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The Best of Times…The Worst of Times.

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The Best of Times…The Worst of Times. It takes a family.

Best-of-times
“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times.”

~ Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

For families who have to endure the holidays with a loved one stuck in a cycle of addiction, this time of the year, meant to be the most joyous for families–can be dreaded for some.

Joe Herzanek, Author, Family Addiction Counselor and Speaker

Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas and New Year’s Day are just ahead. I like getting close to the end of the year and doing a bit of reflection. It’s also nice to do some planning for the coming year.

Sadly this is not the case for everyone; especially those families who have to endure the holidays with a loved one stuck in a cycle of addiction. The time of the year that is meant to be the most joyous for families can be dreaded for some.

In her excellent book, “It Takes A Family” Debra Jay talks about the challenges families face—not just during holidays, but year-round and how it literally changes those close to the addict. In many cases this has become a vicious cycle, year after year. So how does this impact the moms, dads, siblings, friends and/or spouses?

In chapter 10 (“Families Pay a High Price”) of her book “It Takes A Family”, Debra states:

“Chronic stress changes our brains. It causes disease. There is a great deal of truth in the statement, “I’m worried sick.” Short-lived stress doesn’t hurt us. But stress reaches a point when it can become toxic. Since emotions impact every cell in the body, when stress persists over time we are set on a course for declining health and even premature aging.”

Amen to all that! Over time, we (at Changing Lives Foundation) have come to expect that the phone-ringing picks up the pace this time of year. The sad reality is, at a time when family relationships and moments with loved ones is so important—for some families, these holidays just get more painful.

Later in this same above-quoted chapter Debra writes,

“Every structure in our brains is influenced by what is happening in our surroundings. If our family environment isn’t healthy, it’s likely our brain isn’t either. According to Elizabeth Gould, PhD, of Princeton University, chronic stress causes our brain to starve.”

The good news is (and yes there is GOOD NEWS for families) it just doesn’t have to be this way. If the family members will look for helpful resources and attend groups that will support them, they can learn to enjoy (to some degree) these special times—whether the addict participates or not! Much of this depends on a family member’s willingness to reach out and seek help. The same holds true for the person caught up in addiction. They too can make dramatic changes if they will seek the help they need.

There is much truth and wise counsel in Debra’s book and mine as well (It’s still a great question, “WHY Don’t They Just Quit?”).

For the substance abuser and their family, the help will start to come out of the “woodwork” if it’s sought.

Moms, dads, friends, siblings and spouses need to acknowledge and know that they didn’t cause the addiction, they can’t cure the addiction and they can’t control the addiction (the three C’s). No more guilt, no more “wouldas, couldas and shouldas.” If harsh words, bad parenting, single-parent homes, even genetics caused addiction we would be seeing A LOT more of it.

JoeJudyHouseMake some plans now to begin doing the right things in the coming new year AND to stop doing some or all of the wrong things. Plan to learn what works and unlearn or quit doing what will never work.

Grace and peace,
Joe and Judy Herzanek signature

 

Author/Chaplain Joe HerzanekTo arrange a workshop or presentation at your organization
call: 303.775.6493 or email: Jherzanek@gmail.com

More info about Speaking Engagements with Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek

RESOURCES:
> Phone Counseling for Family Members
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery." by Joe Herzanek
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery


 

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From “The Best of Times…The Worst of Times.”
to Changing Lives Foundation Blog Home

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The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, takes a family

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Monthly Review: Yes!!! I am an Addict’s Mom, Utah’s Heroin Problem, Meth House

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Monthly Review: Fall, 2014
Yes!!! I am an Addict’s Mom, Utah’s Heroin Problem, Former Meth House? and “Ask Joe” Fiance needs to get drunk every night.

Yes! I am an Addict's Mom.

