What’s Your Name?

We usually go by one name. God has 17 names in Hebrew. Whether you are familiar with them or not, chances are, during your life with an addict (or as an addict in recovery) you will experience God in each of these roles. Your faith as you take this journey toward healing and recovery is so important. It’s a rough journey. You will need God’s strength. Sometimes just to get through the week, other times to get through the next hour. We’ve all gone through it. God has been our provider, is our healer, and will be our victor giving us victory at the end of the fight. He gives us peace as our shepherd as He guides us day by day. He is present. You just need to call on Him.


One woman was about to celebrate her tenth anniversary to her husband, an addict. But, as she thought of their future together and the next ten years, she couldn’t go on. She asked a friend to come and pray with her every week. They began reading the Bible and praying together. Hosea 2: 6-8 stood out. She and her friend prayed this fervently every week. After three weeks, God heard the prayer of these ladies and a late-night intervention took place. It wasn’t one done “by the books”; but, it was an intervention nonetheless. The wife woke the husband up who had passed out a couple of hours earlier and gave him an ultimatum. Either he gets help or she leaves with the kids. The addict agreed to get help.
Even though the addict consented to a rehab program, the battle wasn’t over yet. The wife still cried out to the Lord, asked friends to pray for her and with her, and spent time in prayer. Some days she struggled so much all she could do is cry, “Lord, help me!”. Jehovah-Nissi: My Victory Exodus 17:15. May God give you and your family victory as you go through this journey of addiction to recovery.

Just. One. More. Step.

When you climb Mount Everest, they say you burn 10,000 calories a day until you reach the summit; at the summit you will burn 20,000 calories a day. It typically takes two months to climb the mountain; however, the last mile will typically take around 12 hours. An entire day of climbing! It is a tough journey, one that needs a team to support you. You also need to pack correctly, carefully researching the supplies you need to bring. What does this have to do with addiction?

Climbing Mount Everest seems like an insurmountable task. Some days staying sober may seem 459420d1308838388-mountain-climbing-casio-pag-240-timex-ws-4-dscn0432impossible, too. But, amputees and a blind person have succeeded in climbing Mount Everest. You can succeed in recovery. Like the climbers, you will need a team and the right tools to support you in your journey. It will be a long and sometimes difficult journey.


An adult child of an addict, who also struggles with addiction, shared “When you have problems you go deeper into the addiction to escape the problems. The addiction increases those problems that the addiction causes that you are trying to escape. The problems become worse so you go deeper into the addiction to escape the problem. It’s a downward spiral. A hard battle.” So how do you motivate yourself to keep going on the road to recovery?


The problems and challenges of life don’t leave. We have to learn to cope with them in different ways. Staying in recovery will allow you to see your problems with a new perspective and be able to manage them.

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Boredom, Stress, Disappointment… How Can I Cope?

You’ve heard the phrase “It’s easier said than done.”, right?

Well, the simple answer is: find a purpose in life which will bring you joy and count your blessings every day.

Sounds simple, right? But, that’s so much easier said than done.

How do you find your purpose when you’ve been lost in the daily purpose of finding your next fix? If it’s been so long since you’ve had hobbies, try new things, go new places. There will be certain things you find that you enjoy. Maybe try a one-day volunteer project. This will allow you to meet new people and give back.

This will also help with the suggestion of counting your blessings because you can always hear a story of someone who’s had a tougher road than you.

You know, some days are hard; some days all you may be able to list are things like: I’m thankful I can see, hear, etc; I’m thankful I can walk; I’m thankful I have a place to live.

Whatever it is, be thankful.

Counting your blessings will get easier, and you’ll find the more you count them, the more you find. When a disappointment or setback strikes, you may fall back and find it more difficult. But, you will find strength if you forge ahead and keep trying.

Addicts tend to do is fall back into old habits when the going gets rough; don’t!

Stick with it.

Get support.

Hopefully, this includes professional support such as counseling or a 12-step program. Life happens; it happens to all of us. But, there are some basics we all lean on to cope. These are some of what we shared here.  All of us experience pain, disappointment, boredom, and stress. Life is fair and distributes that to all of us. We have a choice in how we handle the cards life has dealt us.



