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Daniel’s Story. A Mother’s Painful Lessons Learned.

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Painful Lessons Learned

“Real Stories, Real People”
excerpted from updated edition (pg. 297) of

Why Don’t They Just Quit?
Hope for families struggling with addiction.

Never give up hope.
I’ve been inspired over and over by the testimonies of those who have lived through the nightmare of addiction and managed to regain control of their lives. When you find yourself discouraged and ready to give up hope for someone you love, you may find these accounts to be the inspiration you need.

This story comes to us from a woman I recently helped coach through some very tough times. Little did I realize just how tough. I like to try to remember, “you never know just what someone might be going through . . .”

Although it was difficult for her to revisit these experiences, she did a superb job recounting the past and sharing her insights. But for the grace of God and her wise but painful decisions about how to handle Dan, she could so easily have had one more funeral to attend.  ~Joe Herzanek

Daniel’s Story:
A Mother’s Painful Lessons Learned

It is difficult to think back on the story of my son, Daniel, and his addiction.
It is hard to experience once again the pain of that time in my life. I do so that I may remember more clearly the lessons I have learned and perhaps help someone else who may be facing this destructive disease.

Although Daniel’s father and I divorced when Dan was seven, it was in Daniel’s early middle school years when my family started on his painful path of using. Perhaps Daniel’s use started because there was more friction between his parents, or his best friend moved away in 6th grade, or that in six months time Dan went from a little boy to looking like he was eighteen years old. It really doesn’t matter how it began, the truth is Dan used because he is
an addict.

My relationship with my son was very strong and loving throughout his young life, so when there started to be some tension and fighting, it seemed normal; it was important that he “break” from his strong ties with his mom to search out his identification as a young man. I still think that was a reasonable explanation initially but I held on to that explanation long after I knew in my heart it was more than that.



My son was an athlete who excelled at all team sports. He had gone through puberty early which gave him an advantage of size and coordination. He was unassuming and coachable; his teams were successful and his teammates looked up to him. For whatever reasons, he was attracted to the wrong crowd. He said kids his age were boring and since he looked older, he gravitated to older kids.

In eighth grade his behavior became erratic. He would get angry in a split second over little things and he started punching walls and breaking chairs. He got into some minor trouble at school and at the end of his eighth grade summer, he and a friend stole a car. He went through the diversion program and participated in a restorative justice program. It seemed he really understood that he needed to change his ways.

Daniel’s first year of high school had many successes in academics and sports. Socially, he still had friends his age but once again, the older crowd was becoming a big part of his life. Toward the end of his freshman year something changed and he started shutting me out of his life again. At the time I knew it was a red flag but could not convince his dad or his counselor that he was using.

Sophomore year was difficult. Dan would not speak to me, he lived full-time with his dad and was spiraling down. He was in therapy off and on with someone who was highly respected in the community and credible as an adolescent counselor. I kept insisting that I thought Daniel’s behavior was indicative of substance abuse, but no one agreed.

In February, Dan came to my house after school drunk with marks on his arms from hurting himself. He said he wanted to die. I called the police, Dan went to the ER and then was released to a psychiatric hospital. When he was to be dismissed, he said he would not do any outpatient care and his therapist recommended a wilderness program. I knew I couldn’t watch him 24-7 and I knew that is what he needed. He was there for two and a half months which gave me some hope and some sleep, but the program did not emphasize the disease of addiction. Dan had no 12-step skills, no understanding of his disease and the first weekend home he went to a party and came home totally smashed.

I don’t remember specifics of junior year. It was a fog of sleepless nights, days and nights of not knowing where he was or what he was doing or who he was with. Daniel’s dad was still in denial and refused to address the use issues. Most high school kids drink and get in trouble, right? “This is just normal high school stuff” was the response I would get from so many people. I knew it wasn’t; I knew Dan was one of those people who could not drink alcohol. I heard rumors about the people he was friends with and some of the criminal things they were doing. And I was torn about what I should do. I consulted many different therapists and was told there was nothing I could do. I called the police, I called a parole officer whose son struggled with the same issues, I talked to friends. It was the most frustrating, helpless, depressing time of my life. I would wake in the middle of the night in panic. Was my son dead somewhere? Was he lying passed out in the freezing cold? If I did something now, would I save his life? I would call his phone, not expecting him to pick up, but believing that it might wake him and keep him from dying. It was the most stressful and hopeless time of Daniel’s addiction for me. He ended up in the psychiatric hospital in February. Again, I asked the professionals if this could be a result of using and they said maybe, but they were looking at mental illness diagnoses.


In the summer after his junior year, my family experienced a tragedy. My oldest daughter’s husband was killed by an impaired driver. It was devastating to the whole family and a turning point for Dan and me. Dan, of course, stepped up his use. He started using hard drugs and dropped out of school. For me, I had to turn my attention to my daughter and granddaughter. It forced me to let go of Daniel’s use and abuse issues and give them to him to figure out. I still prayed that he would live and choose to live clean and sober but I stopped trying to make it happen. My response changed from “You have to stop doing this to yourself or you will die” to “I pray that you choose to live life clean and sober and let me know what I can do to help you.” I was consumed with grief over the loss of my son-in-law and with the need to help my daughter as a single parent. I had to prioritize my use of energy with a full-time job, my twenty-seven year old widowed daughter, my fatherless granddaughter, my fifteen year old daughter, and my using addict son. I just didn’t have the energy to continue worrying about him the same way I had been. I had to “let it go” and trust that he would figure it out.

Dan expressed survivor guilt after his brother-in-law was killed, thinking he was the one who messed up, he was the one who caused so much pain to the family and he was the one who deserved to die. He ended up in jail the summer after what should have been his graduation from high school. He had stolen a car again and was writing checks on his dad’s account. When he got out of jail he came to live with me amid promises of not using and following the terms of his probation. After a few months his use escalated to using heroin and he attended a 30 day treatment program in December. His sisters and I came to family week to support him in his recovery. We wanted to show him we cared, but we also were resentful that he was asking more of us. We hoped for the best for him this time, but we still saw signs that he didn’t take full responsibility.

Most importantly, during these family sessions I gained clarity about what my boundaries needed to be and made a commitment to hold to them. If I suspected that he was high, I would not ask him to confirm or deny it, I would ask him to leave. He could not live in my house if he was using. And I learned to trust my intuition regarding whether he was and I did not need someone else to agree with me. I had the confidence to believe that I knew my son and his behavior well enough to know when he was clean and when he was not. I also came to the realization that there was nothing I could have done to keep my son-in-law from being killed and there was nothing I could do to keep my son alive if he was determined to die.

A few weeks after he “graduated” from rehab, he started using again. I told him I loved him and he was not following the rules we established. He needed to leave. When I came home from work I began to realize that he had been coming in the house through different windows. He had done this in the past just to get in, but this time was different. This time, he was coming in to steal from me. He stole gold jewelry, tools, and musical instruments. I went to pawn shops in town and was able to track down some of the items and get the names of the young men who had pawned them for Dan. With this information, I filed a police report. Although it was difficult to do, I was certain that my son was begging me to do something drastic. He was out of control and could not stop himself. I was going to help him by keeping my boundaries.

The next time I talked with Dan I gave him a choice. He could admit himself into a detox unit and make a commitment to staying clean and sober or I was going to file charges against him for theft. He choose detox. He worked with his probation officer on some different living situations after he detoxed, but one required a year commitment and one was not an option because Dan was on probation. Joe coached me through this trying time. I had read Joe’s book and knew I needed to be clear about my boundaries and the consequences. When my son got out after 3 days of detoxing, once again, he got high. I told him to leave again. Joe had told me to tell Dan not to come back until after he was clean for 90 days. I told Dan that. Dan left the house and I broke down in tears.

The next day I called one of the counselors at the detox and told him that I kicked Dan out because he used. The counselor said good. I needed that support. I called Joe and asked if I should file charges, like I said I would. Joe reminded me that my son would not die of an overdose in jail. I needed that reminder. I needed the support of these recovery experts in order to do what I needed to do.

