague sentence and are clearly annoyed. The next thing you know they have moved to a different room. You now realize your beloved child is not spending much time with his peers, is not getting out of the house much and is irritable when you ask them to stop playing. What’s happened to the sunny, happy, talkative child you used to know?
Recently an article came out talking about the negative effects of digital games. It explains how video games and the technology involved is so arousing it raises dopamine levels in the brain. Brain imaging has shown the cortex is affected similarly to drug use. So it makes sense why this lovely child is more interested in being “plugged in” than interacting with people, reading or being outside, it’s more stimulating and “feels good”. A long time ago a cocaine addict explained his experience to me like this: when he was using, life had the sharpest colors imaginable and the surround sound was the best anyone could buy. When he wasn’t using it was like being in an old black and white movie with a fuzzy picture and no sound. That might not apply to all but it does help one understand the difference between real life and what is at ones finger tips. Given the technology today it can be hard for regular people, ball games, books or mothernature to compete with the color, action, realism, excitement and sound of these fast moving games.
Yes there is some debate about this, however when a person continues to do something that is affecting other areas of their life negatively it needs to considered. Clearly the internet, technology and all involved with it is a crucial part of our lives. So what do we do? Get informed. Limit the time kids are on-line/playing video games. Talk to them of your concerns and get them outside, interact with others, develop other hobbies or leisure activities, be involved with them, and be a good role model. As a grandparent I am going to try hard to do this and my grandchildrens’future gifts will not be video games, rather they will encourage (I hope) things such as swimming, reading, fishing and doing things as a family.
Wondering what to do? Check out material from the Lost and Found Library or talk to Beth at 218-287-2089.
Kardaras, N. (2016, August, 27). It’s digital heroin: how screens turn kids into psychotic junkies. New York Post. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2016/08/27/its-digital-heroin-how-screens-turn-kids-into-psychotic-junkies/
Rosenblum, A. (2016, September/October). Warped reality. What will it mean when millions of people play-and kill- in virtual reality? Psychology Today Magazine. (Volume),
Video games and children: playing with violence. (June 2015) American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. No. 91. Retrieved from http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Children-and-Video-Games-Playing-with-Violence-091.aspx
by Beth Brantner, LPCC, LADC Lost and Found Recovery Center
“Help for Those Lost in Another’s Addiction”
Consider the commercial where a young man says he is never going to get married, never going to have children, never going to move to the suburbs, and never going to drive a van. At the end we see him lying on the couch in his suburban home with his wife and two young children all snuggling together; he says “I’m never going to let go”. This is an excellent example of how becoming a parent changes your heart, your belief system and your life plans. If we fast forward the commercial 25 years and see one of his children living back home and suffering from addiction, he would probably say he is never going to let his child get arrested, thrown in jail or die.
Parental bonds of loving, protecting and providing for our children run deep; even when our offspring are adults. Parents are often empty nesters who are working hard on their future retirement. They worked hard at helping their children become strong, independent adults. Instead, parents are terrified their child is going to end up dead from the addiction that has robbed her of everything.
What’s a parent to do!? Trying to determine what is helpful and what is enabling is complicated especially when you combine it with mama and papa bear whose instinct is to protect and care for him or her.
It’s easy for others to say, “don’t enable,” but that might seem like you would be throwing your child “under the bus”. Deciding to no longer give your child money is fraught with all they might lose. Deciding to feed them however, is nurturing and can provide the opportunity to spend time with your son/daughter.
Figuring out how to hate the disease yet love your child is not easy. There is help and support out there. Families Anonymous and Lost and Found Recovery Center can help. Want to learn more? Come to Lost and Found, 111 7th St. So., Moorhead, MN every Tuesday evening @ 7 pm starting September 6, 2016. You’re not alone!
Summer is hard. Maybe it isn’t difficult for all recovering alcoholics, but it is for me.
The image of cracking open a cold one on a hot summer day has stuck with me throughout my seven plus years of sobriety. If I concentrate on the vision long enough, my senses come alive. I can feel that cold bottle in my hand, perspiration starting to slide gracefully down the side. I can image the sensation of that first drink, a feeling of excited liberation surging through my body. That vision has gotten me closer to relapse than anything else.
At times, I can almost convince myself that just one won’t hurt me. I visit my brother at his lake place and watch him have a beer while barbecuing supper. He may have another one later in the evening, but that’s it. He can have a beer or two without repercussion. I can’t. It’s that simple. It has to be.
