Posted in Documentaries, Family

“The Pharmacist,” more on the Opiate Epidemic

 

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a full week of working and writing and kids. It has been busy, but I was able to get quite a bit of writing done this weekend, so I’m feeling pretty good about that.

 

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Anyway, enough about that. Today I wanted to talk about a documentary I watched over the weekend, and it relates to what Mike Hamp is trying to raise awareness about. It is the opiate epidemic. The documentary is called “The Pharmacist.”

 

 

To check out the trailer for “The Pharmacist, click here.

It brings to light the prevailing problem of doctors who are writing prescriptions for the drug Oxycontin. These doctors are making a lot of money prescribing this highly addictive drug for people who need it to manage pain. The documentary reveals how  “pill mills”  have sprung up and shows how doctors keep writing prescriptions for this drug long after it is needed. Many have lost their medical licenses and some have even gone to prison.

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It’s an excellent example of what happens when there’s no one regulating the drug industry. Oxycontin is a great drug for managing pain, but it is highly addictive. There are many doctors who took advantage of people by prescribing this drug. When authorities started getting involved and they were no longer able to prescribe Oxycontin. People who were addicted turned to heroin.

It reminds me of the tobacco industry and how they made their cigarettes more addictive by adding nicotine. This documentary illustrates what happens when no one monitors an industry. The doctors created “pill mills” to make money at the expense of the public. The drug company manufactured the pills, but it was the doctors who ultimately wrote the prescriptions.

Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com on Visual Hunt / CC BY

This is the opiate epidemic that Mike Hamp is walking for. If you have a few spare moments, check out the documentary. It is very informative and shows what the public is up against.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about the opiate epidemic? Should drug companies be monitored? Or should it be the doctors? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Guest interview, inspiration, mental-health

Let’s hear it for Mike Hamp and Walk #2!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I thought I’d bring a guest on board to talk about his vision. He is the creator of “A Walk for A Thought,” and his objective is to bring awareness to the Opiate Epidemic that plagues our country today.  His first walk was from Hastings, Michigan all the way across the Mackinac Bridge. Today, he’s sharing his plans about his second walk with us.

 

Photo credit: pablohart on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

I interviewed Mike before his first walk last year. To read that first interview please click the link:  Mike Hamp Interview 

Now, without further ado, here’s Mike!

  1. Mike, you just finished your first “Walk for a Thought.” What are your plans for Walk number two?

 

Hey Lisa, I appreciate you reaching back out and checking in! I finished up the walk in September and was able to relax for a little bit. However, with no more direction or real goals to shoot for after finishing, I got myself into a pretty dark funk and got off track for planning a bigger walk in 2020. I have some pretty cool smaller walks in the works for this coming spring and summer, hoping to connect with some great causes and try to help bring awareness and funds to them.

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One in particular is a documentary called “Needles In The Hay.” Brett Meyer is the guy making this film about the opiate crisis in America. He joined me, along with his cameraman, for one of the days of the walk and they were able to shoot some great footage in hopes to use it in this amazing film that he is creating.

To learn more about “Needles in the Hay,” click HERE.

He has been all over the country meeting with addicts and the families of addicts, to get to the root cause of this epidemic. He’s been confronting and digging deep into the pharmaceutical companies looking for answers, all while bringing the viewer closer to what this war really looks like. We are in the planning stages right now of how this project will look for later in the summer of 2020.

 

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The next big walk is also in the early planning stage and it looks like it will take place in the summer of 2021. I will be headed to Niagara Falls. This is a lot further than the first walk and a lot of things need to come together, but I am very confident that I am building the right team to accomplish this one as well.

 

 

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  1. What did you learn about yourself on your first walk?

 

Man, where do I start?? 🙂 This walk took me deeper into my mind than I had ever gone before. Anxiety and over thinking are some things I have struggled with for as far back as I can remember and these behaviors are exhausting. When we get mentally exhausted, it gets really hard to combat the negative thinking that start to chatter in the mind. I feel like the biggest thing that I gained during this walk was the understanding that we really can take our thoughts captive, we really can learn to shut down that negative voice before it even starts. When we are alone with an endurance type task, it is won or lost in our minds. Go on or quit? This showed its ugly face many times a day while on this journey, I had to choose that I wasn’t going to quit, and I realized that our bodies can do far more than what we think…

Photo credit: Image Editor on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

 

 

  1. What are you going to do differently on your second walk?

 

Going into Walk #1, I felt like I was in the best shape that I had ever been in. I trained very hard for this and made a lot of nutritional changes throughout the training as well. Now that I was able to tap into my brain a bit more and see that I can dig deeper, I will be training harder and working on some specific areas more than others in order to build up my body to sustain more miles.