The next morning I went into the garage to let out the dog before I went to work. My son was sleeping there, huddled up next to the dog. It was one of the most heartbreaking sights for me. How could it have come to this? My once sweet, loving boy, now a heroin addict who is living like a dog? Again, I told him I loved him and the agreement we had was that if he used I would file charges. I told him that I would file charges after work. That afternoon I got a call from Daniel’s probation officer who said Dan had come and asked her to do something for him. He needed help. She called a Christian sober living home and Dan could come and live there, but needed to make a one year commitment. Dan agreed. I did not file charges that afternoon, but there is no doubt in my mind I would have. And I think there was no doubt in Daniel’s mind that day that I would have.

How could it have come to this?
My once sweet, loving boy,
now a heroin addict who is living like a dog?

The relief I felt for the next few weeks was unbelievable. I woke up in the morning after a full nigh’s sleep. I rested with the assurance that my son was in a safe and healthy place. The surrender that began when I turned my son’s addiction over to him ended with complete relief. I couldn’t talk with him the first month he was there and I was glad of that. I knew I could get hooked back in and I knew it would not be good for any of us.

I went to see him after about four weeks and he looked better than he had in the last year. My son looked like himself, talked to me with love and gentleness and wanted to stay where he was and be clean.

That was over twelve months ago and our relationship continues to rebuild. I learned well that he was not trustworthy and I’m not sure how long it will take for me to believe what he says. I have always believed in him and I still do. The lying, deceit, and stealing destroyed the foundation of our relationship. That is a reality of the using addict’s life. I imagine it will take as many years to rebuild my trust as he spent destroying my trust.

When I look back, it’s hard to say if I did the right thing or not all those years. I have come to believe that life is a process and I can only know what I know when I know it. I am grateful that Dan is where he is now and I relish each day of his sobriety. I pray that he chooses life each day and not the death that comes with using. Recovery is a marathon and he is in the first mile. I am clear that my role is to support and not enable, to have clear boundaries and to love him. Everything else is up to him.



I am grateful today not for the pain of these last few years of my life but for the lessons I have learned from dealing with that pain. Those lessons include learning to trust my intuition, learning to set and maintain clear boundaries with love and kindness, learning acceptance for what is, and trusting the judgment of people like Joe.

Addendum:
As of this posting, Dan remains clean and sober, working and living out-of-state with his father.

“Real Stories, Real People”
excerpted from updated edition (pg. 297) of
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
Hope for families struggling with addiction.

(click on title above to purchase)

NEED HELP NOW?
Drug Addiction Phone Counseling for Families Dealing with Substance Abuse

RELATED:
Siblings: The Forgotten Ones
Relapse. It Happens.
~by 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

If you found this story helpful please consider reading
Why Don’t they Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.”

Available at:
> Our website, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
> Amazon.com
> Changing Lives Amazon Storefront (buy new, from us for much less)

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
Updated and Revised


Amazon.com reviews:

Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you better understand those dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

I, like many people, have some knowledge of what drugs and addiction are, but are clueless on what the process of recovery entails. This book does a great job in what it would take to help a loved one, who is an addict and is willing to get clean and stay clean. It also gives one hope that your loved one will survive the nightmare they are living through with their family. ~CG

> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen to the book)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE NOW)

ASK JOE:
> Do you have to stop seeing all your old friends in order to recover?
> Is a relapse—failure?
>Should my husband “back off?”
> If someone can stop using drugs or alcohol for weeks at a time, they “aren’t an addict—correct?
>Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?
>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?
>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?
>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?

SELF TESTS:
> Self-Tests: Codependence
> Self-Tests: Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Sign up for our Free Changing Lives E-Newsletter!

RETURN:
From “Daniel’s Story. A Mother’s Painful Lessons Learned.” to Changing Lives Foundation Blog Home

________________________________________________________________________________
Mother’s Painful Lessons, Mother’s Painful Lessons, Mother’s Painful Lessons

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Do you have to believe in God to attend AA meetings?

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Ask Joe:

Q: Do you have to believe in God to attend AA meetings?

Believe in God

A: No.

There are mainly two different kinds of AA meetings, open and closed. An open meeting is for anyone who wants to attend. The closed meeting is only for people who believe they have an alcohol/drug dependency problem and have a desire to quit.

Neither of these meetings requires a belief in God.

The twelve steps refer to a higher power or God “as you understand him,” but during meetings and in AA literature, the mention of any particular religion is discouraged. In this way, anyone can attend without feeling pressure to join a particular religion, belief system, or church.




AA does believe that alcoholism/addiction is too powerful to overcome by self-will alone. The “higher power” or God referred to in the steps is benevolent, caring, loving, and wants to help men and women defeat their addictions. Often, men and women who do not believe in God, will simply use “The AA Group” as their higher power.

“AA does believe
that alcoholism/addiction is too powerful
to overcome by self-will alone.”

When I first started attending AA, I had no religious beliefs. All I had was a desire to quit using alcohol and drugs. Sometimes a person will not even have the desire.

It is during times like this that the Higher Power (God) comes into a person’s life—to do for a person, that which he cannot do alone.

 

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

Updated and Revised

 

This “Q & A with Joe” is excerpted from
Part 5 of the updated edition:

“Why Don’t They Just Quit?
Hope for families struggling with addiction.”

 

 




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

RELATED:
>12-Step Recovery and “Things of God.” A Perfect Match.
~by Joe Herzanek

If you found this article helpful please see our “Ask Joe” posts listed at the bottom and consider reading

Why Don’t they Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.”

Available at:
> Our website, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
> Amazon.com
> Changing Lives Amazon Storefront (buy new, from us for much less)

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
Updated and Revised Edition


Recent Amazon.com reviews:

Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you better understand those dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

I, like many people, have some knowledge of what drugs and addiction are, but are clueless on what the process of recovery entails. This book does a great job in what it would take to help a loved one, who is an addict and is willing to get clean and stay clean. It also gives one hope that your loved one will survive the nightmare they are living through with their family. ~CG

> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen to the book)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE NOW)



ASK JOE:
> Do you have to stop seeing all your old friends in order to recover?
> Is a relapse—failure?
>Should my husband “back off?”
> If someone can stop using drugs or alcohol for weeks at a time, they “aren’t an addict—correct?
>Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?
>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?
>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?
>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?

SELF TESTS:
> Self-Tests: Codependence
> Self-Tests: Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Sign up for our Free Changing Lives E-Newsletter!

RETURN:
From “Do you have to believe in God to attend AA meetings?” to Changing Lives Foundation Blog Home
___________________________________________________________________
Believe in God, AA meetings, AA, Believe in God, AA meetings, AA

 

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The Mosers: Aiming for Zero Left for the Medicine Cabinet

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Mosers Zero Left The Mosers Are Aiming for Zero Left for the Medicine Cabinet

Guest Post by: Joshua A. Siegel, MD 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2015. One of the victims of this crisis was Adam Moser, a 27-year-old New Hampshire native who overdosed on fentanyl. His addiction was so well-hidden that his parents, Jim and Jeanne Moser, didn’t even know about it until it was too late.

Unfortunately, Adam’s story isn’t a rare one. The opioid epidemic has wreaked havoc all over the country, with prescriptions accounting for nearly half of the overdoses in 2015. Most commonly, patients are prescribed opioids like Vicodin®, OxyContin® and Percocet® for pain management after surgery, but these can easily fall into the wrong hands without proper storage and disposal.

Studies have shown that most parents aren’t talking to their kids about the dangers of prescription medications. One of the Mosers’ biggest regrets is not having a conversation with their son about the dangers of opioids. “We used to keep our medicine in the kitchen,” said Jim. “And I thought, how did we miss that? Then I realized, we never absorbed that information ourselves because we just didn’t know.”

But Jim and Jeanne have taken action to prevent other parents from having the same regret. They’ve started the Zero Left for the Medicine Cabinet campaign, also known as Zero Left, to educate the public about the dangers of opioids and encourage the healthcare industry to inform patients of the proper ways to store and dispose of medications.

Statistically, 80% of heroin and fentanyl users begin their journey with prescription pills, just like Adam. Zero ZERO_LEFTLeft’s ultimate goal is to cut off this supply for people just like Adam.