Thinking Through the First Drink:
As much as I would love to enjoy a cold one on a hot August afternoon like today, I need to think through that drink. Yes, maybe that first beer will feel like I imagine, but that wouldn’t be where it stops. One will become two and three and twenty. It always does.
That is a truth in my life that is my lifeline. I will not be able to have one beer and then enjoy the rest of the evening. If I somehow do stop at one (and let’s be honest, what’s the fun in that), I will be burdened with an obsession that will not dissipate. It will invade every thought, every conversation. Nothing will be enjoyable because I can’t stop thinking about drink number two.
Even more likely, however, is that I will get drunk. Once I feel that initial buzz, I will be off. I will drink until passing out. Along the way, I will likely abuse many of my relationships. Maybe I’ll choose to drive and kill myself or others. Maybe I’ll get so sick I have to be hospitalized…again. The real agony though, will come in the morning. I’m not talking about a hangover, although those are terrible in their own right, I’m talking about the shame. That crippling, devastating, and unrelenting shame that comes with relapsing…again.
Jumping Off the Relapse Merry-Go-Round:
I believe I have had a sobriety birthday in just about every month. Sometimes I would get a year under my belt, but more often I would relapse in the six to nine-month range. I just couldn’t push past it. It wasn’t until I moved to Moorhead that I found an amazing group of strong and sober women. They took me under their wings until I was able to fly for myself. It is with no dramatization that I say I owe them my life.
So, I think about them when I get the urge to drink. I think about my first sponsor in Alexandria who really planted the seeds of recovery in my stubborn and often closed mind. I think about my nieces and nephews and the type of aunt they deserve to have. Mostly, however, I think about myself. I remember how hard my journey has been at times. I think about my job and what it means to me. I think about my parents and wonder if my mother is really watching from heaven. If she is, I want her to be proud. I am so grateful that I was able to repair that relationship before she died. Another miracle recovery has provided.
Ultimately, I never drink the cold beer from that vision. I have learned that water can provide that same refreshing satisfaction. It might not give me a buzz, but it protects the things that I love. Drinking will eventually take them all and I know that. So I don’t pick up.
Schlitz beer used to have a slogan that said, “You only go around once in this life, so you have to grab for all the gusto you can get.” Somehow beer was supposed to enable someone to do that. They got it wrong, however, at least for me. I understand that you only go around once in this life, so I am grabbing all the gusto I can. I’m just doing it sober. For me, that’s the only way it works.
As you might know, many people are impacted by another’s addiction. Studies tell us that 15 to 18 others are significantly influenced by a loved one’s addiction. That means that family and friends feel stress, loss of sleep, worry, depression, anger, feelings of being overwhelmed, guilt and shame because of a loved one’s addiction.
When the addict/alcoholic starts to work on their personal recovery, we counselor-types strongly encourage family and friends to work their own recovery program. Learn what you can and find others who have been down their recovery path as a friend or family member. That support can come from Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, the family portion of treatment programs, counselors, your faith, or Lost and Found Ministry.
As for the addict, recovery is very attainable; it is just too hard to do it alone.
But what if your loved one continues to use, drink, and gamble, refuses to get into recovery or doesn’t think they have a problem? Does that mean those 15 to 18 other people are doomed to a life of chaos, despair and uncertainty? Absolutely not!
If you are one of the many people out there whose lives have been touched by another’s addiction--there is hope. You can learn to love and respect them so their lives are their own. You can realize and accept you did not cause the addiction. You cannot cure it and cannot control it.
In order to do this, many of us need to turn our loved one’s life over to the care of God. This is not easy and sometimes needs to be done on a daily basis, but when this occurs, magic happens. You can start to focus on your own life and take steps so it can be one free from anger and resentments and filled with peace, joy and forgiveness.
What’s Your Love Language (and Your Mate’s)? by Beth Brantner, LPCC Lost and Found Ministry
February, the month of hearts, love and relationships. Valentine’s Day is dedicated to love and affection and taking extra time to let our loved ones know how much we care. But you know, a card and flowers don’t always convey that message.
Author and couples counselor, Gary Chapman developed the concept of the “5 Love Languages” in his book by the same name. He explains that people usually have one primary love language, and they will not necessarily “feel” your love unless you “speak” their particular love language. And, the love messages get garbled because we’re each “speaking” a different love language.