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He Said… She Said

You’ve heard it said that there are at least two versions of every story? Well, in an addict’s family, there may be more. But, there are at least two: his and his spouse.

He says his drinking doesn’t really affect anyone. After all, he goes out with the guys and has a few then comes home. He works hard every day. He deserves a break. The kids have food and clothes that he provides for them. And the one ballgame he missed wasn’t a playoff game; it’s T-ball after all. He’s a good man, providing a paycheck, playing catch with the kids. He even keeps the lawn mowed better than his neighbors! He takes the wife out to the movies every once a while. What more could she want?

She says the drinking affects the entire family. Sure, going out with the guys and having a drink is fine. He does work hard. But, why does he have to come home in a bad mood and yell at everyone? He yells at her because “the dinner’s cold” (and wasn’t what he wanted). They’ve had some form of hamburger 3 times this week. Why? Because he withdrew money to go to the bar and hamburger was on sale; it’s what she could afford. He yells at the kids to “pick up their toys and keep the noise down”. They scurry off to their rooms to play “out of the way”. They don’t even show their dad the picture they drew at school because he’ll ask why they didn’t color in the lines.

The kids become teenagers. They stay in their rooms texting friends. The wife stays in the kitchen cleaning. He sits on the couch watching TV. No one comes over to visit. After years of staying out of dad’s way there isn’t a deep bond. There is pain. The kids can’t wait to “grow up and move out” because they can’t stand their house.

Unfortunately, this scenario plays out in homes all across the country. The long-lasting effects are there. The pain, the hurt, the distance. Sometimes even a full house can feel lonely. And, it doesn’t usually stop there. Many times the effects carry on to the next generation.

Work: It Does a Body Good

They say “milk: it does a body good”; but, to an addict in recovery, work does a body good. Why? There are many reasons. Probably one of the most important ones is the daily sense of accomplishment. The addict feels like he is making progress.

Because addiction affects the family emotionally, socially, psychologically, physically, and financially there are many benefits to working while in recovery. Let’s discover some:

The addict affects those around him emotionally because of his tendency to bounce from anger to a melancholy isolation. This creates an emotional roller coaster for those around him. At work he is expected to communicate in a healthier way; therefore, he is practicing healthier communication patterns that creates less emotional fluctuation for him and those around him.

An addict tends to isolate himself socially, only choosing to be around those like him. Work allows the addict to interact with others outside of his normal circle. Interacting with others helps him feel less isolated, can help him feel more “normal”, provide the opportunity for a mentor and encouragement, and allow him to practice accepted social behaviors.

In recovery there can be a tendency to blame yourself more as you recognize the hurt you’ve created for others. Being active socially allows you a “normal” daily routine to take your mind off of blaming yourself and taking daily steps to reentering society, making progress, and holding yourself accountable for providing for your family to the best of your ability. These feelings are beneficial to your psychological health. Just a reason to get up in the morning can provide enough encouragement and motivation to allow for healing.

How can work help you physically unless you are a construction worker or perform other types of labor-intensive work? Before you even arrive at work, you are probably taking better care of yourself physically. You have brushed your hair and your teeth, you have showered, and you may have eaten breakfast. Before you were only thinking about that first drink (maybe after that first cup of coffee). These small steps are giant steps toward becoming physically healthy.

And last, but not least, you are becoming financially healthier in recovery. Do you remember when you first started smoking (insert your addiction here)? That one pack of cigarettes cost you $5 a day. Now you are smoking 3 packs a day ($15. I know, you are thinking that’s no big deal)! Over the course of a year you are spending a whopping $5475! The last time your wife mentioned taking the kids to (that favorite vacation spot, perhaps Disney) you replied that we don’t have the money. In addition, your health insurance went up…..again, you are taking more medication, your life insurance went up, and remember the last time you called into work sick? You took an unpaid absence because all your sick leave was used up. Having a job allows you to feel like you are contributing to the healing process for some of the financial stress your family has been under due to your addiction.
Work…it definitely does the recovering addict good! Take a small step forward today.