The Zero Left campaign states, “Zero Left is not a uniquely pioneering initiative, but an initiative that highlights a few of the basic ways the healthcare industry can help with the current opioid crisis. In the end, it is about having zero pills left for the medicine cabinet.”

The healthcare industry is notorious for over-prescribing medication, which has encouraged the opioid epidemic to grow. A primary issue is the massive amount of pills that are first prescribed, which sets a pain level expectation for patients who might not even need to use prescription pills during their recovery. The Mosers’ efforts will also lead to the creation of useful materials for doctors to share with patients who are prescribed opioid medications. These materials will include information on the risks and side effects of the medications and how to safely store and dispose of pills. Healthcare professionals also need to take the time to talk to their patients before and after prescribing opioids. Simply asking “How many pills have you used so far?” in follow up appointments starts a conversation and helps inform patients about how they can correctly dispose of the pills they don’t need.

The Mosers are also encouraging healthcare facilities to distribute Deterra Drug Deactivation Systems for safe, proper pill disposal. Medication disposal displays will also soon be present at select hospitals and other designated take-back locations in New Hampshire, and the Mosers are hoping that these systems will eventually become staples in every healthcare facility.

When children understand the risks of prescription drug abuse, they are far less likely to develop dangerous habits. Jim and Jeanne hope the Zero Left campaign leads to more awareness for parents and children, and that physicians reconsider the amount and frequency in which they prescribe opioids.

Brochure Front

 

Click Here to download
your “Zero Left for the Medicine Cabinet” Brochure

(PDF file will save to your download folder)

 

 


Joshua A. Siegel, MD

Joshua A. Siegel, MD is an Orthopaedic Surgeon and is the Sports Medicine Director of Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics.

He is a founding member of Northeast Surgical Care, a multi-specialty ambulatory surgical center.

Dr. Siegel is also a US Olympic Committee team physician, a US ski team physician and covers USGA and PGA tour events. Dr. Siegel lives with his family in Exeter, NH.

 



RESOURCES:
> Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts.

> Addiction Recovery Resources for Families of Substance Abusers, Addicts and Alcoholics

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.



Why Don’t They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
~By Joe and Judy Herzanek

Updated Edition!
Contains 7 new chapters and info on: Heroin, Shame & Stigma, Harm Reduction, Marijuana, Synthetic Drugs, 12-Step Groups & The Church, and much more!

Amazon.com reviews:
As the mom of a child struggling with addiction,
and the author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction,’ my ‘go to’ book is still “Why Don’t They Just Quit? ~Sandy Swenson

Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you to better understand those who are dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

Available at:
> Our website, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
> Amazon.com
> Changing Lives Amazon Storefront (buy new, from us for much less)
> Audio Book CD (Listen to the book)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE)

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Intervention: Somebody . . . Stop Me!

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Intervention: Somebody . . . Stop Me! ~by Joe Herzanek (with Judy Herzanek)

Somebody Stop Me


“Somebody please stop me! My alcohol and drug use is killing me and I don’t want to stop. In fact, although I know my days are numbered, quitting is nowhere on my radar at all.”

In the movie, The Mask you see Jim Carrey famously saying “Somebody . . . Stop Me!” It was time for someone to remove my Mask; in my case that “somebody” was my Mother.

This post excerpted from Chapter 12 (None of Your Business. Should you intervene or not?) of the book: Why Don’t They JUST QUIT? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS
One of the myths I believed for a long time was that my substance use was my problem, and my problem alone. Leave me alone. If I wanted advice, I’d ask for it. But nothing was further from the truth. In the poker game “Texas Hold ’Em,” players will occasionally push their chips forward and say, “I’m all in.” Whether we like it or not, addiction affects the entire family. We’re “all in” and there is no option to not play. This is a problem that directly impacts everyone in the family. It affects some family members more than others, but no one gets to pass.



The scenario plays out differently depending on the relationships involved. Whether you are a spouse, mother, brother, uncle, or any other relation, there will be either a direct effect or some form of spillover to other members of the family. These problems are usually discussed among family members, and as a result, others start to share the stress and burdens.

This happens more with addiction than with many other problems. There are several reasons for this. One is obvious—we care about and love the people closest to us and we sometimes fear that our loved one will destroy himself. Another reason is the tremendous amount of shame and guilt that seems to be associated with alcoholism and addiction. Many people look at addiction as a mental health problem, which has its own stigma.

THE ROLE OF THE FAMILY
Because addiction never goes away, we often see a loved one with this problem relapse back to old behaviors. It is not unusual for this to happen several times before we see longer periods of abstinence and, ultimately, complete abstinence. When family and friends get their hopes up again and again, only to be repeatedly disappointed, it is extremely frustrating for them. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the heartache.

First, do not try to fix the situation on your own. Often, family members will blame themselves and will try to solve the problem alone. But family members are too close to the problem and sometimes too emotional to see things objectively, so getting some wise counsel will pay real dividends.

Do not try to fix the situation
on your own.”

Help doesn’t always have to be professional (meaning that one has to pay for the advice) or expensive. Many people know of others dealing with the same issues who can provide support and resources. Many churches now offer counseling for substance abuse and have staff who are trained for this ministry.

Al-Anon, (a support group just for family and friends of substance abusers and alcoholics) is a free resource and worth checking out. I also recommend attending a few “open AA” meetings. A friend or family member can learn a great deal about addictive thinking from listening to those in recovery tell their stories. Anyone can attend an open AA meeting. Just sit and listen.

Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed
.”

~ Proverbs 15:22

There are also many private counselors who invoice on a sliding scale. In addition, city and county governments usually have programs that are available at no cost. Addiction is a problem that requires using various means to bring about lasting change. Having these issues sorted out by an objective third party is well worth the time and effort. Often, family members will wait a long time, thinking that things will work out on their own. There is too much at stake to take this approach.

Sometimes doing the right thing will make you feel horrible. You can know that the positive results and good feelings will come much later. It has been said that there are three ways to deal with a problem—to do the right thing, the wrong thing, or nothing. The worst choice is to do nothing.

INTERVENTION
We’ve all done interventions at various times in our lives, whether we realize it or not. An intervention can be anything from telling a child to be careful on their bike and be sure to watch for cars, to asking someone to clean up their desk or office at work. For the addict, intervention will make all the difference.

We now see PSAs (Public Service Announcements) on television that tell us, Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. If you’ve ever suggested to someone that they were too drunk to drive, you know how awkward it can be. One of the rules I try to use for myself is this: If it’s the right thing to do, then I want to be sure to do it, and if it’s the wrong thing to do, I want to be sure to avoid it. This is not always easy to put into practice. Nonetheless, it is important, especially concerning the life of someone who may have a substance-use problem. Most likely, you will make mistakes from time to time. Family members can expect to go through great pain and long days of frustration, feeling helpless at times. To this day, I don’t know all that I put my family through.

“Joe’s years with drug problems were very sad. It was hard watching him tear down his body. I was afraid he would have a wreck and hurt himself or others. I was afraid he would get arrested and end up in jail. “I had talked to Joe about getting help. He said he wasn’t interested. He said, ‘I don’t want to go somewhere and have people come and visit and look at me like some kind of freak.’ I should have talked to him and explained that it wouldn’t be that way, but I really didn’t know how it would be. His Dad wanted him to go somewhere for help long before he went. We didn’t agree . . . should I make him go? This went on for several years.”
—Gladys Herzanek

When beginning the process of intervention, a conversation is a good place to start, but it may be perceived as confrontation, something most of us try to avoid. We may ask someone else to have that conversation with the person we’re concerned about. But there will be awkward moments no matter which option you choose. To start the process, you may choose to further analyze your family situation. Reading this book is a great start, and you may find the need to send it as a gift to someone in need. If these first, less-invasive attempts appear to have little or no effect, you then may want to consider seeking professional intervention help.

Professional intervention doesn’t necessarily have to look like what you may have seen on the A&E channel or other similar shows on TV, when a large group of family and friends confront and surprise the addict or alcoholic. There are times when this approach can be very effective, but there are other, lesser-known strategies that can work as well. Often professionals can do an intervention over the phone with the person that needs help. If you are considering an option like this, please do your homework. Get references, compare them, and compare costs. Prices can vary a great deal and so can effectiveness. The goal is to get the person to see the light and begin recovery.



