My most treasured middle school memories begin with the intense aroma of habanero peppers and pineapple. For most, comfort food equates to mac and cheese or hamburgers, but for my father and me, a touch of homemade hot sauce was a taste of home.
I had memorized all the basics to impress him with my knowledge of spicy foods: where everything landed on the Scoville scale when the best time to harvest peppers was, and what lingers in the membranes of the seeds that create that sweet burn on your tongue.
My name is Andrea and I am an addict in recovery. My addictions were speed, narcotics, and alcohol. Because of my addictions, I’ve lost friends, significant others, housing, and my dignity. But since getting clean and sober, I have gained family, home, companions, and Mercy.
My mother gave me this rescue pitbull puppy which was named Angel. After realizing that the rescue dog rescued me, I renamed her Mercy.
Mercy came to me just 2 days after I became free from addiction
My clean/sober date is January 29, 2014, and I received Mercy on … Read more...
A trigger is an event, sound, sight, smell, or touch, that elicits an emotional response or prompts the memory of a trauma or unpleasant event.
A red flag is a warning sign of danger ahead.
A friend of mine, Alissa says that whenever she burns something on the stove it reminds her of a time when her mother cooked crack cocaine on the stove, a period in her life when she and her sisters went hungry, felt unloved, and neglected. While it has taken years, she has learned to appreciate that she endured this journey, is no longer in this … Read more...
Our relationship has come to a decision point. Although we have been spending a lot of time alone with each other, and have gotten to know each other quite well, I have decided it’s time you moved out.
You have become too demanding, too possessive, and too unhealthy for me. Others that I love more than you will no longer stay with me if I stay with you. So, I am moving on and you are moving out.
I know I have done this before and always welcomed you back, and each time it was … Read more...
Soul-sucking exhaustion. You know the kind of tired. So tired, you feel it in your bones. Facing the day seems insurmountable and all-consuming. When you’re in this state of mind, being around others drains all your energy and you may even withdraw.
I hit this point when our family was participating in intensive outpatient treatment for Charles’s substance misuse. He had broken into a store, out of his mind after mixing sleep medicine and alcohol, and everything came crashing down. Nothing was going right. I was at such a low point, every task took so much energy and … Read more...
There are three paths from addiction: Recovery, Jail, or Death.
After we lost Taylor in 2018, I promised I would find a way to be part of making a dent in how we treat addiction and help create programs that would have helped him in this fight. Delegate Carrie Coyner, Anne Moss Rogers, and I took HB 928… Read more...
I get this question daily. How can I stop my child/spouse/sibling from doing drugs, drinking too much, and even watching too much porn or gambling? Families feel they have tried everything and the helplessness of watching their loved one self-destruct is overwhelming. Not to mention how it affects the rest of the family and those relationships.
You can affect change. It’s not fast, it’s not guaranteed but you can improve your situation and create an environment for change. It’s important to understand how the person using a substance thinks and feels and how your actions play into their use. Empathy … Read more...
“My demons up against me I’m facing them now I wear the face of a clown I feel so unloved Because of the monster Created from drugs.”
Charles Aubrey Rogers, Rap Song, “Just to Hurt”
As most of you know I lost my son to suicide who suffered from an addiction to heroin. Many think he died from an intentional overdose. Not so. His death was far more desperate and visceral. My son would not have been counted in the stats of overdose deaths. We know 100k died of overdose. But what about all the other drug-related deaths? The accidents? … Read more...
“Your mom isn’t answering the phone. I’m worried about her. Can you check on her?” Immediately following this text, my cell phone rang with a familiar phone number. It was my mother’s cousin, Laurie. I knew why she was calling. Cousin Laurie spoke with my mother daily and routinely called me when she could not be reached.
Over the years, I came to address these calls with diminished urgency as experience taught me my mother was either ignoring the calls or incapacitated by her addiction to opioids. Cousin Laurie had designated herself as my mother’s keeper … Read more...
See the website here. Susan E. Casey is a grief expert and therapist who wants to help people find the light in grief. In this episode, you can join the conversation with a mother, Rebecca, whose son died from an accidental overdose, and how she is finding a path forward a year after her son’s recovery and shocking overdose.
California’s SB 1097, warns about the mental health risks of high potency THC
California’s SB 1097 seeks to mandate warning labels on all marijuana products, with special warnings on high THC content.
The warnings would include the increased risk for mental illness. Recently, Colorado led the nation to become the first state to mandate stronger warnings on the high potency marijuana concentrates to its consumers.
It is a matter of public health, and human decency, that California consumers as well as other citizens of states where marijuana has … Read more...
When my mom asked me to read the reflection at Scott’s funeral, I thought to myself, “How can I sum up a relationship and a bond that I shared with him for 38 years in 3-5 minutes?”
Reflections from Scott’s Memorial Service
Luckily, you all had the pleasure of knowing Scott as well, he was obnoxiously obsessed with the Chicago Bears, could sell anything to anyone, argue about anything to anyone that would debate him, and had a charming way about him as well as dashing good looks.
My son, Kevin, died by suicide on August 14, 2018. He was 29.
The last articulate words I heard him speak were, “Cannabis has ruined my life.” He suffered many episodes of Cannabis Induced Psychosis, a diagnosis in the DSM-5. Over the last two years, I have communicated with hundreds of parents whose children have suffered from Cannabis Induced Psychosis.
In Colorado in 2017, marijuana was present in the blood of 32% of suicides, ages 15 to 19 according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. My friend … Read more...
Living Undeterred is a podcast created by author Jeff Johnston and founder of the Choices Network, Ltd. Jeff lost his oldest son, Seth to heroin in 2016. His personal struggles gave him the inspiration to become vulnerable and to share how he has remained…undeterred. Jeff is in recovery from addiction, and for 11 years had his own wealth management and financial show.This show focuses a lot on the intersection of mental health, addiction, and suicide.
When Jason was 16 years old, he had a car wreck. Six weeks of physical therapy was followed with a new wonder drug for pain, Vicodin…..and a lifetime addiction to opioids.
Through relapses, college, rehab, counseling, the Marines, my life was filled with anxiety over how to help, anger at the situation, and fear; I was losing my son, my firstborn. How would I survive? How would his siblings survive without their big brother, their confidante, and at times their enemy?
Addiction and/or mental illness soon becomes a game the whole family gets … Read more...