Posted in Parenting, Teen

What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of summer I used to love. However, I’m old now and the heat isn’t quite as much fun. Thank God for Air Conditioning! 🙂

It saddened me this week when I learned of Chester Bennington’s death. For any of you who haven’t heard, he was the lead singer of Linkin Park and he committed suicide this week.

 

It just breaks my heart that someone who gave so much to the world struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was further saddened when I found out that Chester was abused when he was a child by an older male.

I’ve done a little research on alcohol and drug abuse and it’s my opinion that the majority of addictions stem from abuse. Either emotional, physical, or sexual. I believe an addiction is a form of self-medication that has run amuck.

Photo via VisualHunt

Addiction is a symptom of a much bigger problem. So we as a society need to stop treating addiction like it’s something to be ashamed of. We need to support our addicts and help them get better. How do we do that?

 

Photo via VisualHunt

Good question and I’m glad you asked. 🙂

We need to treat the underlying cause of the addiction. We need to get our loved one into therapy so he can deal with the abuse he has received. Once we give him coping mechanisms for that abuse, the need to self-medicate will disappear.

I know it sounds so easy, but we all know it’s not. Dealing with the shame, fear, and anxiety this abuse causes is extremely hard. Abusers are smart. They know how to manipulate and control their victims so they can come back and abuse them over and over again.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to speak up and stop them. A fine example of this is the documentary, “The Keepers.” I know I’ve mentioned this one a number of times, but I’ve got to say I’m amazed by the outpouring of support the victims of Father Maskell have received. There are over one hundred thousand members in their Facebook group and the majority of members offer support to the victims who are willing to speak out about the abuse they’ve experienced.

Their goal is to get the Archdiocese to release their files on Father Maskell. They’ve got a petition going where they are asking the Bishop to release the files. If you’d like to sign the petition, click here:

Petition for The Archdiocese to Release Files on Father Maskell

They’ve got about forty thousand signatures and they’re hoping to reach fifty thousand.  This is a step in the right direction. The church needs to be held accountable for hiding the abuse and not turning the pedophiles into the authorities.

There are other forms of abuse that priests and other members of our society are involved in as well. I’m talking about human trafficking. Recently, I watched the documentary, “I am Jane Doe.”  Here’s the link to the trailer.

I am Jane Doe

Teens are being taken right off the streets and sold online. They are forced to have sex up to twenty times a day. It’s happening in every state in the US. It’s not just a problem overseas. How do we stop this?

By arresting the people who pay for this kind of thing. Once you eliminate the demand there’s no one to buy the product. I know easier said than done. (I think I’ll save this one for another blog post. It deserves its own.)

Photo credit: dualdflipflop via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This is another form of abuse that will lead to addiction if these victims don’t get help. These victims did nothing to deserve this kind of treatment, but our society engages in victim-blaming quite often. So not only are they dealing with trying to come to terms with what happened to them, they’ve got society pointing an accusing finger as well. So you see how easy it is to slip into self-medicating behavior?

Once we step forward and stop the victim-blaming, we’ll be able to provide these people with the counseling and help they need. This is a huge step, I know. There are so many abused people in the world today. I’m not sure how to do it, but I’m open to ideas.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Do you have any ideas on what more we can do to stop this horrific abuse? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Posted in Writing

You May be Addicted to Writing If…

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you today. I’m back and I’ve been diligently working on my WIP. It’s really shaping up and I’m very excited about how it’s turning out. So stay tuned. Positive things are happening! 😉

 

Today I’d like to make a confession to you. I’ve finally had to admit it to myself. I am obsessed with writing. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it, trying to make my story better or I’m researching for my story. It’s that bad.

Since I’ve become aware of my addiction, because let’s face it, it is. I’ve taken steps to manage it, because we never really cure ourselves do we? But I thought I’d list the signs for you, just in case you might be struggling with this addiction, but you’re not quite sure. Maybe living in the land of denial? I lived there for a while. It was great. 🙂

 

  1. You may be addicted to writing if your house looks like a tornado hit it. All. The. Time.

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks via Visualhunt / CC BY

  1. You may be addicted to writing if your hair hasn’t been styled in months.

Photo credit: Jenn Durfey via Visualhunt / CC BY

  1. You may be addicted to writing if you barricade yourself in your writing hovel, ignoring your family’s cries for food and clean clothes.