Addiction News: Meth head bones


Toxic Bones Of Meth Heads

Meth Dead Don’t Get Eaten

That’s what 17 year old Daniel Jeffrey Martin from Desert Vista High School heard from his mom one day while driving near a piece of the desert near his home town of Phoenix, Arizona. “Huh?” he asked. His mom, a forensic scientist (think: CSI), explained to him that when dead bodies are found in the desert by animals like coyotes, bobcats, and wolves, these scavengers will usually eat them—except for the bodies of methamphetamine users (proven by an autopsy).


In 2012, of the more than 22,000 deaths relating to pharmaceutical overdose, 72% involved opioid pain relievers.


For Whom the Bong TollsAddict


Regular Pot Smokers Have Shrunken Brains

According to a team of scientists marijuana users had “significantly less volume” to their orbitofrontal cortex, a region of the brain that is critical to how a person processes reward, motivation and addictive decisions. Researchers noted that the IQ of the marijuana-using group was significantly lower than that of the non-using group–not a finding of the study, but an incidental factor that might be indirectly linked to marijuana use.



Dr. Antonello Bonci Q & A: Lighting Up the Brain To Shut Down Cocaine Seeking

Dr. Antonello Bonci, Scientific Director of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program (IRP), talks about switching off animals’ compulsive cocaine seeking by optogenetically activating the prefrontal cortex, and the implications of this work for people.

To read the full article:



10/22/14 That a STAGGERING 90 PERCENT of all addictions start in the teen years?


8/25/14 Regarding legalizing Marijuana – The FDA has not reviewed ANY SAFETY or EFFECTIVENESS data on “medical marijuana” as required by law for it to be approved as a prescribed drug. Both the American Medical Assoc. and the American Psychiatric Assoc oppose it being approved. A study released in 2014 evaluated data in 6 states including California, that routinely performed toxicology tests on drivers involved in FATAL car crashes between 1999 and 2010. They found a 300% increase in marijuana in the drivers over a 10 yr. period and that these percentages were seen in the bodies of the 23,500 drivers who died in car crashes during this time. [HealthDay News, 2/14/14] So much for the erroneous and misleading statements now being made that marijuana doesn’t kill people. Today’s marijuana is at least 3 times more potent than it was just a generation ago. Apart from possible long term changes in the developing brain, there is the proven impact of short term memory loss and diminished motivation. The net effect can lead to declining academic performance and increased drop out rates.

8/19/14 Meditation Calms the Brain – Mindful mediation and zeroing in on your breathing for 20 minutes reduces anxiety by as much as 39 percent. Long term mindful meditation can improve cognitive processes that, in turn, can improve health outcomes. Christians may choose to pray and focus on God. We must understand that thoughts (anxiety) are fleeting but we must realize that the battle is won or lost in your head.

Finding help is hard. Did you know that Nationally there are 32.1 providers for every 1,000 individuals needing substance use disorders?

Addiction to drugs and alcohol affect millions of people and their families every year. Yet, they often go undiagnosed by healthcare professionals. This results in an estimated annual combined healthcare cost, lost productivity, and crime of $365 billion.

7/7/14 – “Nationally, there are 32.1 providers for every 1,000 individuals needing substance abuse help.”

 Did you know that drug overdose death rates in the U.S. have more than TRIPLED since 1990?

“Polypharmacy, or the use of multiple drugs at once, is the newest American epidemic; more than one in five U.S. citizens are using three or more prescription drugs, and more than one in 10 are using five or more,” said Jeffrey Galinkin, MD, chief medical officer of CU Toxicology and professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.


Since 1980, 3.3 million Americans — young and old, famous and not, rich and poor —  have died from an addiction (comparatively, 600,000 people have died of AIDS).  And millions more have lost their careers, hopes, homes, children, and families  to the disease.


47% of recovering addicts relapse within the first year after treatment begins and the possibility for recurrence is high: of those who relapse, 61% will relapse again. What triggers a relapse? How do these rates compare to other chronic illnesses? One of the persistent challenges of fighting addiction is the risk of relapse, or the full return to an addictive lifestyle after an attempt to quit. Addiction crosses all demographic borders, and it’s possible for anyone recovering from drug or alcohol addiction to relapse, but it’s also possible to never relapse during your recovery. Remember, relapse is a setback, not a failure.

Over a five-year period, 97% of opiate (not including heroin) and painkiller abusers will relapse at least once. Recovering crack, alcohol, and heroin addicts have similarly high rates of relapse over the course of five years, at 84%, 86%, and 87% respectively. The good news is, if you stay clean for more than five years, your chances of relapse drop dramatically.