Some recent posts for you to enjoy: Yes!!! I am an Addict’s Mom, Why Does Utah Have a Heroin Problem?, Is Your Home A Former Meth House? How to tell., Daily Drug Use in the USA, First-time Illicit Drug Users, plus a popular “Ask Joe” Fiance needs to get drunk every night.

Thanks for being part of Changing Lives Foundation.

Addict’s Mom
YES!!! I am an Addict’s Mom.

~ Written by one of the Moms online who has such wisdom to share with us all. Also posted to The Addict’s Mom website by TAM Blogger Judy Herzanek. Comments included: “Could have been written by me” “Beautifully written!” “I can totally relate.”

I am an addict’s mom
I stand before you able to state without hesitation that Yes, I am an addicts mom. I have learned to look past those judgmental stares, sensing what you are thinking, that I must be “one of those Moms.” That somewhere, somehow, I made some horrific choices that sent my child into the depths of hell. READ MORE
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________


Utah’s Heroin Problem
Why Does Utah Have a Heroin Problem?

Why Does Utah Have a Heroin Problem?

~Guest post by C. Zavala

Sixty percent of Utahns are members of The Church of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, which discourages its members from using alcohol or drugs at all. Many Mormons even eschew caffeine, due to their religion’s insistence on avoiding harmful substances. With those kinds of statistics, you might think that addiction in general – and heroin addiction specifically,  wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar in Utah. READ MORE

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Former Meth House?
Is Your Home A Former Meth House? How to tell.

Is Your Home A Former Meth House? How to tell.


How to identify a Meth Lab before you move in.
Meth isn’t only dangerous to the consumer; it’s also dangerous to the future occupants of the home where it was consumed, or even more, where it was cooked. READ MORE

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ask Joe
“Fiance needs to get drunk every night”

Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek

Q: “I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in fiance’s need to get drunk every night”

Dear Joe,
I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in fiance’s need to get drunk every night. I’m not comfortable with it.

He says I need counseling to just deal with it because. . . READ MORE

____________________________________________________________

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. . . a Colorado Non-Profit Organization

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> FREE NEWSLETTER:
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> JOIN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP (now over 2,259 members):
This was sent to us recently by one of our wonderful Facebook Private Group members: “I feel I need the support of others that can relate to how I’m feeling. I’m unable to attend face to face meetings. Therefore groups, like Changing Lives has literally been a lifeline for me. Your group is the first I go to every day. I believe this was the first group I joined on Facebook. Thank you! My life has forever changed…for the better!” Please consider joining us. Ask to join and a group member will sign you in!

RESOURCES:
> Phone Counseling for Family Members
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery." by Joe Herzanek
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

> Paperback
> Kindle
> Audio Book CD (6 hrs. 54 min.) (LISTEN TO SAMPLE)
> Audio Book Download

RETURN:
From “Monthly Review: Yes!!! I am an Addict’s Mom, Utah’s Heroin Problem, Meth House”
to Changing Lives Foundation Blog Home

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Addict’s Mom, Utah’s Heroin Problem, Meth House

 

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Chaplaincy and Addiction

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Chaplaincy and Addiction

Wisconsin Chaplaincy Convention, Green Lake, Wisconsin

Chaplaincy and Addiction: What’s a Chaplain to do?

In October, 2014, Chaplain Joe Herzanek (Changing Lives Foundation, Loveland, CO) was a featured speaker at the annual Wisconsin Chaplaincy Conference in beautiful Green Lake, Wisconsin.

This year’s theme was “Drug/Alcohol Addiction” and we (Joe and Judy Herzanek) were honored to spend 3 days at the beautiful Heidel House Resort, on Green Lake, WI.

Speaker Chaplain Joe delivered three presentations during the conference:
Chaplaincy and Addiction
> Addiction: Disease or Moral Failing?
> Addict with a crime problem or a criminal with an addiction problem?
> What’s a Chaplain to do?

