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Dear Addiction

by anonymous, male, 55

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 as … Read more...

Soul exhaustion as a result of my son’s substance misuse and mental health

tired heart

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...

Recovery School opens in Central Virginia!

by Kerri Rhodes Jenkins

Three of the foursome who went to the General Assembly to testify for this program in 2020 pictured here in 2022.
hb 928 recovery school
Pictured from January of 2020: Left to right-Taylor Rhodes, Kerry Rhodes, Del. Carrie Coyner, Anne Moss Rogers

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 928Read more...

How do I help my loved one to stop drinking or doing drugs?

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...

The Intersection of Addiction, Suicide, and Stigma

“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...

Addiction and substance misuse pose a safety risk at work. A personal story.

by Leslie Hanson

“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...

Podcast. L.E.A.P: Listen, Engage, Allow and Process on Your Healing Journey 

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.

Susan and I met a few years ago when I was writing Diary of a Broken Mind and she was writing Mining for Joy in the Deep River of Grief which is about sibling grief. She was my “beta reader” and … Read more...

THC warning labels where marijuana is legalized can help curb a homeless crisis

by Heidi Anderson-Swan

California’s SB 1097, warns about the mental health risks of high potency THC

Denver on the unofficial stoner holiday April 20, 2021

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...

Reflections of losing my twin brother to overdose

By Jill Cichowicz

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.

They say you get in the biggest fights with … Read more...

THC, young minds, and suicide

by Bart Bright

Bart, his wife, his now-deceased son, Kevin

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...

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