My intervention was simple: I was given an ultimatum. One of the reasons it worked as well as it did was its timing. When my parents said to me that I either could “get treatment or get out,” it was a very low point in my life and my options were running out, as I had no other place to run but to family. I was living in my parents’ home at the time. Over the years, I would go from having plenty of money to no money at all. During the no money times, they would reluctantly let me move back in. My memory of this intervention/conversation is still vague to me today. I was so hung over, strung out, and worn out at the time.

“One evening Joe’s dad found some drugs, and he flushed them down the toilet. When Joe found out what his dad did, he was mad as hell. Joe confessed he was in big trouble now, and might even be killed, as he was supposed to deliver the drugs to someone. I think there was a lot of money involved. Joe was so high he fell off the stool he was sitting on.

“The next morning when Joe got up, I said I wanted to talk to him. I finally said, ‘Joe, I cannot watch you killing yourself anymore. I cannot give you any more money, and you can’t live here anymore. You have a daughter who I’m sure wants you to be there for her as she grows up . . . if you want help I’ll get help for you. It’s up to you. But if you choose to continue your life as it is, I don’t even want you to come around, ‘cause I don’t want to see you like you are.’ Looking back, I really didn’t know what would happen. I just prayed he’d make the right decision. . . . He did, thank God.”
—Gladys Herzanek

KEEP HOPE ALIVE
Some of you who are reading this book are worn out. You’ve already done all of these things—maybe more than once. You’ve seen brief periods when things were going well, things appeared to be working and life seemed to have turned a corner—only to come to a screeching halt, causing hurt and disappointment again and again. So what now? When do you give up hope?

The time to completely give up hope should never come. There is always hope. Hope, faith and prayer are powerful forces to hold onto. Continuing to be optimistic, regardless of how things appear, is the best outlook to have. Instead of completely giving up, ask yourself, When doI stop my well-intentioned efforts? When do I step back and quit trying to control this person? In some situations, there may come a time when you must pull back, and I mean pull back completely. This is difficult; but when you know it’s the right thing to do, you have to do it.

Do you love your child enough
to let him be mad at you?”

~Don Williams, Clearbrook Lodge, Shickshinny, PA

TOUGH LOVE
Over the years, I have seen families struggle to come to terms with this hands-off approach.
Remember this: Just because you have to step away does not mean that you stop loving and showing empathy for the person. Empathy is better when it is mixed with a little tough love. The consequences that come down on someone who is abusing alcohol and drugs may be their best teacher. If you’ve confronted the person you are concerned about a few times to no avail, and professionals are saying you need to let go, then you should listen. Others can look at the situation with objectivity. Allowing your loved one’s utilities to be turned off, or forcing them to sleep in the car (or jail) for a few nights, can often work wonders. Let your loved one know that you care about them, but stand your ground.

Every situation calls for discernment and a good understanding of the circumstances. There is, however, a time when intervention is crucial. In the case of someone who is going to harm himself or others, you need to turn the whole thing over to the correct authority. In reality, there are times when even you or the professionals cannot stop a user from harming himself or others. But these situations are extremely rare. I’m not saying that we should take threats lightly, but once you’ve done all you can do, it’s out of your hands. A large number of addicts will eventually make changes. To hope means that you believe the user in need of help will be on the road to recovery, sooner or later.

Let your loved one know that you care about them,
but stand your ground
.”

When actively using, the addict needs to see that he is powerless to control his use. At some point, family and friends need to understand that they also are powerless to make someone think the right thoughts and do the right things. However, being aware of some helpful ways to intervene can bring about peace of mind. To simply pray and wait is difficult. It feels as if you are doing nothing when you should be doing something. But don’t give up hope, and know that when you are waiting, praying and being patient you are doing something.

Let me give you one last word on intervention. Intervention by a family member, friend, or employer is the way that most people get into treatment. When I use the word treatment, I do not always mean a 28-day program where a person is required to leave home. Treatment can be different for different people. What I am referring to is seeking help, getting counseling, going to groups, outpatient treatment or attending 12-step meetings. If an addict thinks he can use just willpower to stop, it is not going to work. Some people can quit for a time on their own, but no one can recover all alone. It’s very rare for someone to just decide on their own that they need to enter a recovery program, or even to admit to their substance-abuse problem.

As a friend or family member, you may be the one to initially make the calls to a few treatment centers. A good place to start is to go online to www.naatp.org (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers). Once you find a resource you are interested in, you can speak with trained professionals who will suggest some strategies for you and provide you with names of people in your community who are equipped to help.

There are also a growing number of faith-based Christian treatment centers available. One of the objectives of experiencing rehab is to educate the client about the destructive behavior he is inflicting on himself. This is the start of both physical and spiritual recovery. If you keep “asking and seeking” you will find there are many resources and people who are happy to help.



Joe Herzanek, Author, Addiction Counselor and InterventionistIf you found this article “Intervention: Somebody . . . Stop Me!” helpful please see our “Ask Joe” posts listed at the bottom and consider reading “Why Don’t they Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.”

Available at:
> Our website, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
> Amazon.com
> Changing Lives Amazon Storefront (buy new, from us for much less)

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
Updated and Revised Edition

Recent Amazon.com reviews:
Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you to better understand those who are dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

I, like many people, have some knowledge of what drugs and addiction are, but are clueless on what the process of recovery entails. This book does a great job in what it would take to help a loved one, who is an addict and is willing to get clean and stay clean. It also gives one hope that your loved one will survive the nightmare they are living through with their family. ~CG

> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen to the book)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE NOW)

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I Drink Alone. Why is isolation a bad sign?

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I Drink Alone. Why is isolation a bad sign? ~by Joe Herzanek (with Judy Herzanek)

I Drink Alone Why is isolation a bad sign?

For many, isolation is one of the end results of addiction. What was once a fun and sociable part of life turns into quite the opposite experience. In the fun stage of alcohol or drug use, we often like to be around others—that is, others who like to get high. Substance use often begins with laughter, parties, and hanging out with a group of people. Some people stay in this stage of use, control their drinking, and later go on to lead a responsible life. Others, like me, continue to use more and more.
This post excerpted from Chapter 15 (I Drink Alone. Why is isolation a bad sign?) of the updated book: Why Don’t They JUST QUIT? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

Drinking Alone
One of the signs of addiction is that the person starts getting high alone. Drinking or using before going out partying is part of the addiction process—as is getting high at any time of the day or night. Drinking, taking pills, or smoking dope first thing in the morning may become the norm.

Why is this? The drug has now become the primary focus of their life.




At this stage, many addicts will become suspicious and paranoid. Straight people (nonusers) are more difficult for the addict to communicate with. They are potential roadblocks to the person’s ability to use. When I reached this point of dependency, I could count my remaining friends on one hand. And most were addicts, just like me.

Once the addiction becomes primary, a dependent person’s life is preoccupied with using. He spends valuable time and energy planning his day, to make sure he will be able to have access to his needed amount of drugs or alcohol. Substance use has overcome the person’s life and it is nearly impossible to hide it. I can remember having tinted glasses made because I didn’t want people to see my eyes.

Covering Up
Virtually everything in the person’s life can become secondary—friendships, family relationships, children, sex, jobs, personal hygiene, eating—you name it. At first the person may go out of their way to overcompensate. When they realize that this main focus of their lives is threatening other areas, in an attempt to have it all, they may try to maintain a perfect image to prove to those close to them that they don’t have a problem. The addict may stay late at work, have people over to dinner, keep a perfectly clean house, and in general try to portray an ideal image. At the same time, they are secretly trying to manage their addiction in isolation. This is referred to as “high functioning.”

. . . they are secretly trying to manage their addiction in isolation.
This is often referred to as “high functioning.”

As the addiction progresses, trying to prove that they are normal becomes more and more difficult, and eventually the addiction completely takes over. This explains why an addicted parent may eventually be forced to give up their child to a relative or social services. People who have lived through this staggering experience know that it’s not about love—these parents do love their spouses, family, and children—it’s about addiction. The addiction takes hold and consumes their very lives. This is very difficult for any family member or friend to understand, unless they have personally been through it.