Although the 5-year relapse rates by drug can be a little scary, the overall relapse rate for drug addiction of 40-60% is comparable to other chronic illnesses such as Hypertension, Type 1 Diabetes, and Asthma. Dual diagnosis and the presence of common triggers such as being in the presence of drugs/alcohol or others who are using can increase your likelihood to relapse.


A World of Second Chances

a_god_of_second_chances_mediumSecond chances in life are tough to come by. We all have one life to live, and while it is ours to do what we desire, we sometimes make mistakes or go down a path that can be destructive to ourselves and to the people we love. It can happen to anyone. For some, hitting rock bottom is precisely what a person needs to begin searching for that second start. Thankfully, there are institutions that have been built to provide just that: a supportive shelter for those who seek a new life.

Our year-long 12-step program provides housing for men who have taken the admirable step towards bettering themselves. Throughout the process, participants are required to find and maintain a full-time job. Fresh Start champions the process of “regeneration,” and their staff is committed to helping these men restart their lives from the inside out. In doing so, they aid in fixing the men’s health, financial woes, and personal relationships that might have suffered. Men are required to live on the premises for the full year, and if at any point they relapse, they are asked to leave. At Fresh Start Ministries, a commitment to the process is of the utmost importance.

The program is divided up into four phases. Phase 1 is all about drug and alcohol abuse, so clients are informed of the risks involved. Phase 2 is tailored to the client, and involve the construction of a recovery plan. Phase 3 advocates the use of religion to improve self and relations, and Phase 4 focuses on what happens after the client leaves, such as the steps they’ll need to take to maintain their new-found health.

The three major stages toward recovery that Fresh Start advocates are detoxification, rehabilitation, and confrontation. In detoxification, the body is cleansed of chemical substances. Then, in rehabilitation, the newly-clean body is maintained with good health habits, such as dietary changes and fitness. Finally, in the confrontation process, counselors at Fresh Start come face to face with clients and encourage them to see the toll their former life took on everything around them. Clients are forced to confront the people they hurt, and ask themselves what drove them to their addictions in the first place.

For men in need of a new beginning, of that second chance, we offer an excellent refuge. Our center provides a supportive and positive environment and grants these men an opportunity of a lifetime. In just one year’s time, clients can find a life more extraordinary, a chance no one should ever be denied.

Men, You Are Making a Difference: One Woman’s Story

man pressing a button on the screen over a white backgroundTwo young people met and fell in love. Every weekend they went out drinking and had a good time. When the wife became pregnant she thought the weekend binges would stop. After all, he should be focused on providing for his new family, she thought. He continued excessively drinking….for years. The kids continued to grow up and watch the anger and isolation of their parents. Finally, he admitted to being an alcoholic, went into treatment, and came out a new man. Life was finally going to be better! However, the angry outbursts, the criticism, the verbal abuse….none of that stopped. He was never wrong. She was never right. Does this sound familiar?

The family longs for happiness and security. The father knows it’s his fault while the family begins to wonder if they are the reason for his drinking. (The “big book” refers to the father as the addict. According to a Harvard study Addiction in Women men were twice as likely to be affected by addiction than women.) While struggling with substances the addict can be irritable, angry, violent and abusive, melancholy, or apathetic. Verbal and emotional abuse are just as damaging to the family’s health as physical abuse.

Finally, the children grow up. Carrying the emotional scars with them, they begin to abuse substances to mask their pain. Without help and intervention this pattern can carry on. The entire family suffers socially, psychologically, emotionally, and physically because of substance abuse. Men, you are making a difference. To generations. Is it the difference you want to make? We all have a choice between making a negative difference or a positive difference!

The “big book” from Alcoholics Anonymous quotes: “Cessation of drinking is but the first step away from a highly strained, abnormal condition. A doctor said to us, “Years of living with an alcoholic is almost sure to make a wife or child neurotic. The entire family is, to some extent, ill.”” It couldn’t be more aptly stated that alcoholism or addiction to any substance, for that matter, affect everyone around the addict. Men, You Are Making a Difference: One Woman’s Story (355 words)