 

  1. You may be addicted to writing if you can write your name in the dust that’s gathered on your living room furniture and shelves.

Photo via VisualHunt

  1. You may be addicted to writing if you take your laptop with you on your child’s playdates.

 

  1. You may be addicted to writing if you take your laptop into the bathroom with you because you’re in the middle of a really good scene.

 

  1. You may be addicted to writing if you’re deathly pale in the summer because you’d rather write than spend time in the sun.

Photo credit: SLR Jester via Visualhunt / CC BY

  1. You may be addicted to writing if you give up food, alcohol, and showering because it takes too much time away from your work.

 Close-up of pizza slice on restaurant table

Photo via VisualHunt.com

  1. You may be addicted to writing, if you’d rather do that than go out and get a better paying job.

Woman working on laptop with notebook and mobile phone on table

Photo via Visualhunt.com

  1. You may be addicted to writing if your family doesn’t remember what you look like because your face is always behind a computer screen.

 

These are all signs that you are addicted to your passion. There are steps to remedy the situation, but the first step is admitting you have an addiction. This step is always the hardest. Just ask me, I know. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. Do you have a writing addiction? How has it affected your life? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Parenting, Teen

Heroin: It’s Not Just for the Dark Alley Anymore

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about something I learned while doing some research for my story. I was shocked and dismayed to hear this and as a parent I’m sure you will be, too.

I learned that Heroin has reached epidemic proportions in our high schools. This stresses me out because I’ve got two young boys who’ll be entering high school in a few years. So naturally, I asked my source, how did this happen? (My source is very reliable and that’s all I can say about that. ;)).

 

Photo credit: Alan Cleaver via Visualhunt / CC BY

 When he told me prescription drugs like OxyContin and Oxycodone, I couldn’t believe it. The kids are either prescribed these pain killers for injuries or surgery, and then they get hooked, or they’re stealing them from their parents and using them to get high. When their bodies become used to these drugs, it takes a stronger dose to get the same effect. At this point, it’s easier and cheaper for the teen to get Heroin than it is to get “Oxy.”

Photo via geralt via Visual Hunt

My source tells me Heroin is so addictive and some people are so vulnerable that it only takes one use to become hooked.  Check out these real life stories of two teens who’ve become hooked on it. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/teen-heroin

Photo credit: danielle.spraggs55 via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Heroin has evolved from the use of a syringe in a dark alley to a pill. That’s right, it’s in pill form called a button. This makes it easier to get, easier to use, and it’s much more powerful (purity is about ninety percent) so the high is that much better. I’ve been told it’s the most relaxing feeling in the world, all your troubles just float away. I can understand why someone would get hooked on that feeling. Especially our young people who are experiencing teen angst and all the pressures of being a teen for the first time. Historically, the average age of a heroin death was between forty and forty five.  Now, the average age is between eighteen and twenty five.

What can we do as parents to prevent this type of addiction from happening?

That’s a good question. First of all, get rid of all the leftover prescription medication you have. Don’t let it sit in the medicine cabinet and if you’re taking some medication, monitor it. Only take what you need and throw the rest away and I don’t mean in the garbage can where young hands can find it, return it to the pharmacy where you bought it and they’ll get rid of it in a manner that’s safe for people and the environment.

Photo credit: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration via Visual hunt

 

The next step is we need to impress upon our medical professionals that they need to monitor their prescriptions. They’re so busy that they overprescribe these pain killers because it’s quicker and easier. I’ve seen this in action myself. I was prescribed Lorazepam during my stint with chemo and ended up taking it when I was finished as a sleep aid.

Later, I found out you’re not supposed to take this drug for the long term, but my doctor’s nurse kept refilling the prescription. Finally, after a year, she stopped and had me start taking Melatonin to help me sleep. I stopped the Lorazepam cold turkey. This isn’t recommended either, but it scared me to think I could be addicted to a drug so I wanted to stop right away. Luckily, I just had a couple of nights where I had insomnia and then my body returned to normal. I’m telling you this story to show you how easy it is to become addicted to a medication. Especially one that has been prescribed for you.