I will also be working on some new things that will be training and challenging my mind such as some Cold-water training and new breathing routines. I think the biggest change is going to be a new tent. 🙂 Mine was great for hiking with due to size and weight, but when I had to use it, I felt as if I was in a body bag and it was way too small for my liking. This was a huge struggle that will for sure help ease some of the mental struggle for the next walk.

 

 

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  1. Has this walk strengthened your relationships with your family?

 

Due to my struggle with drugs and alcohol and my inability to handle my anger and a lack of patience, I have let a ton of people down through the years. My children and other family and friends have been able to witness a huge change in my approach to life overall as well as how I respond to things as they happen. I’ve learned patience, and the fact that I am in control of my response only, always and this has helped build up relationships with my children, family and friends. It was cool to accomplish such a huge task because it gives my kids something to be proud of me for. Our communication when I was gone really helped keep me on track and my kiddos realized that they missed me a lot. It was a great way to strengthen our relationships.

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  1. What inspired you to embark on this journey?

 

Back in August of 2018, I had shoulder surgery number 5. I was sober for the first time ever. I was finally in a spot where I felt like I was making real progress in my life. I was active in the gym, eating right, doing anything and everything I could to stay on track and moving forward with a solid state of mind and new habits. This surgery was very difficult on me and truly took me out of commission.

It quickly threw me into a downward spiral of thinking which was only a matter of time where actions probably would have followed. After a couple weeks of the house feeling like it was caving in on me, I was able to get outside and take a little walk. This was a game changer because it helped shift my poor thinking and helped just enough to not feel like I was truly hopeless.

I was taking several small walks a day and realized my head was staying above the water so to speak. This was a pretty serious surgery and set me up for a long recovery period, but being able to get outside and walk was ultimately what kept me motivated. At some point during one of the walks, I started to think about how far I could walk. That thinking mixed with the vision I already had to want to help people who battled the same stuff I did, turned into me wondering if I was able to help inspire people with walking a long distance. I started to write my ideas down and ran them by a few solid people in my life and began planning the first #awalkforthought.

I was watching the news one day and they mentioned the Mackinac Bridge walk on Labor Day, and I knew right away where my first destination was. I brought it to the team, and we got to work. After a ton of support, a ton of hard work and so much planning, I finished the walk in 13 days and crossed the bridge on Labor Day of 2019

Photo credit: Florian Grundstein on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

  1. What keeps you going back?

 

The growth that comes from accomplishing something of this magnitude is incredible. I wanted this walk to bring hope, to inspire, to encourage anyone and everyone battling the things that I know so well. Addiction, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, insecurity to name a few. I was blown away by all of the support and the amount of people this reached, it truly has changed my life, but the big reason I will continue to do this is for the change that happens inside when we can accomplish such a big goal. I thought this was for other people (And I know it truly was) but it was just as much, if not more for myself, and progressing into a better version of myself.

 

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  1. Do you think you’ll have people joining you on your second walk?

 

I had many people stop along the way and walk some distance with me on the first walk. One of my buddies spent a whole day walking and camped with me. I have had many people want to join me, but honestly, I needed this one to just be me for the most part. I am not against planning something with other people and the smaller walks this spring and summer will probably be a great time for that, but when I venture out for the 2021 walk, I will plan it for a solo walk, but I will never turn down anyone who wants to get some steps in.

 

  1. What are you hoping to accomplish with these journeys?

 

The biggest thing I would like to get across to people is that there is so much more to life than the vicious cycle that addiction and battling for mental health shows us. We truly are filled with potential and any one of us at any given time can (We Need to) make the decision to fight out of the hell like atmosphere so many are in on a daily basis. Discipline, hard work, perseverance, persistence, the will to not quit is where the answer is. We must break bad habits, as hard as it is (Some say it’s a disease, I disagree. I think it’s wiring through many years of poor thinking and bad habits that are so hard to break that it is like a disease.) and change the things in our lives that will help us beat this.