This is the point I had reached when I walked out on my wife and seven-year-old daughter. Addiction had completely overtaken my life.

“Some things that happened I don’t remember. I guess I blocked them out, stuff like he was supposed to come for weekends and he wouldn’t show. [My mom told me] I would cry and cry… I don’t remember that.”
—Jami, my daughter

Our society seems to believe that it is far worse for a mother to leave her family, but in reality the situation is devastating either way. To add a note of hope, today Jami and my former wife are very close to me, my current wife, Judy, and our two children (Jake and Jess). Our relationships today are a tribute to the fact that dramatic changes are possible.

When to Intervene
When addiction overtakes a person’s life, and fun has become a distant memory, this is a good time for an effective intervention. When a user starts to lose things in their life that they truly used to care about, they may not know how to turn things around. They might feel helpless, and stop believing it’s possible to make life matter again. In this situation, the best thing for your addicted friend or loved one is to talk to someone who has been there. They will often say that they don’t want treatment. I’ve heard it said that “Treatment won’t work unless a person wants it.” Well, when I got to this point, I didn’t want it, but I was forced to go.

“It was at this point that my family stepped in. Looking back,
I realize now that their intervention saved my life.”

My life was in shambles. Nothing was working, and all I could think to do was to keep using. The reality of what I had become was too much for me to bear. Life seemed both hopeless and meaningless. Everything revolved around staying under the influence—anything that kept me from thinking. It was at this point that my family stepped in. Looking back, I realize now that their intervention saved my life. I had left my wife and child and was isolating myself—living in my parent’s basement. They recognized the danger and offered me the help I needed. Treatment was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was able to claim my life back, and no longer live in shame and isolation.

Joe Herzanek, Author, Addiction Counselor and Interventionist

 

If you found this article “I Drink Alone. Why is isolation a bad sign?” helpful please see our “Ask Joe” posts listed at the bottom and consider reading “Why Don’t they Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.”

Available at:
> Our website, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
> Amazon.com
> Changing Lives Amazon Storefront (buy new, from us for much less)

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
Updated and Revised Edition

Recent Amazon.com reviews:
Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you to better understand those who are dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

I, like many people, have some knowledge of what drugs and addiction are, but are clueless on what the process of recovery entails. This book does a great job in what it would take to help a loved one, who is an addict and is willing to get clean and stay clean. It also gives one hope that your loved one will survive the nightmare they are living through with their family. ~CG

> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen to the book)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE NOW)

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Monty’s Story: Eagle Scout, Pastor, Junkie, Overcomer

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Real People, Real Stories
Monty’s Amazing Story: Eagle Scout, Pastor, Junkie, Overcomer
~By Monty Meyer

Monty Meyer

Monty Meyer

Greetings Family and Friends! My name is Monty Meyer, I am a recovered alcoholic, and that is to say I have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body through a renewed spirit due to the power and grace of a loving God.

When I was in 8th grade I took my first drink of alcohol. It was a giant mug filled to the brim with Christian Brother’s brandy. I figured it was made by a bunch of Christian brothers so it couldn’t be all bad. Boy was I ever in for a surprise. Not only was it “not bad” (in my perception) but it was the glory land. I had discovered the magic elixir, the Holy Grail that would lead me to freedom from being picked on at school and feeling like the odd boy out. What alcohol would do for me in the next few years was nothing short of a miracle. What it would do to me from the very first drink was not known for many years to come. I had never even taken a sip of booze until that day, but I drank it down in one big swallow and then poured another mug and then another. I was on top of the world. For the next two hours I would find myself talking with my parents about the wonders of life and philosophies of man. I had become a genius. Keeping a safe distance from Mom and Dad as not to give away my intoxication, we chatted for what seemed only a few minutes but turned out to be much longer, however, our discussion was cut short as I had to get ready for the school dance, and let me tell you, I was spectacular at that dance.

During my years in Junior High and High School living in Petaluma California, I had become quite the accomplished artist, musician and social animal. I was gaining recognition right and left; even within the physical achievement department. Though I had always been a heavy kid I found myself so driven to convince people to accept me that I won the admiration of many by completing 3,043 sit-ups in a row; a task which took all day to complete for the soul purpose of getting other kids to like me. I never was any good at sports but endurance was something that was wrapped around my little finger. In fact, endurance almost killed me. I think it allowed me to drink so much more than many of my friends.

While in High School, I earned the coveted Eagle Scout Award, received the Vigil Honor Award in the Order of the Arrow; I even became a student/teacher before graduating High School. I had traveled to Japan when I was 16 with the Boy Scouts of America and was introduced to rice wine. With so many friends, why was I so addicted to acceptance? Why was I always trying to get people to like me when all the while they already did?

Though my High School days were filled with accomplishments and a great deal of joy, they were also accompanied by sexual abuse brought on by older boys that proceeded to rape me and many times beat the living Hell out of me on my way home from school. It was a deep dark secret that belonged to only me and my abusers, but it soon became an escape as I would welcome the abuse. For some reason it seemed to fill a void in my life. It felt like acceptance but it was the great deception that would almost kill me on several occasions. Once I was able to be freed by my abusers and the sexual prison I was in, I then had to find a way to deal with my shame. Welcome once more to the bottle. It became my solution. I could hide behind the amber-colored glass and burying myself in false pride through the consumption of brandy. I stayed drunk for several years.




One day, while driving home drunk from Boonville; a little town in the Northern California redwoods, I flipped my VW bug and ended up in a hospital in Santa Rosa California. The car was flattened as it rolled three times before it came to a rest against the middle pillar of an overpass that was part of the freeway exit to the California Highway Patrol office. I vowed that I would never drink again and began what I thought was a spiritual search for my truth. It wasn’t but two weeks later, when I applied to attend a little Bible school called San Jose Bible College, now William Jessup University in Sacramento, CA. I was accepted into college and began a course of study to learn about God and to become a minister so I could help others (something I thought would solve all my issues). The truth is, I stayed sober for one year and then began drinking all the way through college. I paid for my alcohol by driving a cab, flipping burgers, tossing pizzas and working as a hotel clerk for the local Best Western Hotel in the Red Light district of San Jose, CA.

After college, I was hired as an Assistant Manager of a Kmart store in Los Gatos, CA, transferred to Seaside, CA and then to Pleasanton, CA. I walked off the job at Kmart and took to managing two Taco Bells in the East Bay (one in San Leandro and another in downtown Oakland, CA). My drinking had stopped and my heavy narcotic use exploded into a full-fledged $300-a-day habit with a needle in my arm at least 20 times a day. Believe it or not, I took on several ministry positions as Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor and as Christian Concert Host for a few Christian rock concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area. During one such concert I was scheduled to emcee in the South Bay. This concert was attended by several thousand spectators. The only person that didn’t show up was me.

I had been introduced to mushrooms earlier that day and with the mixture of the speed and the alcohol, I simply couldn’t make it to the concert. Instead, I drove far away from the San Jose area until I could drive no more. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. As far as anyone else was concerned, I had vanished. Well, I had vanished alright. I had disappeared into the black hole of meth addiction, cocaine, whisky and intravenous drug use. I lived on the streets of San Francisco, Houston and Los Angeles for the next 18 years doing whatever and with whoever to get my fix.

I sold my property, myself and my dignity for a bag of dope and a bottle of booze. No immoral act was too bad for this junkie and deep down in my spirit I knew I was going to die. I was going to die alone and without family, friends or even God. How anyone could forgive me for what I had become was beyond my comprehension. It made me sick to even look in a mirror except the one I was using to do my drugs.

I traveled from one U.S. State to the other, always in search of someone that would love and accept me, but ended up always pushing those very people away. I stole from those closest to me, lied to those who trusted me and ran from those who sought to help me. Eventually, a friend of 25 years informed me that he no longer could have anything to do with me if he, himself, was going to recover from his alcoholism. I was alone, I was afraid, I was homeless and I was ugly. Ugly at only 175 pounds and ugly inside.