This is even true about my two dogs! Each has her own “love language.”
Piper, my therapy dog is all about touch, which is perfect for her therapy dog duties. Sitting by someone or having him pet her is Piper’s idea of bliss. My other dog, which is a small mixed breed, has a love language that is all about words. When talked to kindly, her tail thumps, her eyes light up and she gives you all her attention.
The point of this is people have different languages as well and if you pay attention you can usually figure out what love language each person has. Then, not only on Valentines Day, but for the other 364 days of the year you can “speak” their love language to really let them know how much you care.
Come to Lost and Found Ministry, 111 7th St. So., Moorhead on Tuesday evening, February 16 at 7 pm for an fun discussion around the 5 Love Languages and find out what YOUR love language is (and your mate’s).
by: William L. White
A day is coming when we will gather at state capitals and in our nation's capital and you will see recovering people in every direction as far as the eyes can see-all offering themselves as LIVING PROOF that recovery is not just a possibility but a living reality.-October 6, 2001
In October 2001, addiction recovery advocates from around the country assembled in St. Paul, Minnesota to launch a new recovery advocacy movement. Those of us present had no way of envisioning the remarkable events that could and would unfold in the coming years. This weekend, now fourteen years later, recovery advocates from around the country will again assemble in the Unite to Face Addiction rally in Washington, D.C. It seemed appropriate on this historic occasion to revisit the vision that drew many of us to St. Paul in 2001. In my closing keynote at the 2001 Recovery Summit, I challenged those present to personally refine and deliver the address below in communities across the country. Perhaps that day we envisioned in 2001 has arrived.
St. Paul, 2001: It is an honor to be able to share some thoughts with you about the recovery advocacy movement in America. I have had the privilege of working with many of the grassroots organizations that are the backbone and heart of this movement. Recovering people and their families, friends, and professional allies are once again organizing to change the way this country views addiction and the potential for recovery. It is indeed an exciting time within communities of recovery in America.
There Was a Day
I want to begin my remarks by talking about our past. There is much we can learn by sitting at history's feet. Comedian Lilly Tomlin once observed that, if we listened, maybe history wouldn't have to keep repeating itself. I have come to recognize the profound wisdom in her words.
There was a day in the late 19th century when an elaborate network of recovery support groups and addiction treatment institutions dotted the American landscape. There were Native American recovery circles, the Washingtonians, the fraternal temperance societies, and the reform clubs. There were recovery-oriented inebriate homes, medically-oriented inebriate asylums, for-profit addiction cure institutes, and religiously-oriented inebriate colonies. In that time, physicians in the American Association for the Cure of Inebriety proclaimed to all the world that addiction was a disease that could be either inherited or acquired and that this disease was one from which people could fully recovery. On that day, recovery activists, alone and in organized groups, offered themselves as living proof that recovery from addiction was possible.
That day vanished in the opening years of the twentieth century, drowned in a wave of cultural pessimism that closed addiction treatment institutions and sent recovery groups into hiding. The demise of America's first era of institutional treatment and recovery support groups is a stark reminder that we can take nothing that exists today for granted.
As America's 19th century institutions and support groups collapsed, a new sunless day emerged. That day, less than a hundred years ago, witnessed addicted people locked away for years in rural penal colonies. Americans, believing that alcoholics and addicts were a "bad seed" that threatened the future of the society and the human race, passed laws providing for their mandatory sterilization. That was a time when people who had yet to achieve recovery filled the "cells" of "foul wards" in large city hospitals, and they were the lucky ones, as most hospitals refused their admission. That was a day when alcoholics and addicts spent their most despairing hours in city drunk tanks. That was a day when those not yet in recovery died in the streets and were swept up like discarded refuse. That was a day when alcoholics and addicts languished in the snake pits of aging state psychiatric hospitals. That was a day when alcoholics and addicts were subjected to brain surgery and shock therapies and every manner of drug insult-all thrust upon them in the name of help. That was a day when family members died a thousand emotional deaths in their desperate, unrelenting search for help for an addicted spouse, parent, sibling, or child. Those days of professional condescension and public contempt were not so long ago.