Proper nutrition, exercise, hydrating, nature, finding purpose, setting goals and working hard towards them, learning proper self-talk. All of these are areas I needed to fix before I was able to get to a place where I was no longer going to be just another statistic. I want people to know they have everything they need built in; they just need to tap into it. I want my life to be an example that may help others get to a place in life where they too are able to live it to the fullest. Also, gaining finances to help further bigger vision projects that I have in my community and surrounding communities that are in need.

 

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  1. Can you share any epiphanies you may have had on your journey?

 

As cliché as this might sound, I really believe now that we can do ANYTHING we put our minds to (Within reason, obviously if I want to grow wings and fly it’s not going to happen) I saw all this in my head first, we planned, I put in the work and I followed though. I’m not saying it’s easy, but the concept is simple. Set goals, work your ass off, don’t quit. This is how we change the world.

 

  1. Are you going to walk the same path you did last year?

 

I have no desire to take the same trip more than once. My goal is to go bigger and further for each walk ultimately crossing the whole country at some point in my lifetime 🙂 Who knows, maybe even other countries… 😉

 

 

Thanks for sharing your vision with us Mike and taking the time for this interview. It is greatly appreciated. I’m so excited to see you accomplish your goals and I can’t wait for the documentary to come out. The opiate epidemic is a real problem and I applaud you for sharing your story so others may learn from it.

How about you? How do you feel about the opiate epidemic? Do you know anyone this has affected? How did they handle it? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Guest interview, inspiration, Personal, promotion

Let’s Hear it for Mike Hamp!!

Hello everyone,  I hope all is well with you. Today, I have a guest with a unique message. He’s trying to take his own experiences and trying to help others who may be struggling with the same issues he has struggled with. I won’t go into any more detail than that because I want Mike to share his story and the project he’s working on. Take it away, Mike!

  1. Mike, tell us a little about yourself.

Hey Lisa!! Thanks a ton for the opportunity!! I was born on the east side of the state in Port Huron on November 1st, 1982.  That makes me 36 years old 😉 I have 4 amazing children. It goes from oldest to youngest, ages and gender follow names. Michael 14 Daughter (Yes, its Michael, yes, she is a girl…) Rylee 13 Daughter. Jonah 8 Son. Ailey 6 Daughter.

These kids are incredible and help remind me daily that I MUST lead by example. I make a living and goof off a lot at Tom’s Meat Market here in Hastings. We just recently went viral on Facebook with our Gummi Bear Brats!! Daniel Tosh (Tosh.o) shared it, I also did a live radio interview recently about them with a station in Rockford, Illinois. I honestly can say if I MUST have to earn money to pay bills, then Tom’s is definitely the place I want to be as the Values Not Feelings Organization and A Walk For Thought are growing and taking shape… I’ll explain more in the questions below.

 

 

  1. If you don’t mind, could you tell us a little bit about how you became addicted to opiates?

Sure, this is all part of my story, although I speak of it a lot lately. I LOVE sharing it in hopes that I reach the MANY others who battle the same or similar things that I have. I was introduced to opiates when I was 16. I had 4 shoulder surgeries pretty much all back to back. There was a lot of work done in a couple years span which pretty much kept a pretty decent number of opiates flowing into my life for a solid amount of time. I really enjoyed the way the opiates made me feel. They helped the chaos in my brain feel better, that I can remember super early in my younger years. This was a chaos that I still deal with today, one that I have thankfully learned to think through rather than go numb and try to hide from. The hard stuff never goes away, it might fall back a bit, it might sit in the shadows out of your sight, but the fight in the mind that so many are engaged in will show back up at times with more opportunity to grow. Around this time is when I took my first drink of alcohol. Something that was a problem from the very first drop… I am just shy of 17 months sober from drinking alcohol as I write this and I am grateful for how much my quality of life has improved without it. Mixing opiates and other pills with alcohol became a war that lasted for half of my life before I was finally able to break out of the hell like grips of addiction. A “disease” of the mind and our thoughts…