We rely on the medical professionals to guide us in the right direction and for the most part they do, but they’re human just like us and things slip through the cracks.  We must be critical thinkers especially when it comes to our health and our children’s health. We must ask questions and get second opinions. When we’re prescribed a medication, let’s make sure we know all the side effects and exactly how long we should be taking it.

Photo via skeeze via Visualhunt.com

Maybe there should be a position in each facility to monitor the prescriptions going out the door. This might not only help the doctors and patients, but it might also create a few jobs. 🙂 How about you? Do you have a solution to this problem? Or maybe you have a story you’d like to share. If so, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Slice of LIfe, Uncategorized

Weekly Reflections: A Slice of Life Post

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life Post. My boys and I are enjoying our mid-winter break. We have two days off of school, so I’ve gotten a lot of writing done but housework…not so much. 🙂

Yes. I’ve been feeding my addiction. I’ve been writing. What else can I do during these rough winter months when I can’t get outside?

Photo credit: peaceful-jp-scenery via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

I did meet a friend for lunch over the weekend, though. Someone I went to high school with. We weren’t close in high school, but we connected on Facebook and found that we lived close by. Isn’t social media wonderful that way? I’ve been in touch with people I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s so interesting to see the different paths everyone has taken.

I miss those friendships from my school days. We had so much fun. I don’t think women are close like that in adulthood. We get married, and we devote all of our time to our families. I do believe you can have those close friendships in old age, though.

I see my Great Aunt Josie in her retirement home and she’s as spunky as ever. I want to be like her. She’s so full of spirit. She was close to my grandmother, and I love to hear tales of them growing up. She has friends she gets together with in their community room. I love the fact she has companions. I’m so thankful she’s not lonely.

Enter a caption

Photo credit: TheArches via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

 

When I think of my Aunt Josie. I think of this awesome poem. My grandmother gave it to me in a frame one Christmas, and I’ve kept it ever since. Here it is:

When I am an Old Woman

I shall wear purple

with a red hat which doesn’t go,

and doesn’t suit me,

and I shall spend my pension on brandy

and summer gloves and satin sandals,

and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired…

and run my stick along the public railings

and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain.

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

and learn to spit…

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

and pay our rent and not swear in the street

and set a good example for the children.

We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I should practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised when suddenly

I am old and start to wear purple.

Author: Jenny Joseph

          This is what I want to be like in my old age. How about you? Have you ever thought about it? What do you want to be like when you’re old? And what is the definition of old these days?

Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!

To read other Slice of Life Posts, click the link below:

Slice of Life

Posted in Health

The Price of Fame

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I want to discuss the price of fame. It seems to me, in the last couple of years there have been a number of accidental deaths due to overdoses. I blame fame for the deaths of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heath Ledger, and Michael Jackson.

This photo courtesy of Justin Hoch
http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/#2265887
Link to license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The reason I blame fame is simple. When you become famous, your privacy’s gone. To me, an outsider looking in, everyone wants a piece of a celebrity. Reporters hound them. They take pictures of their families when they’re having some down time. Just going to the market becomes newsworthy and photographers follow them for the one shot that’s going to make millions. How would you feel if you were running to the market in your sweats, to get your kid some cough medicine, and a mob of photographers were chasing you?

All of this because they’re a great actors or musicians. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to meet George Clooney or Brad Pitt. I’d also love to sit down with Steven King and the members of Rush just to get to know them and pick their brains. However, I would never dream of camping outside their homes just hoping for a picture.

That’s where fame turns ugly, when reporters and photographers make money off a famous face, boundaries get blurred and violated. I understand how some celebrities get so angry; they get into physical altercations with the reporters and photographers who follow them.

Not only do celebrities have to deal with paparazzi following them, they also have to deal with the pressure from the industry. Pressure to look good all the time. Pressure to be better than their last stellar role or album.