The remnants of those dark days were present in the earliest years of my own entrance into the worlds of addiction treatment and recovery. In the 1960s, I witnessed alcoholics and addicts languishing in the most cold and callous of institutions. I have no words to convey the feel or smell of such places, places that conveyed in a thousand ways that you were not human, places that sucked the hope out of all condemned to live in them. I have vivid recollections of local community hospitals refusing to admit alcoholics and addicts for treatment of acute trauma: such people were perceived as not morally worthy to fill beds reserved for those who were "really sick." Working as an outreach and crisis worker, I have nightmarish recollections of the bodies of the addicted hanging from torn sheets in jail cells, and my own desperate attempts to find the words to communicate with families who had long feared a visit such as mine.
The invasive treatments-the shock therapies, the drug insults, the prolonged sequestration-are not ancient tales. I recently interviewed a woman who was hospitalized for acute alcohol poisoning in 1971. She and her family were given two treatment choices: a one-year commitment in a state psychiatric hospital or brain surgery-a lobotomy-that they were told would remove her craving for alcohol. The woman herself thought the surgery a better alternative than being locked up for a year. But a chance encounter between her father and a man in recovery brought a woman from Alcoholics Anonymous to her bedside and the beginning of what has now been more than three decades of sanity, sobriety and service. Her story tells us that we are little more than a generation away from these infamous days. Her story also hints at what happened to open the doors of recovery.
Those Days Ended
Those dark days passed not by accident but because small handfuls of people in communities across the country said, "No More!" and spent their lifetimes destroying drunk tanks and drunk jokes. Those days ended because a desperate stock analyst reached out to a desperate physician and started a fellowship of recovering alcoholics whose influence embraced the world. Those days disappeared because of the vision of Marty Mann, who dared to dream in 1944 that she could change the way a nation viewed alcoholism and the alcoholic. Those days vanished because a senator, in gratitude for his own recovery, challenged a country to create local alcoholism education and treatment centers accessible to all of its citizens. The odds against success were enormous, but these remarkable human beings spent their lives building the world of addiction treatment and recovery that has touched the lives of many of us in this room. The bleakest days for the addicted in America passed because men and women looked beyond their own recoveries to advocate for the needs of others. The foul wards and drunk tanks and brain surgeries gave way to new treatment and recovery resources because real men and women made these changes happen. Consider for a moment what their lives rendered.
Imagine the degree of fulfillment that Dr. Robert Smith and Bill Wilson experienced at the sunset of their own lives as they reflected on the fruits of their work. Imagine what it must have been like for Sister Ignatia, who after working with Dr. Bob detoxifying early AA members, was later asked to address the 25th anniversary convention of AA in 1960. Imagine what this frail, humble woman must have felt as she stood and looked out at 17,000 sober and grateful alcoholics standing before her. Imagine what Marty Mann, after decades of barely acknowledged effort, must have experienced seeing the rise of local alcoholism treatment programs across the country. Imagine the import of such fulfillment in a woman who before her own recovery had repeatedly tried to kill herself. Imagine the fullness of lives that profoundly touched so many people.
The days of shame turned into days of hope because hundreds of unnamed men and women devoted their lives to changing the way a country looked at a disorder and those who suffered from it. The fruits of their work were indeed remarkable. Hundreds of thousands of people rose from the dead to live full lives because of the resources these people created. The national network of prevention and treatment programs are all part of their legacy as are the diversion programs in the criminal justice system and the early intervention programs in the workplaces and schools. By the early 1980s, it looked as if the dreams of these pioneers would be fully realized, but other forces were lurking in the background.
A Shameful Regression
Today, the world they created is being dismantled, and their advances are being threatened. Three ominous changes threaten this progress.
First, America is again restigmatizing those addicted to alcohol and other drugs. The positive images of long-term recovery (e.g., First Lady Betty Ford) are being replaced by what the public perceives as spoiled celebrities using "rehab" to escape the consequences of their latest indiscretion. Treatment and recovery are degraded through such images. The portrayal of addiction as a medical disorder suffered by sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters was replaced in the 1980s and 1990s by the worst racial and class stereotypes-stereotypes that linked addiction with crime, violence, and insanity. Alcoholics and addicts became not people deserving of compassion and help, but people to be feared and who were deserving of punishment. Thousands of celebrities will celebrate recovery anniversaries today and one will be arrested for possession of heroin.
Which story do you think will fill the television screens this evening?
Second, after working for decades to place alcohol and other drug problems in the medical and public health arenas, we are now removing them from these very categories. Health care coverage to pay for addiction treatment continues to erode. Many, if not most, of the hospital treatment units have closed. The management of addiction is moving to non-medical settings and toward a focus on control of the addict and addiction-related costs rather than personal recovery.