 

Photo credit: RS2Photography on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

  1. When did you realize you had a problem and what were the steps you took to resolve it?

 

With opiates and alcohol both it was almost instantly that they both became very big issues in my life. I had many times in between the 16 years where opiates weren’t as big of an issue as alcohol was for me. If they were around and I took them, well, it would just depend on how long in between therapies, rehabs, meetings before I was faced with yet “another” failed bout with self-control and will power. I would once again give into the fight and would take opiates and then  would face the consequences in one way or another EVERY TIME. Until finally, after a shit ton of tries, many and I mean many hard lessons and close calls, I stopped using opiates 4 years ago. Alcohol on the other hand had its grips around my neck for a bit longer and other than a 7 month period of not drinking (For a girl), it was the longest I went with out alcohol from 16 years old until just about 17 months ago. Where I made the decision that if I was going to choose life,  I was going to put in the work NO MATTER WHAT happened. I’ve tried quitting so many times before so I was skeptical about my success, but deep inside I knew this time was different.

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  1. Tell us a little bit about your struggle to resolve your problem.

I’d say my senior year of High School is when the use of the substances reached a place that put a real problem on the radar. I was drinking in school, before school. Just before graduation was my very first attempt at a try in the substance abuse programs that are around. (Not by choice) My parents tried helping by putting me into a program. It was an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for people battling addiction. I had to go 3 nights a week for 3 hours. It only lasted a few visits and then I stopped going which then lead to years and years of juggling through trying to quit and failing which then the many different therapy sessions, and aa/na meetings, other types of rehabs followed. I have been married and divorced 2 times. My issues with my mind and battle with substances played an enormous role in both marriages failing. Although we are in control of our own actions and behaviors, its super hard to be the husband you need to be when you don’t even know who you are…

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  1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent project.

 

My newest project is something called A Walk For Thought. It is a solo walk from Hastings, Mi. to St. Ignace, Mi. Its roughly 280 miles and I will be finishing on Labor Day of 2019 by crossing the Mackinac Bridge. The whole point is to attempt to bring awareness and funds to the Values Not Feelings Organization, a Non Profit that I am currently working on that will be based in my community and will be here in hopes to help others struggling with mental health and addictions. I have experienced this War first hand and it helps me  to support anyone who is ready to get out of this lifestyle that shortens life spans and steals life’s happiness and joy. It takes a ton of hard work on their part however, and that is where I feel I can help. Coaching so to speak…

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  1. How would someone who wishes to participate get in touch with you?

We are ALWAYS looking for financial support as well as people sharing the vision. I have had so much amazing support and sponsors come on board, one being J Pixel, who has built an awesome website for me www.valuesnotfeelings.com which has a bunch of information about the project as well as a page for anyone to sign up as a sponsor. I’m also available on social media and  via Email. Facebook: Mike Hamp or A Walk For Thought Page.  and Instagram: Mike Hamp (Valuesnotfeelings) as well as Email: valuesnotfeelings@gmail

 

  1. What do you hope to accomplish with this project?

A Walk For Thought and Values Not Feelings are 2 separate projects that ultimately go together very well. The walk is meant to help push the Non Profit, it’s meant to help fund it, to help put it on the map so to speak, so I really hope that the walk brings a ton of attention in hopes to get the message and vision out to reach any and all who are ready to change their lives. This walk is meant to cause enough of a stir and gain the attention of people all over in hopes to help support those fighting for their lives. As well as, get people who have the finances and other things in hopes to get more sponsors and donors. The fight of addiction and the battle against poor mental health make this awesome life super hard to live, I want my story and experiences to help the people who are stuck now, get out and get to a place where they experience life fully…

 

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  1. Do you have any plans after this project for another one?

