Sunday, December 20, 2015

Is The System dealing properly with the Addiction Epidemic?

People are dying, lives and families destroyed!

Is Prison Really all we can come up with!?

I have struggled with addiction my entire adult life.  Approximately 20 years of Chaos, Misery and Destruction.  Now that the fog has finally lifted, I want to share my experience pertaining to addiction with others and I have started this site so others may do the same if they so choose to.
My goal here is to bring awareness to the devastation that addiction causes.  Devastation in the lives of addicts and in the lives of their families and loved ones.  This is a serious dilemma!  I do not feel that prison is the solution.  It’s like putting a Band-Aid on skin cancer.  It just gets covered up while the problem still grows underneath.  People are dying here! 
Good People!

I’m not going to go into great detail here about the specifics of my story.  I just want to get the point across that something needs to be done… Badly!  Or people are going to continue to die, continue to wreak devastation on themselves and on those around them, and continue to commit crimes to fuel their sickness.  And this IS a sickness, it is not a moral issue or an issue of will power.  I’m pretty sure that has been scientifically proven already with PET (BrainScans), but for some reason it is still not treated as such!
Whether our brains were different beforehand or the drugs caused the changes and made it worse, makes no difference to me.  It is a biological issue at that point and needs to be treated medically, which in many states, especially our state (MAINE), proper treatment and care is severely lacking.
Take away the barber shops and everyone will be running around with long hair.  Take away proper clinical treatment centers, rehabs and detoxes, and people are going to be running around with serious addiction problems.  It’s that simple.
I was 15 when I started using drugs.  I don’t blame it on any particular life event, I just did it at first to fit in and I liked it.  It made me feel more comfortable.  I then began to use it as an escape and as a way to cope.  
Then it had me!  
The process of changing my brain began, and it would continue that way for 20 or so years.  I tried detox many times.  Many places would kick me out before I was even done detoxing due to insurance issues.  I mean really!  At least give a person a fighting chance!  I never had the ability to get into proper, long term treatment for my addiction.  I destroyed my life and the lives of those around me for many of those 20 years.  I never learned how to cope and deal with life's problems because I was always relying on the substance that my brain became hard-wired to rely on in order to cope.  It knew nothing else. 
This last go around with my addiction involved close to 10 years on Methadone! Now that’s a topic in it of itself.  Methadone should be banned!  These companies that make money off of the disease of addiction in this way are despicable and should be outlawed.   Now I am not saying that some of these treatments don't have some benefits.  I did begin to get my life back together on Methadone but I was still not learning how to properly deal with the underlying causes and conditions of my disease.  These places are more than happy to up your dose whenever you want because doing so just made the ball and chain that Methadone is, that much heavier, which means money in their pockets! 
Suboxone treatment can be helpful but also needs to be properly prescribed and regulated.  Then tapered down as quickly as possible while a person is undergoing proper treatment.  By treatment I mean learning how to live life without the use of drugs.  I say this because when it comes down to it, that is what is needed.  Treatment and education about the disease: relapse, triggers, co-occurring disorders, etc.. are important, but that is not going to keep someone sober.  I needed to learn how to live again, all over, without relying on a substance to get me through. 
Sorry I went off on a tangent for a minute there, where was I?  Oh yeah, Methadone...Bad. 
I had a wife, children, good job, a house, everything I ever wanted in my life after using the crutch of methadone and suboxone, and then I made a mistake.   I released my addiction again.  I say this because my brain, the brain of an addict, has a Monster inside of it, and when I put a substance into my body this Monster can get released.  When it does, all the logic, desire, willpower and intelligence in the world is not going to stop it.  Reason being is that this Monster resides in my brain, and IT then begins pulling all the strings. 
“Am I headed in a bad direction”, nah, it’s not that bad, “Should I stop”, well maybe, but can I.  The answer is NO.  The answer is NO because this Monster is running around in my head making all my decisions for me, using tools like self-manipulation, denial, rationalization, justification, and outright lies.  It does this so it can keep going.  Why?   I have no idea, it’s just the way it is!  I lived it for many years. 
So, moving on, I made this mistake.  I decided I would get on a prescription for some problem I thought I had?  I realized later that this was the Monster rattling its cage… It does this from time to time and if I am not present, and aware, and ready for it, it will get out!  And it did!  Boy did it ever!  I went to a doctor that was more than willing to “help” me with my “problem”, with the help of BigPharma (that’s another topic all-together).  So I got on these meds., released the Monster, made a bunch of very bad decisions and ended up serving a 4 year sentence in prison (That’s the short version)
I feel lucky that I made it to prison, many don’t make it, they die or live a miserable existence until they die, or commit suicide from all the seemingly inescapable pain.  I also feel lucky because while I was in there I finally made a decision to surrender.  I surrendered to the fact that this Monster was real, and I finally got to the point where I knew I couldn’t do drugs anymore without running the serious risk that This terrible Monster would take over.  I did A lot of soul searching, reflecting on my past, and reading while I was there.  I read and learned A lot about the psychology of addictive behavior and the biology of the addicted brain. I also read many books on spirituality, about living and coping with life in a way that many “normal” un-addicted people learn just through the natural process of growing up.  I didn’t allow myself to have that luxury so I had to go to prison and read about it.  But I’m glad I did.  I’m grateful for the time I had to work on myself.  But many people aren’t given this opportunity.  Some are stuck and don’t even know it.  Some know and don’t know how to go about changing it.  Change is a difficult thing, especially when your brain is being run by an outside entity. Addiction literally hijacks the brain!