Over three days much ground was covered on the topic of substance abuse and how it impacts the work of a Chaplain. Joe delivered three one hour presentations plus a roundtable discussion for a group of over 60 Chaplains, both men and women, who serve at various facilities in Wisconsin (from hospitals to jails to treatment centers and more).

All sessions were well-received and were very interactive.

“There have been many great presenters over the years, but none that can really hold the folks and engage them in conversation the way Joe was able to do . . . The reviews were overwhelmingly positive.” 

~Ned Wicker, Director and Chairman of The 2014 Wisconsin Chaplaincy Conference,
Lead Chaplain at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, Oconomowoc, WI

We would like to thank our friend Ned Wicker (Host: Recovery Now! Radio) for hosting the 2014 Wisconsin Chaplaincy Conference this year. It was wonderful getting to know such an interesting and diverse group of Chaplains from the state of Wisconsin.

Judy Herzanek, Ned Wicker, Joe Herzanek at the 2014 Wisconsin Chaplaincy Conference

Judy Herzanek, Ned Wicker, Joe Herzanek at the 2014 Wisconsin Chaplaincy Conference

Author/Chaplain Joe HerzanekTo arrange a workshop or presentation at your organization
call: 303.775.6493 or email: Jherzanek@gmail.com

More info about Speaking Engagements with Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek


CHANGING LIVES FOUNDATION FAMILY RESOURCES:
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery." by Joe Herzanek
Get the help you need today with Chaplain Joe’s
award-winning book:.

Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

> Paperback
> Kindle
> Audio Book CD (6 54 min.) (LISTEN TO SAMPLE)
> Audio Book (6 54 min.) Download


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Chaplaincy and Addiction, Speaker Joe Herzanek, Chaplaincy and Addiction

 

 

 

 

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OxyContin vs. Heroin.

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OxyContin vs. Heroin:
“Substance abuse is like a balloon:
If you press in one spot, it bulges in another.”

OxyContin_Vs_Heroin

Changing Lives is sadly all-too-aware of the huge increase in our kids using, becoming addicted to and dying from Heroin use. This “once taboo” drug has become commonplace among suburban teens—your kids, neighbors and friends. Here’s one reason why.

This post reprinted from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
A new study finds that OxyContin abuse has decreased now that the painkiller has been reformulated to make it more difficult to misuse. Many people who abused the drug have switched to heroin, the researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

OxyContin vs. Heroin
The study included more than 2,500 people who were dependent on opioids, who were followed between July 2009 and March 2012. During that time, there was a 17 percent decrease in OxyContin abuse. In 2010, the company that makes OxyContin introduced a new version of the drug that is more difficult to inhale or inject.

During the same period, heroin abuse doubled, ABC News reports.

“I think the message we have to take away from this is that there are both anticipated consequences and unanticipated consequences to these new formulas,” lead researcher Theodore Cicero of Washington University in St. Louis said. “Substance abuse is like a balloon: If you press in one spot, it bulges in another.”

OxyContin users switching to Heroin
The study found almost one-fourth of participants were able to abuse OxyContin despite the reformulation, and 66 percent switched to heroin. The article notes that a small bag of heroin can cost as little as $5, compared with an 80-milligram dose of OxyContin, which can cost up to $80 on the street.

“Our data show that an abuse-deterrent formulation successfully reduced abuse of a specific drug but also generated an unanticipated outcome: replacement of the abuse-deterrent formulation with alternative opioid medications and heroin, a drug that may pose a much greater overall risk to public health than OxyContin,” the researchers wrote. “Thus, abuse-deterrent formulations may not be the ‘magic bullets’ that many hoped they would be in solving the growing problem of opioid abuse.”

