So what have Joe, Judy and Changing Lives been up to lately?
We continue to learn and adjust our activities concerning how to best help with the ever-expanding alcohol and drug addiction epidemic. After leaving the Boulder County Jail last October I have been counseling with families who have this issue in their lives (actually counseling with both the family members as well as the addict).
I receive calls–lots of calls, from those who have come to their wits’ end trying to help someone close to them. I offer guidance on how the family, friends, employer, can best handle alcoholism or drug addiction–how to help the loved one see the light, have an epiphany, and begin recovery.
The biggest problem concerning this drug addiction epidemic (which has rapidly grown over the past year or so) is with men, women and yes, children–using a combination of alcohol and opiate pain medications. I’ve gone back into the jail several times recently to counsel with and visit certain inmates–when a parent tells me their son or daughter is there because of substance use and abuse.
I have also spoken with doctors, nurses, and even pastors who are addicted or have a family member in trouble. What I try to teach the family is that they have more power than they realize and the friends/family members need to start using it. My hope is that they (the family/friend/employer) will confront the person, intervene in their life and use whatever leverage they have, to get the person to begin the journey of recovery.
Sadly what I’m finding out is that many of the people I talk to do not follow through. Knowing this has led me to complete some training on Family Interventions. I have also been greatly encouraged by some in the field who also believe there is a tremendous need for this (family intervention) service amidst our out-of-control alcohol and drug addiction epidemic. Local treatment facilities are often looking for an interventionist to meet with the family. Churches have already contacted me in the past for help in this area. Time will tell but Judy and I both believe we should move in this direction.
Society’s laissez-faire attitude toward recreational alcohol and drug use is actually a subtle condoning of substance abuse. Almost half of the states in the USA have a form of legal, sometimes called medical marijuana use for their populace. this drug used to be a person’s first step to addiction. For many it still is. That is changing.
A recent study now states that illicit use of prescription meds has become the young person’s first choice at drug experimentation (after alcohol of course). Adolescents are getting opiate pain meds and tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax from medicine cabinets–and not just in their own homes, but their friends homes as well. Please keep this in mind if you have teens living at home. Being vigilant and staying informed it the best we can do for now. Please forward this to a friend if you think they might benefit from this information on our nation’s ever-growing alcohol and drug addiction epidemic–and how YOU can make a difference.
Grace & peace,
~ Joe & Judy Herzanek