It seems like, when you’re a celebrity there’s no time to relax. They work ungodly hours to get a scene right or adhere to a tour schedule. That’s when the need for medication rears its ugly head.

They need it to keep them awake and then they need it to help them sleep. It turns into a vicious cycle. After a while, they’re hooked and in some instances, they need to take more of it to get the same effect.

Their dependency spirals out of control and they’re taking stronger and stronger drugs. In my opinion, this behavior leads to addiction to drugs such as meth and heroin.

So, instead of attaching labels to these people and assigning blame, why don’t we solve the problems that create the addictions in the first place? Why don’t managers create a schedule that allows our celebrities to maintain their health? Why don’t we pass laws that keep the paparazzi away? I know it sounds like a simplistic solution to a complex problem, but it would be a start.

Of course, then there would be the reporters screaming about free press and the public’s right to know, but what about the celebrities’ rights? Don’t they have a right to privacy as well?

Thanks for reading my post today. If you would like to share your ideas regarding this post, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, reviews, Teen

My thoughts on “Breaking Bad”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you today! I’m back talking about one of my favorite TV shows, “Breaking Bad.” Last night was the season finale and I must say it was awesome!

I have to admit when I first started watching the show I thought it was going to be one that glorified drug use. I was a little skeptical about whether I was going to enjoy it or not.

Photo from http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/breaking-bad/breaking-bad-the-final-seasons-most-apocalyptic-moments/

“Breaking Bad” is the story of Walter White, a chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer. He needs big money to pay for his cancer treatments, so he starts manufacturing Meth. Since he’s a chemistry teacher, he knows about chemical reactions, which means he knows how to cook it. His product ends up being 99% pure. With that kind of purity, his product becomes a hot commodity in the drug world.

In the beginning, Walt is just a “nice guy” who has been screwed over. He has been screwed over by his former business partners and by the insurance company that won’t cover his cancer treatment. Walt is a victim. We identify with him and want him to win. We want him to win even when he turns into Heisenberg. The reason for that is because we’ve all been victimized in some way and we want to seek revenge on our tormentors. When Walt transforms into Heisenberg, he becomes victorious, beating the bullies of society. So, even though he’s a bad dude, we still like him. This is a story of what can happen when horrible circumstances force people to make choices they wouldn’t normally make.

This show is probably one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. It depicts the story of Walter White’s transformation from mild-mannered high school teacher to drug king pin. It’s the story of the destruction of his family.

I think it’s an accurate portrayal of what the drug trade is really like. There’s nothing glamorous about it. It’s violent and scary. Drugs destroy families and lives.  If the DEA doesn’t catch you, your competition will kill you.

It’s a tragic tale. Walt has to say good-bye to his family and disappear. In the end, he has no one. I don’t  want to spoil the ending for anyone who had to DVR the show last night, so that’s all I’m going to say about the end.

I know this show is violent, but I wonder if it wouldn’t be a bad idea for high school students to watch it. It shows the unglamorous side of meth addiction, the sores, the repetitive behavior, and the rotted teeth in all their glory.

It also depicts a realistic portrayal of what a Meth dealer’s life is like. The constant war over territory, the constant anxiety about being caught, and the lies that have to be told to protect your cover. It’s an incredibly stressful situation.

“Breaking Bad” does illustrate the “big bucks” that a drug dealer can make. However, it doesn’t glorify it. It depicts the difficulty a dealer faces when he needs to get the money laundered and what does happen when the DEA catches a dealer. All that money he made goes straight to the government not his family. The show illustrates that the drug trade is a no win situation for anyone, whether you’re a user or a pusher. Everyone loses in the long run.

So there you have it. I will miss this show. It was quite an education and I would recommend getting the DVDs and watching the show with your teens. It’s an excellent way to educate them about the realities of both drug use and the drug trade.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I’d love to hear from you so if you’d like to leave a comment about your thoughts on the show, please do! I’d love to read them!

 

I’d like to thank Television without Pity.com for the use of this photo. For more pictures click the link below:

http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/show/breaking-bad/breaking-bad-the-final-seasons-most-apocalyptic-moments/