RELATED:
> Suburban Teens Hooked on Drugs
> Addiction to Prescription Medications
> Monthly Review: Addicted Child, Suburban Teens Hooked on Drugs, Siblings
> Heroin Abuse and Addiction
> Addiction to Prescription Medications



RESOURCES:
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery." by Joe Herzanek
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

> Paperback
> Kindle
> Audio Book CD (6 54 min.) (LISTEN TO SAMPLE)
> Audible Audio (6 54 min.) Download


FREE NEWSLETTER:

RETURN:
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Utah Heroin, Utah Opiate, Opiate Addicts, Utah Heroin, Utah Opiate, Opiate Addicts
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Surviving Holidays with Dysfunctional Family

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Surviving Holidays with Dysfunctional Family
This article “10 Tips for Surviving Holidays
with the Dysfunctional Family”

is one of our favorite articles. It never grows old!

~By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Holiday gathering? Do some pre-event strategizing
For some families, holidays are just another excuse to get together to eat good food and to have a good time. They’re not looking for articles like this one because they’ve somehow figured out the formula for successful family togetherness with minimum stress. If you have a challenging family, it’s only human to be a bit incredulous and then more than a bit jealous to see other folks living out the holiday fantasy when you’re just trying to live through it.

Just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a lifetime of holiday gatherings where you just grin and go to your happy place until, thank goodness, it’s over! You can make a difference. You may even be able to start to enjoy your personal dysfunctional crowd. With a little planning and some social engineering, you can take control of the situation and make this holiday feel better.

First, make an honest appraisal of the family. It’s not new information that your mother doesn’t like your sister’s husband or your grandmother is going to want attention for her latest ache and pain. It’s not news to anyone that so-and-so has to be the center of attention or so-and-so somehow gets her feelings hurt every year. Instead of denying these realities, plan for them. (You get extra credit if you can find a way to have a sense of humor about them too.) Then consider using the following tips to begin to avoid at least some of the usual family drama.


1. Line up some co-conspirators. Chances are you’re not the only one who is irked by your family’s dysfunctional routines. Figure out who you can call on to help make things different. Then do some pre-event strategizing. Agree to tag-team each other with the folks you all find particularly difficult. Set up a signal you’ll use to call in a replacement. Brainstorm ways to steer a certain individual’s most tiresome and troublesome antics in a different direction.

2. Ask your co-conspirators to brainstorm ways to give challenging relatives an assignment: Is someone always critical of the menu? Ask her if she would please bring that complicated dish that is her trademark so she’ll have a place to shine. Is there a teenager who mopes about, bringing everyone down? Maybe offer to pay him to entertain the younger set for a couple hours after dinner so the adults can talk.

3. Invite “buffers. Most people’s manners improve when outsiders enter the scene. If you can count on your family to put their best feet forward for company, invite some. (If not, don’t.) There are always people who would love a place to go on holidays. Think about elderly people in your church or community whose grown children live far away, or divorced friends whose kids are with the other parent this year, or foreign exchange students from your local high school or college.

4. Nowhere is it written that there shall be alcohol whenever a family gets together.
If there are problem drinkers in the family, let everyone know ahead of time that you are holding an alcohol-free party. Serve sparkling cider and an interesting non-alcoholic punch. People in your family who can’t stand being at a gathering without an alcoholic haze will probably leave early or decline the invitation. Everyone else will be spared another holiday ruined by someone’s inability to handle their drinking.

5. Take charge of seating. Have some of the younger kids make place cards and assign seats. Folks are less likely to switch places when admiring kids’ handiwork. Put people who rub each other the wrong way at opposite ends of the table. Seat the most troublesome person right next to you or one of your co-conspirators so that you can head off unfortunate conversation topics as soon as they start.


6. Guide the conversation. If your family doesn’t seem to know how to talk without getting into arguments or if you’re not the most socially adept person yourself, give yourself some help by introducing The Conversation Game (see below). Announce at the beginning of the meal that you want to use the gathering as a time to get to know each other better. Ask everyone to indulge you by playing the game for at least part of the meal. Hopefully, people will like this change in family dynamics enough to want to keep it going.