Third, alcoholics and addicts are filling our courts, jails, and prisons in unprecedented numbers. There are now more than one and one half million drug-related arrests per year in the U.S., up more than 1 million since 1980. The number of drug offenders in state correctional facilities has risen from 38,900 in 1985 to more than 227,000 in 1997 and drug offenders in Federal prisons have risen from 9,482 in 1985 to more than 55,000 in 1996. I would be remiss if I did not talk about the racial disparity buried within these numbers. African Americans constitute only 15% of illicit drug consumers, but they make up 37% of those arrested for drug violations, 42% of drug offenders in federal prison and 60% of felony drug offenders in state prisons. A recently released Human Rights Watch report revealed that in states like Illinois, a young African American male is more than 50 times more likely to go to jail for a drug offense than is his Caucasian counterpart arrested for the same offense. The rise in addiction-related stigma and the transfer of alcoholics and addicts from treatment centers to correctional centers are deeply entwined with issues of gender, social class, and race. We can't expose the former without confronting the latter.
A Day is Coming
So where does that leave us? What should recovering people, impacted families, and the friends of recovery do about this bleak situation? What should all people of good will concerned about this problem do? They should do that which is so uniquely American: Organize and change it! And that is precisely what is happening.
We are reaching a critical milestone in the history of recovery in America. We are approaching a crossroads that will dictate the fate of hundreds of thousands of individuals and families and thousands of communities. Recovering people know the deep truth in the adage that it is darkest just before the dawn. That darkened horizon is clearly evident across America today, but there IS a dawn arising. Emerging from that dawn are not government agencies or treatment professionals but a new generation of wounded healers. Recovering people and their families and friends are once again on the move-once again coming together not just for mutual support, but to widen the doors of entry into recovery through education and advocacy. A New Recovery Advocacy Movement is being born in this country. From Wall Street to Bourbon Street, from South Carolina to South Central, from Indian Country to the barrio to the wealthiest suburb, people are coming together to challenge the restigmatization, demedicalization and recriminalization of addiction in America. They are coming together to publicly reaffirm the hope for recovery from addiction.
In 1976, 52 prominent Americans publicly proclaimed their recovery from alcoholism in a landmark event sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism called Operation Understanding. A day is coming when that number will swell to 5,000 and 50,000 and then to 500,000-all offering testimony about the transformative power of recovery. A day is coming when we will gather at state capitals and in our nation's capital and you will see recovering people in every direction as far as the eyes can see-all offering themselves as LIVING PROOF that recovery is not just a possibility but a living reality. On that day, young people with a month of hard-earned sobriety will march beside men and women with 50 years of sobriety. On that day, families will walk to honor their survival as a family and to celebrate their own personal recoveries. On that day, those who have lost a loved one to this disease will walk to save others. On that day, AA and NA members will walk beside SOS and WFS members. Those in supported recovery will walk beside those in solo recovery. Those from therapeutic communities will walk beside those in methadone-assisted recovery. On that day, we will set aside our differences and march arm-in-arm as a multi-hued network of local communities of recovery.
In 1893 an addiction mutual aid society organized itself under a banner that read: "The Law Must Recognize a Leading Fact: Medical Not Penal Treatment Reforms the Drunkard." A day is coming more than a century later when we will protest outside jails and prisons to proclaim that same message. A day is coming when addicted people who fill those prisons will organize their own recovery advocacy organizations. In embracing recovery, they will go on strike-withdrawing the bodies and souls that feed the economies of these institutions.
A day is coming when recovery from addiction will be viewed not as a curse to be masked and hidden, but as a cause for celebration and a gift to be shared with the world. A day is coming when, for one moment in the history of this country, recovering people will stand together and offer themselves as living proof of the fulfilled promises of recovery. To those around us, we will offer our gratitude for your forbearance and forgiveness. To those still suffering, we will proclaim: You represent our past just as we represent a future that could be yours. You have been part of the problem; add your voice to ours and become part of the solution.
