Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting an Addicted Loved One into Treatment

Although I have only been doing interventions for the past eight years, with about an 18 month break in 2007-2008, I am still surprised how different each intervention is and how similar they all are.  I can never say "this was just like the intervention I did in _______".   Each intervention is as unique as each person and each family has their own dynamic.  But the goals of all interventions are the same - to get the addicted loved one to agree to some action - treatment, therapy, or program - to help address the addiction.  There are other goals that are almost as important:
  1. To unite the family together to show support and healing.
  2. To break through the walls of denial and delusion.
  3. To work together instead of on a 1:1 basis where the addicted loved one cannot manipulate, lie about another family member, or triangulate people.
  4. To help the addicted loved one face reality and the existence of a chemical-dependency problem.
  5. To give the addicted loved one and family members the information needed to accept help.
  6. To offer hope to the addicted loved one and the family and options for a happier, healthier life!!
There are many professional interventionists that charge various rates, but a good place to start is an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meeting.  It is important not to confuse Nar-Anon with Narcanon.  Narcanon is a drug and alcohol rehab treatment program run by the Church of Scientology. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Time takes time

TIME = Things I must Earn.  People suffering from addiction and mental health issues are really like people that have a really, really bad flu.  It affects their mood, their perception of reality, and their sense of what is important.  Because they are sick, they are preoccupied with themselves and obvious to others.  This is the nature of addiction - the perfect predator. 

Recovery takes time.  TIME is an acronym for "things I must earn." When I got sober, I so much yearned for my life back, my spouse, my career,  my home, my things...It has taken a long time.  I had to earn this life that I have today - your loved one will too.  Encourage, but for God's sake, let them do it.  It is a journey that should not be robbed from them.   What you can do is encourage, love, and pray for them.  But their time, like my time, I must earn myself.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Change at the rate of PAIN

I was not willing to change until the pain got too great.  When family and friends ask me to do an intervention on a family member, they want me to be the tough one while they keep insulating their loved one from the pain.  Why should they change if nothing is encouraging them to change.  Most people will change when presented with two options:

  1. The pain gets so great that they are willing to do anything to releave it. 
  2. The reward for the change is so good that it is better to change than to remain the same.
An intervention is simple the two motivations being used in various ways to get people to change from a self-destructive behavior to a self-affirming one.  However, often what is needed is pain and instead we give our family members love and understanding.  "I know you didn't mean to smash your car driving high for the third, no, fourth time this year, but mommy still loves you..." Great, no pain, no change.

My sponsor told me one thing that I will never forget "Why would you deny anyone, anyone, the pain that taught you so much."  It did.  It continues to teach me. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Running 13 races 13 miles long in 2013

Emmanuel Jal - International Hip Hop Artist and Peace Activitist
The first race I ever ran was a 5 K River City Run (11-01-2008) in my parent's winter home, DeBary, Florida.  I had never done one before, but I did it and it was really great when it was over.  So, I did a few more, and in December, 2008, I ran a 5 K race in Orlando with the OUC Half Marathon.  I saw people lining up and thought, "OMG, they are going to run 13 miles??? Are they crazy???" Then, in 2009, one year later, I ran that half marathon.  I couldn't beleive that I did it.  I did it. 

On January 10, 2010, I ran my first full marathon - the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Florida. I did not do well, but I finished. I never, never, never imagined I could run a full marathon, but I had two things - 1) a burning desire to do something noble after losing my career, my money, my life partner and my self-respect, and 2) I had the music of Emmanuel Jal on my iPod and when I listened to it, I could run for miles.

In February, 2010, I became Facebook friends with Emmanuel Jal and we would chat. He invited me to go to the Clinton Global Initiative in March, but the volcano in Iceland grounded Jal in London and he could not attend. Also, in February, I decided to run the Chicago Marathon which was going to take place on 10-10-10. That date will never come again until 2110. So, I decided to raise money for Emmanuel Jal's charity - GUA Africa. Gua means peace in Jal's home language, Nuer.

The following year, I decided to run 11 marathons, half and full, for GUA Africa. In 2012, I ran 12 full marathons. I thought I would stop after that, but I cannot give it up. It makes me feel so good about myself; it is one of the few things that doesreally make me happy and proud. 

Kids benefiting from GUA Africa, South Sudan

This year, I was running the St. Pete Beach Classic and I thought "I should run 13 halves because that would be 13 x 13.1 x 13 - 13 halves (13.1) in 2013 and try to raise moneyfor GUA Africa by getting 1000 or even 100 people to donate $13.00. So that is the goal...check out my website at

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Addiction and Shifts in Perception

One of the reasons that people need interventions from time to time to get help for their addictions or addictive behaviors is that the addiction almost always requires denial and delusion in order to allow the addictive and bizarre behavior to continue.  Much of the time an addict sees the idea of treatment as a horrible, torturous experience.  It is a matter of perception.  Once they get to treatment and are fully detoxed, they are so happy and can't imagine or even remember the hell they put their family and friends through to get them to treatment.
 Many non-addicts or normal people often have these distorted perceptions in daily matters.  They will see a situation as bad or unacceptable.  I was talking to several people this morning who were complaining that this was not good or that was not good...and my experience is that just because something is not good does not mean it's bad. Some of the worst things turned out to be blessings in disguise. I am not saying we need to go around loving situations which are difficult, unpleasant, challenging, frustrating, painful or infuriating, but perhaps we should wait and see what lessons we can gleam before we shut the door on possibilities. Difficult, I admit. But it is what I try to do.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

