Monthly Archives: January 2014

Sunday Inspiration


The MagicImage Collection of Hollywood Memorabilia.

“Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!”

The Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz

Fighting the surge in K2 and synthetic pot: Knowledge is power

ParentPathway Expert Jon Daily shares this information about the surge in synthetic marijuana

Emergency rooms in Denver, Colorado reported a surge in visits related to synthetic marijuana in the late summer and early fall, according to the Los Angeles Times. Experts say similar patterns may emerge in other parts of the country.

Between August 24 and September 19, area emergency rooms saw 263 patients, mostly young men, with symptoms related to synthetic marijuana. Most patients were treated in the emergency room, but seven were admitted to intensive care units.

In a letter in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Andrew A. Monte of the University of Colorado School of Medicine writes synthetic marijuana appears to be growing more potent. “Although the effects of exposures to first-generation synthetic cannabinoids are largely benign, newer products have been associated with seizures, ischemic stroke and cardiac toxicity, possibly due to potency,” he wrote.

Synthetic marijuana is sold under names including K2, Spice and Black Mamba. It is made with dried herbs and spices that are sprayed with chemicals that induce a marijuana-type high when smoked, the article notes. The products are widely available, despite laws prohibiting them.

“These substances are not benign,” Monte said. “You can buy designer drugs of abuse at convenience stores and on the Internet. People may not realize how dangerous these drugs can be — up to 1,000 times stronger binding to cannabis receptors when compared to traditional marijuana.”

In September, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced they were investigating whether three deaths and 75 hospitalizations were caused by synthetic marijuana.

Short-term effects of using synthetic marijuana include loss of control, lack of pain response, increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating, uncontrolled/spastic body movements, elevated blood pressure, heart rate and palpitations.

K2-Spice Drug Testing Kits can be ordered for $5.00 each from Recovery Happens.

Calling Dr. Spock: How do you deal with a teen’s emerging substance use?

What do you do when you discover your teen has been using/abusing drugs or alcohol?  Do you start yelling and laying down the law in your home?  Speed dial a family counselor or spiritual advisor?   Call the police?  Or look the other way, cross your fingers and hope for the best?

I, for one, didn’t know what to do when we realized our child was living a secret life of drugs and alcohol.  I dialed a local recovery center but hung up when they asked the age of my child.  I confided in my sister but certainly didn’t reveal our dirty little secret to friends.  I sought help from a counselor only when my own life spiraled into despondency and paralysis.  I hit my personal bottom when my son hit his, and that prodded us both into seeking help.

For parents today, the road map to recovery is much clearer, thanks to a research based guide that was just released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The research-based Principles of Adolescent Substance Use Disorder Treatment outlines the critical elements in nipping adolescent substance use disorder in the bud.  For example, it is illuminating for me to read that “Adolescents can benefit from a drug abuse intervention even if they are not addicted to a drug….Parents and other adults should monitor young people and not underestimate the significance of what may appear as isolated instances of drug taking.” This issue had been a stumbling block for our family:  If our child was merely “experimenting,” was an intervention the answer?  Was our problem serious enough to call in the big guns and possibly drive away our child?  The way our child’s chemical dependency played out illustrates NIDA’s  guidance on this point.  We took action way too late in the game, our child became addicted while—or because—critical neural pathways were forming, and we lost precious years as a result.

“If I had known them what I know now” is the sad chorus sung by families of children who developed substance use disorder.  With this NIDA guidebook in hand, parents are now empowered with the wisdom to make smarter choices and protect our families.

Learning gratitude – Life Lessons from a difficult journey

A friend once asked me, ‘What has changed with you since going through this experience with a loved ones struggle with addiction?’ It is an interesting question because I can reel off quite of few quick thoughts, but as I think deeper about the question – it quiets me to reflect on the monumental overhaul that has taken place with me, my daughter, my family and even acquaintances in some ways. I have been humbled by this journey. I have learned so much about judgment and how incredibly unfair it is. When I hear of a situation that I may have judged in the past, I think different thoughts…I think about what the person may be going through or how hard it is or how I wish I could help in some way. I have also learned about compassion in the face of hurt and betrayal.

