Turning Pain into Purpose

This was presentation to FABwomen. I love the audience there and always feel so connected. The sound on this video is not the greatest due to a corrupt sound card.

What do I offer that other speakers don’t?

  • Even though it’s a serious subject, I laugh and the audience does, too
  • I don’t make the audience feel guilty for having living children
  • I let people inside because
  • I want to be with the people in the audience both on and off stage
  • I am not bitter
  • I leave the audience with hope and ways to heal
  • I help people

Addiction resources and ideas

Shared by Evelyn Zak, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor

RVA Light is a Richmond VA coffee shop that supports those in recovery

Here are some national, regional and local Richmond, VA resources for those in the addiction and recovery community. There are many here that have that, “Wow, that’s cool vibe.” So if it’s not in your area, it may be an idea that inspires you. At the bottom are recommended books and movies.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)– National

12-step support– National


I wanted his old self back

Over time, Charles’ depression and addiction changed him. Depression sucked away his motivation and planted thoughts of suicide and by then his antidote was heroin.

The change was subtle, slow, and methodical. Laughter was less frequent. He slept really late. He was even more hyper social than usual.

More than once, I would wonder, “What’s going on?” Something was different. I would search his room after he left but it turned up nothing.

I would wonder why he always had to be with friends for every waking moment. I asked him about it and still remember the pained look on … Read more...

A feeling of inadequacy meets an environment of availability

That’s how the drug culture was able to flourish and become an epidemic.

With the digital age, that which we thought would connect us more, connected us less. We became busier, families no longer were growing up in towns together, kids were getting less freestyle playground time, and 45% less face-to-face time with friends and family than the generation before.

All of that fostered a culture where a lot of people felt down, anxious, lonely and isolated. The lack of face time and freestyle play meant kids didn’t develop the coping skills and the resilience … Read more...

The definition of addiction recovery

When Charles was about to be released from rehab, he called and begged us to do Suboxone to help him transition. We wondered, “What is the right thing to do?”

At the time, many people were saying that it was trading one drug for another. And there are still people who I respect that think that way.

It was a consideration but we were in the midst of putting our house on the market and about to move so we had to find Charles a room in a recovery house. At the time, the recovery houses were not taking people … Read more...

My child’s drug use is because he got in with the wrong crowd

It’s so tempting to blame our child’s initial drug-seeking behavior on “hanging out with the wrong crowd.” It’s the number one go-to reason parents tell me is the reason for their child’s drug use.

Kids start using to:

  • Ease their pain and feel better
  • Feel good
  • Relax
  • Relieve boredom
  • Belong

In my opinion, “to belong” is rarely the reason these days. We think our child chooses some friend group that just happens to all start using about the same time and our kid gets innocently sucked into the vortex of substance misuse.

The truth is, those who are struggling tend … Read more...

Video: Preventure study coming to Richmond, VA Schools

We Got the Grant- An Overview of a Substance Abuse Prevention Program Study Coming to CCPS

Presenter: Anne Moss Rogers, Board member, Beacon Tree Foundation; Owner, Emotionally Naked LLC

There are four traits that Put Kids at Risk of Substance Misuse and in January 2019, VCU Institute of Drug & Alcohol Studies with Beacon Tree Foundation, won the VCU CCTR Endowment Fund to implement Preventure, a personality-targeted life skills training program that has been shown to reduce drug and alcohol use in schools by up to 80%.

The pilot study, the first in the US, will include four Virginia … Read more...

The cop I thought I hated

by Sarah Gaer

I like to say friends are the family we choose. 

For many reasons, my chosen family as a young person was often the kids who didn’t belong anywhere else. Kids bond through shared traits and I felt like a social outcast and so I connected with the other kids who also felt the same.

Some of them came from abusive homes, some of them had learning disabilities, some of them had mental health challenges and some had all of the above. Sadly, because I fit in with the group that felt they fit in nowhere, I lost … Read more...