Before That Day
We have work to do before that day can arrive. Movements that have created the most dramatic and enduring social change often began with an alteration of personal consciousness. The message from these movements is that we must change ourselves before we can change the world. We cannot confront stigma in the outside world until we discover how stigma works within us, and our relationships with the world. The internal consequences of such stigma must be excised before one experiences the worthiness and the power to confront its external source. We must excise that stigma so that we can move beyond our own healing to find our indignation, our outrage, and our sorrow that people who could be recovering are instead dying. We have to move beyond our own serenity and retrieve the fading memories of our own days of pain and desperation. Before that day, we need leaders who will jar us from our complacency and challenge us to hear the cry of the still suffering. Stigma is real, but we need to confront the fact that our own silence has contributed to that stigma. Listen to the words of Senator Harold Hughes who before he died proclaimed:
By hiding our recovery we have sustained the most harmful myth about addiction disease-that it is hopeless. And without the example of recovering people it is easy for the public to continue to think that victims of addiction disease are moral degenerates-that those who recover are the morally enlightened exceptions....We are the lucky ones, the ones who got well. And it is our responsibility to change the terms of the debate for the sake of those who still suffer.
How can addicted people experience hope when the legions of recovering people in this culture are not seen or heard? Where is the proof that permanent recovery from addiction is possible? We need a vanguard of recovering people to send an unequivocal message to those still drug-enslaved that they can be free. We need a vanguard willing to stand as the LIVING PROOF of that proposition.
Before that day, we will need to find ways to link those from all kinds of recovery backgrounds into a community of recovery. This is not an AA or Al-Anon movement or a NA movement or a WFS movement or an addiction ministry movement. It is a RECOVERY movement. The failure of various recovery groups and individuals in solo recovery to see themselves in terms of "we" is the most significant obstacle to fully realizing the potential of the New Recovery Advocacy Movement. We must get to know each other not as AA or Al-Anon members or NA members or SOS members, but as members of a recovery nation, each of whom contributes to its diversity and vitality. It is only by constructing our own identity as people in recovery and transcending the categories that separate us that we can transform our personal experiences into a new recovery advocacy movement. It is time we celebrated this coat of many colors that the recovery community has become. Our goal must not be to speak with one voice, but to share a recovery identity out of which we will speak with thousands of voices that achieve harmony on one issue: the potential for transforming and enduring recovery from addiction.
Before that day comes, we will need to find the systemic roots of stigma. We will need to confront the fact that addicted people have become the raw materials that run whole professional and community economies. Some of these institutions operate, not to help the addict, but to protect and extend their own institutional influence. Stigma provides the ideological justification for the perpetuation of these institutional economies. We need to either transform these institutions (shift them to a focus on care and recovery rather than control and profit) or advocate their closure. Confronting these systemic forces will be more about power and influence than about changing attitudes.
We must also find the personal roots of stigma. There are whole professions whose members share an extremely pessimistic view of recovery because they repeatedly see only those who fail to recover. The success stories are not visible in their daily professional lives. We need to re-introduce ourselves to the police who arrested us, the attorneys who prosecuted and defended us, the judges who sentenced us, the probation officers who monitored us, the physicians and nurses who cared for us, the teachers and social workers who cared for the problems of our children, the job supervisors who threatened to fire us. We need to find a way to express our gratitude at their efforts to help us, no matter how ill-timed, ill-informed, and inept such interventions may have been. We need to find a way to tell all of them that today we are sane and sober and that we have taken responsibility for our own lives. We need to tell them to be hopeful, that RECOVERY LIVES! Americans see the devastating consequences of addiction every day; it is time they witnessed close up the regenerative power of recovery.
It is not enough to come together and advocate for our own needs-to focus on the needs of those already in different stages of recovery. This movement must keep its eyes on ways the doorway of entry to recovery can be widened for those still suffering. And perhaps in the end it is not even enough to widen this door. Perhaps there is a larger agenda lurking in the background-the agenda of creating a better community and a better world-to take some of what has been learned in recovery and infuse that into the civilian community. To America, we say:
You can help save us, but we can also help save you. We are the ones who courted, yet cheated, the grave. In our darkest hours, we discovered some things of value that through us you can rediscover.
Some of you don't know it yet, but you were born to play a role in this movement. To those with long-tenured recovery, we need your wisdom, your stability, your hard-earned serenity. To those new in recovery, we need the freshness of your pain and the fervor of your passion. To those family members who have lived through the devastation of addiction and the demands of recovery, we need your love and patience and invite you as equal partners into the leadership of this movement. To the children who have lived in the shadow of parental addiction, we need your courage to break the intergenerational transmission of these problems. To those who have lost someone to addiction, we call on you to give that lost life meaning by wrapping it within your own story and passing it on to others. To professional helpers and other friends of recovery, we invite your involvement and challenge you to help us create recovery-oriented systems of care within local communities across the country.