A person struggling with addiction does not want to steal, cheat and hurt the very ones that love them so dearly. They have a disease that robs their brain of logical thinking while active in the addiction, with the only cure to abstain and let the brain heal – this takes time, but it is possible. I’ve learned so many things that have changed me. I am grateful for the little things that happen in my daily life. I’m grateful when the day ends and my family is safe and healthy, I don’t fret about insignificant things that I may have in the past – they simply aren’t important. But of all the things I have learned, the ones I treasure the most are:

To love unconditionally – I may not like some things that happen, but I still love the people in my life regardless.
To be grateful for all things big or small that happen in my life – I know the darkness that can descend and I choose to be grateful now for each moment of light.

For Every Action There’s a Reaction – Learning to trust a loved one in recovery

It can be difficult to change behaviors that sometimes become a natural reaction. When my daughter was struggling with addiction I became very wary of anything she said or did. As things began to change with time and my daughter began to heal in her recovery, I often had to catch myself and how I was. In the past when certain situations would arise I would have to be very suspect of motives and underlying truths. But as my daughter was coming out of the fog of addiction, she was changing and growing. I would find myself second guessing or projecting past experiences on the current experiences unfairly.

It would start with a feeling of discomfort and I would realize that I was not being fair. At times I would even express this and apologize for not trusting her when she gave me no reason at the time to distrust. I always found it heartwarming that she would understand and say things like, ‘I know Mom, it is going to take time for me to prove myself to you and the rest of the family.’ This is true, but I can also be open and willing as time moves forward to avoid the same reactions as in the past. I realize that changes come with time and I will continue to do my part in moving forward.

Sunday Inspiration

“Maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we are capable of when we least expect it.”

Jodi Picoult

Ask the Expert: What do I do when I discover that my son has stolen my jewelry?

QUESTION:  My son, who is 18 year old, has been smoking pot for few years now. Lately we found out he has been experimenting with Percocet, possibly other drugs as well. He went through bad withdrawal over Christmas (we were away from home), said he is sorry, learned his lesson and will not use again. Last week I found out he stole all my valuable jewelry. When confronted, he admitted that he continues using Percocet; again said he was sorry, was crying, promised he won’t do it again.

I want to do the right thing, but I am torn between turning him in to the police (go to jail, have criminal record) and letting it go, knowing that most likely he will do it again. What is the best thing to do? Thanks.

 ANSWER FROM EXPERT BRADLEY DEHAVEN:  The best thing to do is to get him profession help ASAP! Addicts or those abusing drugs lie to survive.  When they are caught, they will admit only what you know.  Addicts don’t know they are addicted until they are. It is too late to “nip this in the bud” but it is not too late to get treatment for his drug abuse.  My preference (based on hundreds of interviews with addicts in recovery or not) is long term inpatient drug rehab.  Throw everything you can at this.  You will only find out the truth of how bad his drug abuse is AFTER successful treatment.  If you are thinking I am overreacting, (and I know you are) consider that I have dealt with thousands who are afflicted by addiction and what you have described is SPOT-ON addiction. People experimenting with drugs do not go through “bad withdrawals,” addicts do!  You have a blessing that your child is still communicating with you.  Use that dialog to get him into rehab NOW!  Where there is life, there is hope!!  I wish you all the best but please understand that you are ill prepared to deal with addiction.

If your son showed signs of any other disease, you would seek professional help, correct?

Bradley V. DeHaven
ANSWER FROM EXPERT JON DAILY:  Tell him the choice is  inpatient treatment, or you are calling the police to press charges. And follow through.