OH YEAH!! 😊 I have found a new Love/Passion for walking, hiking. 280 miles is only the beginning. This project has caught some attention of companies and donors thinking that 280 miles is far, just wait until you all hear of some of the other things we are tossing around… East coast to West coast maybe? We have A TON of great ideas that hopefully will turn into something more in the next few years. But as far as the foundation, the original base of this whole vision is helping anyone and everyone who is ready to put in the work and discipline needed to pull themselves out of the fiery pits of hell that addiction is. I NEVER want to lose focus of the real reason I am doing this all, and that is to offer myself to anyone ready to live this life on purpose…

 

  1. Where did you get the idea for this project?

There is a lot to this question as far as layers and ways I can answer it to get to the most descriptive answer so bear with me… At 16 I fell into this trap after 4 shoulder surgeries before I even graduated from High School. I am not blaming anyone but I didn’t even have a chance to be a “normal” High School  kid. I started life behind the majority because I battled for mine early on. After ALL of the things I have faced and all the extreme lows that I sank to, after the dust settled and I was able to walk out of that War alive. I got to a place in my life where I was solid enough to toss some ideas around. I started to see patterns and little tricks to help stay away from the poisons that were screaming in my brain to let in. I realized that we are in control of our responses only and that even though we “feel” emotions, as hard as they can be, we don’t have to respond!

This put a power into my life that I didn’t know was possible. I became part of a Crossfit Gym (Trifit), who is now a sponsor of mine, and was introduced to the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. This was the EXACT shift I needed. After putting in some very hard work and remaining disciplined in my work outs and diet, things began shifting in my mind. I had begun experiencing some awesome responses from the way my brain was working, it was like my once broken-down beat-up body and mind (which was like an old beat up car that was backfiring and spitting and sputtering, smoking and back firing) was just barely running and barely getting from point A to point B. But when I got on purpose about putting the proper fuel in my body (My vehicle), and took care of it with exercise and other maintenance, it started running like a fine-tuned machine, and it brought me into a place in life that I hadn’t experienced before. I began to trust my thoughts; my brain and body functions were amazing. I got into good shape and enjoyed life from that place and learned that that is a HUGE part at building a foundation to a life where you aren’t NEEDING drugs or alcohol to live…

The idea for the walk however only came when I went through a few months span of my body falling apart. I was recently sober, eating awesome and working out intensely. I was hit with some unexpected health issues that made it impossible to work out or even run. I had Rhabdomyolysis. I had shoulder surgeries #5 and #6 and I got to a place that when I ran, I peed blood, every time. (Bladder rubs when I run, causing enough trauma to bleed, very scary stuff until you get an answer) After the last 7 months of doctors, surgeries, overnight stays in the hospitals and all the chaos, I was pretty much left with only the option of walking… I had a new love for pushing myself and my body, but I was sinking fast when I wasn’t able to do much. I had just started realizing  I could take control of my mind and body and really do a lot to become healthy and strong. Exercise and good nutrition helped my thoughts and it was hard when I couldn’t exercise, I felt everything was crashing down around me and burying me in the very same mental mess that had buried for so many years previously.

I lost one of my most dear friends in March of 2018 to the battle of alcohol. Watching him die did something to the deepest part of me. I knew that with my story and past and with the determination I had from Brandon’s death, it was time to make my life mean something. I had to do something. I wondered, how far I would I have to walk for people to notice… And Bang, the idea was born. I began walking very far everyday because it was all my body can do and it turned into a passion. Now, I walk a ton everyday but I have also gotten back into the gym as well as slowly recouping and rehabbing. Now, its just what needs to happen, in order for my mind and body to fire on all cylinders, they must be treated properly, on purpose…

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  1. On a lighter note, what are some of your hobbies and interests?

I LOVE writing. It’s been a passion and an escape for me from as far back as I can remember. It’s a way for me to dig deep down inside and grasp onto some of those feelings that are there, and attempt to pull them out and put them onto the page, hoping they might just make sentences and paragraphs that will positively impact anyone who reads it. I have 4 amazing children who I LOVE spending as much time with as possible. I work in a pretty awesome Meat Market and spend quite a bit of time there, but it’s among my friends and it rarely ever feels like work. I love people, hearing their stories. I enjoy comedy and laughing a lot. I just might take a crack at it myself someday… 😊

 

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Thanks a lot Lisa for this opportunity. I am grateful for the chance you’ve given me to get my story and vision out. Keep fighting, Keep pushing, Be love; #valuesnotfeelings #awalkforthought

 

You’re welcome, Mike! Thanks for being a guest today. The meme below reminds me of you. So, keep spreading your message. The world needs to hear it!

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