At one point, I did manage to clean myself up and take a job in the beautiful valley of Yosemite National Park. As in the past, I was able to snow my way to a management position in order to make enough money to feed my addiction to alcohol, but once again I was able to make a meth connection and lost my job, my home and the friends I had made while in the park. After leaving Yosemite, I was hired by Holiday Inn International but soon was kicked out of a few states where I worked as Guest Services
Director for the hotel chain. I found myself in Los Angeles working as an insurance agent (A job that lasted
a total of two weeks). My roommate left for three days for our company convention while I stayed behind and house-sat. Yeah, I took care of his home alright. I took everything he owned and sold it for narcotics
and booze.

I was afraid, I was homeless and I was ugly
—ugly at only 175 pounds and ugly inside.

On the day before my roommate was to return home, I remember sitting in my truck at the end of Santa Monica Boulevard in L.A. I had just injected something into my arm of which I had no idea of its content. I literally woke up three weeks later at a rest stop just outside of Albany, Oregon. I had experienced a 22 day blackout and had no idea how I’d gotten there.

I looked down at the floorboard of my little Nissan pickup truck only to see three empty bottles of Wild Turkey 101 proof and syringes spread all over the cab of my truck. My hair was down to the middle of my back and it had been dyed blonde with black and red tips. I had three piercings in each ear and terrible sores all over my face and arms. I looked in the mirror and said out loud, “We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.”

After I did my best to gather my thoughts, I started up the truck and drove to a little town outside of Portland. It was in Milwaukie, Oregon where I would make the phone call that changed my life forever and was to be the link that would begin my journey back to sanity.

Reaching into my pocket, I found just enough loose change to call the information operator and asked if she could locate a friend of mine named Dan Clark. Dan was someone I had always admired and respected while in Bible College. We had lost contact over the years and he had no idea of my active alcoholism and addiction. Likewise I had no idea where he lived or even if he lived in Oregon but I had to take a chance so I asked the operator to look up his name. What happened next can only be considered the hand of a loving God working in my life. I will never forget the operator’s voice as she told me that Dan Clark lived in the very town I was calling from. As it turned out, not only did he live in Milwaukie, his house was just two blocks from the phone booth I was calling from. For the first time in years I began to weep. I cried for what seemed like hours and then with all the courage I could find buried deep within me, I called my friend. He was happy to hear from me and when we met his first words were, “Give me your driver’s license and give me your keys”.

The next several weeks passed slowly as I began to detox from the chemicals that had wracked my body for so many years. Through the guidance of a loving church I was able to check into a Teen Challenge center only an hour away from the Clark’s home. It was at Teen Challenge that my journey of recovery began to take shape. I went through the year-long program and after graduation became the first Outreach Coordinator for the Pacific Northwest. It was while working for Teen Challenge that I met my beautiful wife Marsha. During our early dating life, I relapsed and was terminated from Teen Challenge.




After moving out of the Teen Challenge center I went to live in Albany, Oregon where I began attending 12-Step support meetings. I had gone to them a few times in the past while living with my folks in Stockton, California but it had been years since I had darkened the doors of those rooms. Here I was back again but this time something was different. My desire to escape this horrible Hell I had been living in was no longer powered by my own efforts but by the loving providence of my creator. God had always been with me over all those dysfunctional years but now it was as if He had come to live within my very spirit. It was during the process of working the 12 Steps with my Sponsor that the God of the universe came to reside in me to do for me what I never could do for myself.

Though it took a great deal of time and hard work, (and I might say some relapses) on September 2nd 1997 I took my last drink of alcohol and my life changed forever. There was no more empty feeling of being alone. That horrible pain I felt for years of needing people to accept me, love me and desire to be my friend, had vanished. I had found a new freedom, the freedom that can only be experienced through a spiritual awakening as a result of the Steps I took and the grace of the God I now serve. Substances were no longer needed to fill that empty void. I now had substance.

“It was during the process of working the 12 Steps with my Sponsor
that the God of the universe came to reside in me
to do for me what I never could do for myself.”

What I have learned may sound a little weird to some but I truly believe that there is no power in the Twelve Steps. The Steps are there to show me my need for a power. You see, though I knew God in my head I did not have Him in my heart. After completing the Step process I discovered what I hope everyone reading this will discover for themselves. I discovered that my creator had come to literally reside in my spirit. He and I had become one. I simply cannot explain it other than to say it is the most marvelous thing that has ever happened to me. It can happen for you too. Believe me; you don’t want to miss it.

After serving in several different capacities within my 12-Step fellowship and maturing a little, I went back into ministry. This time I worked on the pastoral staff of a local church as a layman—during which time I began to learn about emotional sobriety and why I had been so addicted to acceptance. Though it was somewhat painful to look at, the process has been an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Today I can stand on my own two feet and declare to everyone that my spiritual well-being is not based on your feelings about me but on the unconditional acceptance and grace of my creator. It is He that is the giver of new life and the one that lights my path. As far as my sanity goes, the world didn’t give and the world can’t take it away. I am truly living today a free man.

What I have learned may sound a little weird to some
but I truly believe
there is no power in the Twelve Steps.

Many years have come and gone and now I live with my incredible wife Marsha and we have two wonderful boys (Cameron who is now married to his wife Amber and Colin who is married to his music and football). They are a powerful part of my recovery but they are not the power on which I lean on for my sanity or my sobriety. That job belongs to God. I am still active in my 12-Step fellowship as well as working full time as a recovery radio talk show host.

A little over ten years ago a member of my home group and 12-Step fellowship got really angry with me because I was quoting from “non-AA” recovery literature. He suggested that “if I wanted to be so opinionated I should start my own talk show but should keep my mouth shut in the meetings.” Well, I took his suggestion to heart and bingo bongo, Take 12 Recovery Radio was birthed and we are now broadcasting worldwide through Internet Radio, You Tube, social media and other terrestrial radio networks. We are a “Traditions safe” radio station as we don’t affiliate with any particular 12-Step program. This form of service work has been of great joy to me and my family and has been an absolute privilege to be a part of.

I am so grateful to God, the program of AA and all those in the fellowship that have been walking alongside me all these years. And as for the gentlemen who was so upset with me ten years ago, well, no one knows what happened to him, so I pray for him and will be forever thankful for the day he came into my life. He blessed me and he didn’t even know it.
Thanks for letting me share.

I’m wishing God’s perfect serenity for you!
~The Monty’man

Monty Meyer is now the Education Coordinator of the Adult & Teen Challenge Center in Shedd, Oregon.


RESOURCES:
> Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts.

> Addiction Recovery Resources for Families of Substance Abusers, Addicts and Alcoholics

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

Why Don’t They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
~By Joe Herzanek

Multi-Award-Winning Updated Edition!
Contains 7 new chapters and info on: Heroin, Shame & Stigma, Harm Reduction, Marijuana, Synthetic Drugs, 12-Step Groups & The Church, and much more!

Amazon.com reviews:
As the mom of a child struggling with addiction,
and the author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction,’ my ‘go to’ book is still “Why Don’t They Just Quit? ~Sandy Swenson

Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you to better understand those who are dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

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> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE NOW)

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The Value of Consequences

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The Value of Consequences:

The Value of Consequences
“People don’t learn from their mistakes,
they learn from the consequences of their mistakes.
Remove the consequences and you will have robbed them
of a potentially valuable life lesson.”

– Chaplain Joe Herzanek, Why Don’t They Just Quit?

The Value of Consequences. It seems that out of our hundreds of blog posts, the most universal truths lie in those that speak about consequences—and the important role they play in every person’s life. These concepts apply to all, from toddlers and teens to the middle-aged and elderly.  We decided to gather some of our most popular segments and combine them into one post—to be read quickly, or if you have time, with links to more info/the expanded text. We hope this will be helpful to you and/or to share with a friend.

Raising The Bottom

Help an Addict by “Raising The Bottom”

Raising the Bottom:
Addicts like me, and potentially my son, often need to learn things the hard way. Judy vividly recalls a time when Jake was about three years old. She was ironing and told him not to touch the iron—that it was hot. He looked directly into her eyes, stuck out his finger and touched it. At that moment she knew this was not going to be an easy road. Jake was going to have to learn things the hard way.