I know some of you will see yourselves as unfit for this calling. You will identify an endless list of frailties and inadequacies that disqualify you from serving this movement. But if there is anything that history tells us, including the history of recovery, it is that the most perfect message can be delivered by the most imperfect of messengers. We have freed ourselves; it is time we freed our neighbors and our communities. There is much that we have yet to learn, but as a people we do know something about deliverance and liberation. A day is coming when we will help free America with the truth of our stories.
When will that day arrive? The dawn of that day is here but we must seize it! I invite you and challenge you to become part of this new recovery advocacy movement by supporting local recovery advocacy organizations with your time, your talents, and your money. I invite you to find opportunities to tell your stories to those who know little about addiction or recovery. And I invite you to become an activist in advocating pro-recovery policies in every venue of influence you can reach. As Senator Hughes suggested, our own salvation as individuals and families bestows upon us a debt of obligation and an opportunity for service. When a vanguard of recovering people and their families step forward to pay this debt and accept this mantle of service, that new day will have arrived.
In White, W. (2006). Let's Go Make Some History: Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement. Washington, D.C.
Let’s say you have an adult son or daughter who is harmfully involved with drugs or alcohol. You want to help so you have paid the rent or other bills, given him money, bailed him out problems or let him move back home.
Sure, he’s promised to make things right, but things don’t get better. Every time your child denies using, provides reasons for the situation or tells you he is going to quit, you believe him and give him another chance.
The stress on everyone is taking its toll. Your thoughts continue to focus on the state of your family, everyone seems on edge and you can’t remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep. Your energies all go on trying to “fix” the situation.
In an effort to help, friends, family neighbors, keep offering advice. They tell you to stop taking care of him, stop giving him money and to take care of yourself. From your point of view everything would fall apart if you did that. He would end up on the street, in jail or worse. “He just needs to get a break or get past this rough patch” you think. Besides he said he is going to quit using, and he really means it this time.
This is an incredibly difficult situation, but you are not alone. We know “enabling” is when we do something for someone else that they should and could do for themselves. But, are we not supposed to help out those we love? That’s what families do, right? What if you are the only glue holding what little there is together?
These are hard questions and the answers can be difficult to determine. It can take the guidance and support of others to help sort this out. Al-anon, Families Anonymous and Lost and Found Ministry are all here for YOU. The important things to remember are: don’t do this alone, things can get better, and there are people out there who can help. Call us today at 218-287-2089 to talk to someone who understands or email us at email@example.com.
“Give the Gift of a Tacklebox, Skip the Xbox”
This note on Facebook really caught my eye as we think about summer.
Children. Adolescents. The thought of them raises strong feelings:
Fear -something bad could happen to our little ones;
Love -they are the apple of our eye;
Frustration -if only they could learn from our mistakes; and
Weariness -will they ever go to sleep?!
Yet, we become mama and papa bear if our children are threatened. In today’s world, the influences that are beyond our control are bigger and more powerful than ever. Look around, kids are “plugged in” all the time.
Now summer is upon us and school is out. That means more kids are on the streets, and there is more time on the phone, watching TV or on the computer. Is it any wonder we have children who
· don’t want to get off the couch,
· struggle with mood and energy,
· have difficulties socially, and
· use food, drugs, alcohol, video games etc. to help them feel better.….?
Strong neighborhood attachments have been shown to help decrease the chance of drug/alcohol use in children. That means all of us can help each of us—especially the young ones-- through very simple but caring interactions.
· Talk to the neighborhood kids and listen to what they have to say;
· Say hello when they walk the dog;
· Express appreciation when they have lots of energy to play together and practice their skills;
A local school teacher makes a point of greeting the young grocery baggers at the grocery store. An older couple befriends the neighborhood kids with smiles and friendly questions. One neighborhood parent provides the treats while the other parent spots kids on the trampoline.
You can spend time with your grandchildren/niece/nephew/neighbor by playing cards, getting to know their friends, putting together a puzzle, or playing catch. Let’s help our children experience the fun of making snowmen, ice skating, kayaking, swimming, going to church as a family, bike riding and, yes, fishing. Given how important this is, I, for one, am going to try hard to do more of this.