 Jon Daily, LCSW, CADCII

New year, new you for parents of addicts and alcoholics

There is never a better time to get healthier and stronger.   What does that mean if you are the parent of an addict or alcoholic?  How do you claim your power  to navigate in  that world of  disbelief, dismay and pain?  Here are some ways to forge ahead:

  • Learn everything you can about the brain disease of chemical dependency so you can begin to make sense of the insanity. Our book list is a good place to start.
  • Find support.  There are Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Family Groups in many cities and online. Also, consider family or personal counseling to help you process the trauma that addiction heaps on the entire family.
  • Attend an open AA meeting to hear firsthand from those who are embracing their recovery.  You don’t have to be an alcoholic or addict to attend an “open” meeting; you just have to love one.
  • Talk with your close family members so everyone is on the same page about the disease.  Secrets and sickness fester in dark corners. And having a united approach to recovery (“circling the wagons”) is critical to helping your loved one understand that recovery is the key to admission in your life.  Give your child a reason to change, and stick with it.
  • Try to understand that there is no more shame in a chemically dependent child than a child with diabetes or cancer.
  • Take care of yourself.  Anxiety and stress can make you sick, too.  Eat nourishing foods and read The Mood Cure to understand the role that nutrition plays in your family’s health.
  • Express your feelings in a healthy and constructive way. such as exercise or support groups.  Bottled-up anger makes you sick.
  • Love the addict, hate the addiction. Let your child know that you love him or her , even though you hate his or her addict choices and behaviors.
  • Hold on to hope, one minute or one hour or one day at a time. Never lose faith that your child can join the ranks of the  twenty-three million Americans in long-term recovery.

Sunday Inspiration

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

Henri Nouwen

Staying in your Hula Hoop—the co-dependency antidote!

Patty Ingram is an Addiction Counselor whose early career began in pharmaceutical sales. Her clinical background and degree in Psychology formed her unique ability to relate with compassion in helping others.  From narcotic addiction, pain management to education on how drugs affect our minds, bodies and lives, Patty also serves as a Parent Pathway Expert.  Please feel free to ask Patty or our other experts any question you might have about chemical dependency or your role in relation to someone with a drug abuse problem.

Ever find yourself stressing about a friend’s bad relationship…or your parent’s finances? How about if your college-age son is eating enough, or a co-worker’s ability to juggle her schedule? These are Hula-Hoop moments.

Your own personal area of responsibility is your Hula Hoop. It contains your goals, actions, emotions, obligations and commitments. One of the best tools to learn in life is the ability to determine what belongs in your Hula Hoop, and what actually belongs in someone else’s! This mental picture of a Hoop is useful for ourselves, and for setting boundaries with others. When worries like those listed above enter our minds, we need to remember, “that’s not my Hula Hoop” and be able to put those worries and dramas aside. Pray for those individuals, hope for the best, but let it go.

Perhaps you have a mother-in-law calling you with parenting advice; or a spouse telling you the best way to fold the laundry. Guess what?…That’s not their Hula Hoop! It becomes very clear when we use this image that we must protect what is ours, and give to others what is theirs. There are opportunities all the time to politely advise others to get out of our Hoop, and simply re-focus their attention on their own.

Imagine the ways to use this tool. We have so many people trying to manage us- in relationships, at work, and in families. Our ability to set appropriate boundaries provides peace of mind for all involved.

The Hula Hoop is a very simple way to put the brakes on co-dependency- our own, or someone else’s. We cannot solve everyone’s problems, and most of the time, the energy we expend trying is wasted. Analyze those swirling thoughts in your head as you try to fall asleep at night: how many are REALLY in your Hula Hoop? If not, mentally place them in the right hoop, and focus on what is yours.

When that intrusive advice or criticism comes your way, remind yourself (and if possible, the advisor) that this is an attempt to get in your Hoop. Protect your Hoop at all costs! It’s yours, and only yours.

We all have plenty to fill our Hoops. By remembering that our focus belongs there and there only- and that no one else is allowed, we give ourselves a gift: Peace.