7. Give kids a way to be included. Then set them free. Kids are simply not going to enjoy being trapped at a table with adults (especially dysfunctional adults) for extended periods of time. They get restless. They get whiny. They slump in their chairs. Yes, they should be expected to behave with at least a minimum of decorum during the meal but head off complaints and tantrums by planning something for them to do while the adults linger at the table. Have the materials for a simple craft project set up and ready to go. Remember that teenager in #4? Perhaps this is when she plays a game outside with the younger kids while older ones watch a movie.

8. No willing teens? Set up a childcare schedule ahead of time so the adults spell each other. Auntie oversees a kid project while the rest of the adults finish their meal. Uncle takes the kids out to run around between dinner and desert. Plan ahead to share the load and nobody feels martyred and everybody has a better time.

9. Provide escape routes. Togetherness is not for everyone. Make sure there are ways for the shyer or more intimidated to get away from the crowd. If most people will be watching football, set up a movie in another room for those who want out. Ask for help in the kitchen to give the overwhelmed person a graceful way to withdraw from the bore who is boring her. Set up a jigsaw puzzle on a card table in a corner so that people who don’t want to be part of the conversation have a way to occupy themselves and still be part of the party. Arrange with one of your co-conspirators to suggest a before, or after-dinner walk for people who need a breather.

10. After everyone leaves, reward yourself. Sink into your favorite chair and give yourself credit (and an extra piece of pie?) for trying to make a difference. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to make significant change in the habits and attitudes of a dysfunctional family. Any small step in the right direction is something to be thankful for. Good for you!

The Conversation Game

This is a game the entire family can play. Make up a stack of cards with discussion starters on them. Brainstorm “starters” that will make people reminisce or laugh. Make sure to include cards that appeal to all ages. Some ideas are listed below.

To play the game, ask the person to your right to pick a card and read it. Each person at the table gets to answer. It’s fine for someone to “pass” if they don’t have something to say. After everyone has had a turn to respond, the deck gets passed to the next person to choose a card. And so on.

Sample starters:

• What song brings up the happiest memories for you?
• If you were a car, what kind would you be?
• If you were given a thousand dollars with the rule that you couldn’t spend it on yourself, what would you do with it?
• What was the best day of your life so far?
• If you could change places with a celebrity, who would it be and why?
• If you could go to a fancy restaurant and price were no object, where would you go and what would you order?
• What is the best way to cheer you up when you’re down?
• What is the one thing you’ve done in your life that you are proudest of?
• What was your favorite childhood game or toy? (For kids, what is it now?)
• If you formed a band, what would you name it? What kind of music would you play?
• If you had the choice of a day: Would you rather choose a day 10 years ago or a day 10 years from now?
• If you could have 1 superpower, what would it be?
• If you could live somewhere else for a year, where would you go?
• If you knew you were going to spend a year in a science station in Antarctica, what 3 things would you most want to take with you to do when you weren’t working?
• What do you think is the secret to staying young at heart?
• When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Do you remember why? (For kids: What do you think you’d like to be and why?)
• What bargain would you love to find on eBay or at a garage sale?
• What do you really, really hope someone will invent soon?
• If someone gave you a gift certificate for a tattoo, what would you get and where would you put it?
• Which would you rather be: A famous athlete, a great singer, or an important politician?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT CHANGING LIVES FOUNDATION!
Changing Lives Foundation Logo

 

RELATED ARTICLES:
Siblings: The Forgotten Ones, by Joe Herzanek
Dysfunctional Families, Validating Their Children

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Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery." by Joe Herzanek

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This was sent to us recently by one of our wonderful Facebook Private Group members: “I feel I need the support of others that can relate to how I’m feeling. I’m unable to attend face to face meetings. Therefore groups, like Changing Lives has literally been a lifeline for me. Your group is the first I go to every day. I believe this was the first group I joined on Facebook. Thank you! My life has forever changed…for the better!”

Please consider joining us. Ask to join and a group member will sign you in!

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Dysfunctional Family Dysfunctional Family

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