“We cannot learn without pain.”
~Aristotle

The Value of Pain
Pain can be a wonderful teacher. Pain usually means that something is wrong or perhaps broken. Without pain, most people would have even larger problems. Pain is a signal that we need to do something different if we want it to stop.

We decided to not rob Jake of these pivotal learning opportunities. We weren’t going to lie for him, put up his bail, or pay for lawyers. In one of the seminars we attended, we were advised not to argue with our son; just let the consequences be the “bad guy.”

“Don’t rob your friend or loved one of the wonderful
learning experience they are about to have.”
~Joe Herzanek

So does everyone have to hit rock bottom? I would say no. Tough love can prevent a substance abuser from prolonging their usage. There are loving ways to refuse to rescue someone who in the long run will help him or her to choose recovery. Loving means doing the right thing to help. This can take all of our strength and energy at times. “We all hate to see someone suffer even when the suffering is a consequence of their bad choices.

This approach, or some form of it, is something you might consider: Raise the bottom. Whether it is a teenage son or daughter, a spouse, boyfriend, aunt or uncle, the same principles can apply. A few nights in jail could be the best thing that ever happens to them. The next time this person you care about appeals to you to get them out of a bind (loan them money, pay their electric bill, buy them gas, pay for a lawyer), think twice. You just might be prolonging their disease and robbing them of the natural consequences they need to experience in order to seek help and begin to connect the dots.

Don’t bail them out. A few nights in jail
could be the best thing that ever happens to them.
~Chaplain Joe Herzanek

“Raising The Bottom” is excerpted from Chapter 23 (Pivotal Teaching Moments: The “rock bottom” myth) of the 2016 updated edition of Why Don’t They JUST QUIT? Hope for families struggling with addiction.




Addiction A Family DiseaseA Family Disease:
“Once we recognize our futile attempts to stop a disease for which there has yet to be found a cure, we can begin to utilize different strategies in dealing with our addicted children.

We can allow our children to feel the consequences and results of their behavior. In essence, we can “raise their bottom.” We can begin to take care of ourselves by reaching out to mothers who have had similar experiences. As we build friendships and feel supported and loved, it becomes easier to make difficult decisions and we learn new ways to cope with the reality of addiction.“

The above is excerpted from: Why is Addiction Called “A Family Disease?”
~By Kathy Brock Frasier, Regional Director, The Addict’s Mom

 

Detachment-How-Can-IDetachment. How Can I?:

When life becomes one crisis after another, when emotional pain and endless drama become “the norm” what am I supposed to do? Over the past few decades I’ve received this question a lot. Recently it has become the #1 question. Why is that? What do I suggest to families who have arrived at this place? How about this: My suggestion is to do NOTHING! Stop “doing.” Quit “doing.” No longer “DO” anything.

Let’s talk about letting go and what that looks like (sometimes referred to as “detachment”). So there—I’ve said it; The “D” word, The Ultimatum, The Nuclear Option.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

Detachment. How Can I?” is excerpted from the 2016 updated edition of Why Don’t They JUST QUIT? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

 

Parenting: Warnings & ThreatsWarnings and Threats:

Although this story centers around a mother and her young child, we find that most of the “Love and Logic” principles apply to ANY age group (children, teens and adults). 

Parenting: Warnings and Threats

Little Cleo looked out of the corner of her eye at her Mom with one of those testing looks, then pushed her child sized grocery cart into the legs of her sister.

“Quit that,” warned Mom. “I’ve warned you about that three times already. If you do it again I’m going to take it away!”

Three minutes later Cleo was doing it again.

“Cleo, I said no,” yelled Mom. “Now you stop it! You’re going to be in big trouble! How many times do I have to tell you?”

Ten minutes later, I saw Mom still making threats. I’m not sure she was aware of Cleo’s sly little grin.



During the same trip, I watched another Mom dealing with the same problem. There were no threats.

“Willie, you know better than that. Follow me.” She calmly walked to the front of the store with her son trailing behind.

“Leave your cart with the others here. You can try it again next time we’re in the store.”

“But, Mom. I’ll be good. I promise.”

“I’m sure you will next time we shop.”

A sobbing little Willie followed his mom through the store.

Let’s all give Willie’s mother a big hand. And let’s give Cleo’s mom a moment of silence. The threats and warnings may still be going on while we read this.

Thanks for reading,
– Jim Fay

Jim Fay
As one of our favorite authors, we highly recommend Jim Fay and Foster Cline’s  book  Parenting Teens With Love And Logic

Originally published 1/06/2010 by the Love and Logic® Institute, Inc.©2010 Jim Fay, Charles Fay, PhD & Love and Logic® Institute, Inc. www.loveandlogic.com

 


Judy Herzanek TelluridePosted by:
Judy Herzanek is the Director of Creative Development and Marketing for Changing Lives Foundation. She graduated from Columbus College of Art & Design in 1976 and worked as Graphic Designer and Art Director for Hallmark Cards, Kansas City, MO (12 years), Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, CO (16 years) and owned and managed her own design business.

Joe and Judy Herzanek

Joe and Judy Herzanek

Chaplain Joe Herzanek and Judy met in 1984 at an AA meeting in Kansas City and have been married and in long-term recovery for over 30 years. She loves working from her home office in Berthoud, Colorado and the opportunity to combine her design, marketing and online skills with her 30+ years of sobriety to bring the message of hope to families struggling with addiction.
Please visit Changing Lives Foundation website

RESOURCES:
> Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts.

> Addiction Recovery Resources for Families of Substance Abusers, Addicts and Alcoholics

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.



Why Don’t They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
~By Joe Herzanek

New! 2016 Multi-Award-Winning Updated Edition!
Contains 7 new chapters and info on: Heroin, Shame & Stigma, Harm Reduction, Marijuana, Synthetic Drugs, 12-Step Groups & The Church, and much more!

Amazon.com reviews:
As the mom of a child struggling with addiction,
and the author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction,’ my ‘go to’ book is still “Why Don’t They Just Quit? ~Sandy Swenson

Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you to better understand those who are dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen to the book)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE NOW)

Chaplain Joe Herzanek, Author ASK JOE:
> If someone can stop using drugs or alcohol for weeks at a time, they “aren’t an addict—correct?

> Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?

>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?

>Should my husband “back off?”

>Gambling vs. Drug Addiction? What is your opinion?

>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?

>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?

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Value of Consequences, Value of Consequences

 

 

 

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How Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family

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How Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015

~By Jail Chaplain Joe Herzanek, Family Addiction Counselor and Author of Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.”

This article is included in the current FREE magazine download:  Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015  (Page 21).

Alcoholism is devastating to all members of the family. Family members may have watched someone they love turn into a stranger. They ask, “How did this happen? Why didn’t we see it sooner? Are we somehow to blame? How do we make it stop? What if we can’t make it stop? Why won’t this person listen to us? Can’t they see what’s happening to them?” The list is long.

From the shared experiences of Al-Anon members at meetings and in Al-Anon literature, the family learns that alcoholism is not their fault. With that understanding, some of the pressure is lifted. By attending Al-Anon meetings, my clients gain clarity and peace of mind, so that they can take positive action.

“My family phone counseling clients who attend Al-Anon meetings come to understand that they can have peace, regardless of their loved one’s poor choices.”

Al-Anon supplements and reinforces the information I give my clients about alcoholism as a disease. My clients gain encouragement from attending Al-Anon meetings. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Doing what’s best (which sometimes means doing nothing—but allowing consequences to happen) is often extremely challenging. Al-Anon members help and play a special role because they are like-minded and share common experiences as a result of living with an alcoholic.

My phone counseling clients who attend Al-Anon meetings come to understand that they can have peace, regardless of their loved one’s poor choices. Family members learn that recovery is a process that takes time. But they learn that they are not alone, and that help is available from the Al-Anon program.


FAMILY PHONE COUNSELING:
> Phone Counseling for Family Members

Gain peace of mind, knowing that you are taking the steps necessary to begin healing and recovery—for your loved-one and your family.

MORE Al-ANON-RELATED ARTICLES:
> Why is Addiction Called A Family Disease?
> Twelve Signs of A Spiritual Awakening in Al-Anon
> The Critical Role of Al-Anon in Family Addiction Recovery
> Are AA, Nar-Anon or Al-Anon twelve-step meetings really important?