My effort is to bring awareness to the fact that we need to focus more on prevention, education and treatment of this problem, and stop sweeping the problem under the proverbial rug (prison)!  Lets do a better job at teaching our children about this disease and its ramifications so that they do not need to go down this road in the first place.  It's A lot harder to treat than it is to educate and prevent.  Treatment CAN work, but there needs to be places to go.  I have been in the emergency room with addiction related problems more than once, and they could not help me.  There was just nowhere for them to send me!  This to me is very sad!!!
Please share your stories.  Even if you are not an addict, chances are you know someone who is dealing with this problem. A loved one a friend?  Many people have been affected in one way or another by this disease and it needs to be dealt with differently!  People shouldn’t have to live in misery for years on end!  Families shouldn’t have to suffer and watch while their loved ones destroy their lives or end up dead!

Please Help and share what you can.  I hope you will pass this along.  There is power in numbers and it is my hope that we can all work together to help initiate some sort of positive change!


  1. I agree. Something needs to change! Building more prisons is not a solution to this growing problem. I am glad to see someone taking this problem seriously! Kudos to you!

    1. Thank You for your support. This is just a start. Hopefully I can come up with a way to reach more people. Its a work in progress.

  2. I had a family member struggle with addiction for years and he could never get the help he needed. He really wanted help too. He wanted to stop, he really did. He just couldn't find anywhere to take him. He had insurance and there were just no places with a bed during those times he was willing. Those periods of time where someone is willing to go into treatment can be short. There needs to be places for them to go for help. He ended up leaving the state and now he is serving time in another state because of drug related offenses. Very hard thing knowing that he could have possibly been reached if there was help available.

    1. I feel your pain. I had many missed opportunities for Recovery that were lost due to this very problem. My prayers are with you and your family and I hope that he is able to surrender while he is incarcerated. Surrender is key. Learning new way of approaching life is the next part of the solution. Thank You for sharing.

  3. As an emergency nurse I have encountered several patients who suffer from addiction! Many who are searching for help, requiring resources that we can not offer! The only resource I have to offer is a crisis evaluation! Which can take 6-8 hours or days! In the end, patients are often discharged home. Only to return again and again.... We need resources for these patients!
    The government needs to stop taking away our resources and treatment centers! JAIL IS NOT A RESOURCE!!! We need treatment centers, proper education and support!
    It so frustrating as a nurse when you care for a patient who is at a breaking point, ready to surrender, perfect opportunity to offer assistance and I have nothing to offer but my time!! And we lose our opportunity to support yet another person/family/ life!
    I am in hope that this blog will open doors for opportunity, be a voice for ever so needed change! You have my support!

    1. Thank you for posting this. My last experience at the ER was a nightmare. I could tell from the get-go they had nothing to offer me. I went in with a BAC of .291. I was basically held, with no medical intervention, until a ride could come get me nine hours later. No beds. I went home and detoxed on my own. I didn't die, which was my biggest fear. I was drinking 4 to 5 bottles of wine a day. Still sober 3 weeks later, but I'm pissed at where things stand under the LePage administration. He'd rather throw us in jail than treat the disease.

    2. Thank you very much for your comments. I agree but also think this problem spans way further than just Maine. The war on drugs has been going on for over 30 years and has cost billions. Clearly it's NOT working! It's time the approach to this problem is changed! Assistance, treatment, and education instead of ignorance and blame. If the demand goes down, so will the supply. As long as there are sick people with no means to get help the war on drugs will Never End!
      Thank you again for your input!

  4. Erika,
    Thank You very much for posting! Your comments show that this definitely IS a REAL problem. People that get turned away end up in one of 3 places: Jail, un-ending misery & despair, or dead. Glad somebody who is on the front lines and sees this problem in its rawest form could share. Much appreciated...

  5. You're off to a great start. You have my support, as you know. As we garner support, we also have to become active. We can all start with writing letters to editors, writing oped articles, writing to ALL or the politicians that represent us at every level of government and get them to put there issue in their platforms. We also have to surface, in other words the people we need to influence us need to know who we are and I know that can't be done by all but if using your identity isn't a risk, use it just don't identify yourself as a member of a 12 step program, if in fact you are.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I agree, more needs to be done and this problem needs to be brought to the attention of people who can make things happen! I appreciate your support.

  6. I'm so happy to see you making your inspiration into a reality! Slow and steady wins the race. Keep it going!

  7. Thank You. I hope I can reach someone who can help initiate change in a positive direction...


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