FEAR - Face Everything And Recover vs. Forget Everything And Run

It is said that "resentments" cause more people to drink and drug than anything else - "The number one offender." However, I am convinced that most people, including myself, react to their feelings of fear more than any other feeling.  There are 6 basic fears:

- The Fear of Poverty
- The Fear of Criticism
- The Fear of Ill Health
- The Fear of Loss of Love of Someone
- The Fear of Old Age
- The Fear of Death

What do you fear most?




Thursday, October 10, 2013

This past week, I was at the American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Meeting on the Committee for Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAPs) which help lawyers, judges, and law students with addiction and mental health issues. There I was forced to confront the most difficult pasts of my past minute-by-minute and day-by-day. I attended this conference because I have had two career goals for the past 7-8 years - 1) to be the best interventionist possible, and 2) to create a treatment program that really and truly effectively helps legal professionals address their addictions and find recovery.
This year I took Absolute Adventure Addiction Interventions full-time and have started a lawyer treatment program. But it is all difficult. Very difficult. But what truly remarkable challenges are not difficult.

I know we grow when we are outside our comfort zone, but when we fly without a's scary.

One of the reasons that intervention is so important and necessary is that our addictions are the most cunning predators, as a woman I heard today stated, "addiction is the perfect predator because it finds it's place in our brain that will allow it to take another chance at our soul."

The good news about recovery was found in the resiliency - not of the mind, nor of the body - but of the soul. The soul seems to be always under attack and is never destroyed. Thus, the entry point for recovery is not necessarily the mind or the body but through the spirit...through the soul.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sober Saturday Nights

Running season is beginning again.  This is the time that I remember most what I am doing with my own recovery and the miracle of my sobriety.  Tonight I am spending time with my parents.  They were there for me when I was at my worst.  Tomorrow I will get up at 5 am and run the length of New Smyrna Beach from Flagler Ave to the jetties and back - about 5 miles.  Then go surfing if there are waves or Stand Up Paddleboarding if there are not.  I am 51 years old and I will do these things as if I am 21 years old.  When I was 41 years old, I was drunk at this time on a Saturday night.  Not this Saturday night or any other for many years.  Sunday mornings feel really good.
I am so grateful to take part in this miracle - to be a miracle or a tragedy.  Miracle today, baby!!!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Krokodil - Scarier that anything yet!!!

11:00 a.m. EDT, September 28, 2013
A highly addictive drug whose name derives from the green, scaly sores that develop on users’ rotting flesh was reported to have found a toehold in the United States this week.  In Phoenix, physicians told toxicologists at the Banner Good Samaritan Poison Control Center that they spotted symptoms consistent with krokodil, an intravenous drug that is prevalent in Russia and Eastern European countries, according to a statement released to the Los Angeles Times.  Although toxicology reports have yet to confirm the presence of krokodil, reports in the media sounded the alarm, prompting fascination and speculation.
"The Most Horrifying Drug in the World Comes to the US," said Time magazine. Mother Jones minced no words: "Zombie Apocalypse Drug Reaches US: This Is Not a Joke."  The appeal of news about krokodil (pronounced "crocodile") stems partly from its dramatic consequences on the human body: The drug ravages the flesh, exposing the bones, destroying internal organs and leaving users vulnerable to infection. Users quickly develop abscesses and gangrene, and often amputation is the only way to protect a patient’s life.
Curiosity also stems partly from the do-it-yourself nature of the drug’s preparation.  According to New York’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, it can be made with ordinary ingredients, including paint thinner, codeine, iodine, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorus, gasoline and lighter fluid.   Krokodil is essentially a back-alley version of desomorphine, which was introduced in 1932 as a less addictive version of morphine.
But according to a study in the Journal of Addictive Diseases, desomorphine turned out more addictive and up to 10 times stronger than the drug it was meant to replace, so it was mostly discontinued. Switzerland produced the drug until the 1950s, and today, desomorphine is banned in Austria and Germany.  The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has been tracking use of krokodil abroad for at least two years, where the drug has surged in popularity, especially in Russia. Up to 1 million people in Russia are estimated to use krokodil, according to New York's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.
But has it reached the United States?
Absent any definitive proof that krokodil abuse has occurred, the DEA has -- so far -- labeled the Arizona cases anecdotal. Other reports of krokodil in the last two years in Alabama and Arkansas were never confirmed, agency spokesman Rusty Payne said.  “When I hear about about these things like krokodil, I’m skeptical,” Payne said. “I’m not believing it until I get a lab report.”  There’s still no evidence that it has entered the illicit drug market in the U.S., Payne said.  But toxicologists at the Arizona poison control center said they remain worried about krokodil usage, explaining that emerging drug habits are typically first seen by area physicians.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Fitness

Today, I am starting my fall fitness program - weight training and 5 mile run this morning.  No more junk food for a month, no more diet soda, or sugar.