RESOURCES:
> Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> 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.
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

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





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Family Alcoholism, Al-Anon, Family Alcoholism, Al-Anon, Family Alcoholism, Al-Anon,

 

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How can I be supportive and forgiving when I am so hurt?

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ASK JOE

Dear Joe,
JoeHerzanekDear Joe,

My 18-year-old daughter has had drug and alcohol problems off and on for the past four years, trying to deal with being molested and tensions in our marriage. This fall she did heavy drugs and narcotics as well as selling them at college. She came home after her first semester of college, in debt, flunking the majority of her classes, and unable to continue her education until she repays in full.

We are unable to afford paying and think it’s a good life lesson for her to be held accountable for this debt. She is living with her grandmother now after much tension at home. How can I trust and forgive her when she doesn’t feel sorry for hurting us after detox? She is frustrated that we seem to have cut her off. She wants support and credit for “supposedly” staying clean and working although she has refused any more treatment or support groups.

There is very little communication between us since she won’t respond to any texts or phone calls from my husband or me. The only time she does reply is when she wants something from the house. I feel rejected, betrayed, and distrustful with the way she treats her brother. She had become physically as well as verbally abusive with him the last fours years. It is tearing me up for our family to be like this.



All I do is pray and keep my distance, guarding my son and myself. How can I be supportive and forgiving when I am so hurt?

–Carrie H., Bend, OR

Dear Carrie,
Sorry you have to deal with so much from your young daughter. I’m not sure where to start but I’ll try to offer some advice that I pray is helpful.

You mentioned a sexual assault that occurred, I’m assuming about four years ago. This is a very big issue that, all by itself, requires lots of time (a few years or so) and wise counsel to work through. Many, many young girls and boys have this background and it is a major problem and instigator for substance abuse.

She is psychologically damaged but can, at some point, accept that it is part of her past and move on with her life. The wound can heal but the scar tissue will remain. Obviously she should receive lots of sympathy and empathy for this. It is imperative that she receives wise counsel from a professional. Help is out there but there are no quick solutions. The memory of this must be crushing to her. Again, drug use will ease the pain for a short period of time but the consequences of using them just creates one more thing to cope with. Seek professional help for this. It may take time and work to find the right person.

Next, you have the fact that she is an adolescent–which is a phase of life that has its own unique challenges. Her brain is “under construction” and she does not yet have the coping skills of an adult. So many questions that need answers are going through her head. Add the assault on top of that and you have a combination that will only get resolved with time and counseling.




Regardless of all the above, the drug and alcohol use must stop. Your challenge is to find the right combination of empathy and tough love to help her see the light. For now empathy should be on the top of the list. Her anger, outbursts, and even rage at times is her way of saying life’s not fair and why did this happen to me? (which has no clear answer). In reality, as an adult we all come to realize that life is not fair and we find ways to accept this sad fact of life. She is screaming for answers that are just not there.

For the family, it is important to accept that right now she is broken and needs to heal. She will not always be this way; she does not like being in all of this pain and will change back to her old self over time. There is a solution and she will eventually find it–but for now this is the way it is.

So what can a father, mother, or sibling do to help? As hard as it may be–you must not react to her angry hateful attitude. By that I mean you should think–and then act. Think more long-term; tell yourselves “this to shall pass.” She is young–too young to be handling all she has on her plate. The future will be better. Work on your own self-talk. Get counseling for the family as you wait for the process to work itself out.

She needs to be in some type of support group for her (supposed “past”) drug use.

She would benefit greatly from a mentor–another young woman who is a bit older who could come alongside her and just be a friend–someone who listens without judging and in a way, holds her hand while she walks through the dark valley she is in. This too may require much effort to find the right person, but the payoff could be huge. This must be another female. The 12-step program talks about getting a sponsor and this mentor could be in the program but in my opinion does not have to be. I believe the “right” person is out there. Just start the search.

Your daughter is struggling with PTSD. She went through an extremely horrific event that will be with her for some time (most likely, forever). The substance use is her way of coping with memories/flashbacks of the assault. You can’t tell someone like this to just “get over it.” Talking with a trained counselor over several sessions is a must. Each session will hopefully drain more poison out of her wound. Eventually she can get to the place where she’s worked through it enough that she can mentally move on. Many young women have lived through the same sort of thing, their wounds have healed and they were able to reach a point where they could trust again.

Finally, and I have no idea where you or your family are spiritually, but prayer is anther powerful resource to take advantage of. Some churches have youth group leaders who might be able to help find a mentor as well.

You really can get past this time in your family’s life and come out stronger on the other side. As far as being supportive and forgiving when you are so hurt–just remember that as long as you are supporting anything positive regarding her recovery, it should be fairly easy. Of course, you aren’t going to support anything that hinders her recovery. Forgiveness and trust may take time, but just take it one day at a time. Never give up hope!

I’ll keep you in my prayers.

Best regards,
Joe

Don’t bail them out. A few nights in jail
could be the best thing that ever happens to them.
~Chaplain Joe Herzanek

Joe Herzanek, Author, Addiction Counselor and Interventionist
If you found this article “Raising their Bottom” helpful please see our “Ask Joe” posts listed at the bottom and consider reading “Why Don’t they Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.”
Available at:
> Our website, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
> Amazon.com
> Changing Lives Amazon Resources (buy new for much less)

 

 

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

Updated and Revised

Our most recent Amazon.com reviews:
Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~LyndaA

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you to better understand those who are dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

I, like many people, have some knowledge of what drugs and addiction are, but are clueless on what the process of recovery entails. This book does a great job in what it would take to help a loved one, who is an addict and is willing to get clean and stay clean. It also gives one hope that your loved one will survive the nightmare they are living through with their family. ~CG





>
Kindle
> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen in your car)
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE)

________________________________________________________________________
drug and alcohol problems, recovery, forgive, drug and alcohol problems,

 

 

 

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Should I search my adolescent’s room?

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Should I search my adolescent's room?

Ask Joe: Should I search my adolescent’s room?

Ask Joe:

Q: Should I search
my adolescent’s room?

A: You bet.

Not only should you search their room, but you should have no qualms
about it. If you suspect he or she (a minor) might be using drugs or
alcohol or be engaged in any other illegal activity, then you have an
obligation to search. And by the way—aren’t you paying the mortgage
on the whole house?

~Joe Herzanek/Author, Why Don’t They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

MORE ASK JOE:
> Do you have to stop seeing all your old friends in to recover?
> Is a relapse—failure?
>Should my husband “back off?”
> If someone can stop using drugs or alcohol for weeks at a time, they “aren’t an addict—correct?
>Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?
>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?
>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?
>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.

Updated and Revised

This “Q & A with Joe” is excerpted from
Part 5 of the updated edition:

“Why Don’t They Just Quit?
Hope for families struggling with addiction.”
(click above to purchase)

 

 




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

If you found this article helpful:
please see our “Ask Joe” posts listed at the bottom and consider reading:
Why Don’t they Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.”

Available at:
> Our website, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?”
> Amazon.com
> Changing Lives Amazon Storefront (buy new, from us for much less)

Why Don't They Just Quit? Hope for families struggling with addiction.
Updated and Revised Edition


Recent Amazon.com reviews:

Best book ever about addiction. Written by one whose done it and is recovering. Easy to read, not preachy, just honest. I recommend this book to anyone with an addict in their life! ~Lynda A

Got an addiction problem in your family? Read this book. Joe knows his stuff. This book helps you better understand those dealing with friends and family that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have read several of these books but this one is the best. ~RJ

I, like many people, have some knowledge of what drugs and addiction are, but are clueless on what the process of recovery entails. This book does a great job in what it would take to help a loved one, who is an addict and is willing to get clean and stay clean. It also gives one hope that your loved one will survive the nightmare they are living through with their family. ~CG

> Paperback
> Audio Book CD (Listen to the book)
> Kindle
> Audible Audio Download (LISTEN TO 4 MIN. SAMPLE NOW)



SELF TESTS:
> Self-Tests: Codependence
> Self-Tests: Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Sign up for our Free Changing Lives E-Newsletter!

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