Thoughts on Yesterdays Drug Addiction Recovery Group

I am in recovery from drug addiction.  Every single day.  Once a week I go to group meetings where we’re sectioned off by gender and drug of preference to talk about what we’re going through, both good and bad.  I work with a group counseling out of my drug rehab center, but it also takes people in recovery from other places.

Yesterday we saw a kid that hadn’t been for a while.  The way he looked as he walked in pretty much told the story.  He’d fallen off and waited until he self-detoxed to show his face again.  They used to say at Mass–don’t roll your eyes, yes, at I did use to go to church, that you don’t have to be perfect to come back to church.  I say the same thing about drug addiction or alcohol addiction–you don’t have to quit first to seek help.  Just frickin’ seek help.

Any single one of us would have helped him get his shit together again.  Either in a pay it forward kind of way or in a pay it back act of contrition.  After our drug treatment counseling session, I went up to him and said: Dude, I would have helped you if you called me.  He actually looked surprised by this and it got me to thinking about the nature of addiction and addiction recovery.

In those weeks after drug detoxification you self-isolate.  It’s almost like you’re afraid that if you speak to someone they might offer you drugs.  Or, you don’t talk to people because you’re still craving drugs and you don’t want them to see through your sober facade.  Basically, I’m learning what a process this is to become normal again.  I hope that one day–probably not this year or the next, but in a few years I will start to laugh more and be crazy again.  I miss being crazy.  I hope that I make friends with people who aren’t addicts and have something to talk about.  I hope that my parents trust me again.  I hope for a lot of things for myself.  I know I will eventually get there, but I also know its going to take a lot of time.

If you have a problem, seek help.  I won’t lie.  It’s an uphill battle that’s for sure.  Make it easier on yourself by getting help from people who are medically trained to deal with your problem. Call these guys and tell them where you live 877.403.3381 they can help you find a drug treatment center or alcohol rehab in your area.  877.403.3381

Depression and Triggers

Depression, Triggers, or What I Learned in Drug Rehab

Drug addiction and psychological disorders go together like a horse and carriage.  Whether the disorder came first or the drug use came first is kind of a moot point once you’re knee deep in alcohol abuse or drug addiction.  I fight depression and anxiety daily.  Unlike celebrities whose doctors have no problems prescribing anti-anxiety meds to well-known “former” drug addicts, my doctors refuse to because they think I’m drug shopping.  Hey, maybe a tiny, subconscious part of me is.  I’ll believe anything of myself at this point.  I don’t think that’s the case, but whatever.  Back to my point, I get depressed a lot.  Especially at this time of year when all the fun of winter (skiing, snowball fights, making snowmen) is gone and all you’re left with is ugly black and grey ice blobs in parking lots.  I want Springtime to come so badly.  When I see the trees start to bud up I get happy again.

A lot of people who are former alcoholics or drug addicts hate holidays.  I certainly don’t like Christmas anymore.  But Easter…there’s something about Easter that I really enjoy.  It’s not the chocolate rabbits because even as a kid I couldn’t bite the head off one.  It’s more the whole rebirth and renewal thing.  The bright colored eggs.  My sisters and I used to have so much fun finding eggs in the back yard.  Even years when Michigan would get a bizarro snowfall on Easter you’d see us out there hiding them in the snow.

But Easter isn’t today and I’m feeling depressed.  Even my Group (drug therapy group) didn’t help.  I just want winter over.  I want to get out of the house and do something, but I don’t want to have to warm up the car, scrape the window, and all that other crap you have to do to go out somewhere in the winter.  I’m starting to feel a trigger that could lead to cravings and its a bit scary.  OCs make you feel warm and now I feel cold.  They make you not care about all that BS, and now I have to care about it.  Drug addiction–alcoholism, too–really is lifelong, I think.  Or at least decades long.  I think you need to be able to forget what it’s like.

If I didn’t have group, if I hadn’t gotten educated at my drug rehab I would probably be salivating right about now.  I know how that road ends.  It ends in my mother crying, my bank account being closed, and me yelling at everyone I’ve ever loved like it’s their fault.  So, drugs and I are done.  They have to be.  It is just hard even with all of the tools I got at my drug treatment center.

I guess those are my depressing thoughts for the day.  Like I said, a day like today would have driven me into the loving arms of painkillers had I not found a drug rehab that worked.

If you are where I was–or even where I’m at and you need someone to call, try A Center for Recovery.  They’ll always take that call.  877 403 3381

Getting Real about Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drugs and alcohol abuse were topics I was asked to write about and was given some ideas and “keywords” so that people could find me.  I’m sure I could go and do research on drug addiction, alcoholism, and prescription drug abuse.  I could post a lot of different facts about the dangers–statistics and that kinda thing, but I honestly don’t think that bombarding people with statistics actually helps because by the time you are reading blogs like this you are already a statistic and past the point of caring about them.  Once you’ve reached the stage of dependency with prescription drugs not only do you realize that you’re royally screwed, but you’re scared to death.  We’re not scared that we’re going to die (although we should be), we’re afraid of withdrawals.  We’ve experienced a few hours of the sweats, we’ve suffered with the migraine, and we know that those hours waiting for our dealer (or doctor) to show up with the capsule-cavalry are only a boding of things to come should we ever try to “quit” this sick relationship we got going.

The yelling and disapproval of family and friends (ie, “you’re weak” or “you’re killing your mother”) hurt–sure they do.  But they don’t hurt like 18 hours after your last painkiller hurts.  If withdrawals didn’t hurt so bad we wouldn’t be drug addicts.  Fact.  The problem for many of us is that we all know that what we really need is an in-patient treatment program to help us through a proper drug or alcohol detox and we straight up don’t have the money.  I mean, its not like most drug or alcohol rehabs offer payment installments.  They require money upfront–rightly so.  I’m not saying they don’t deserve it.  For those that have insurance…WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR??? GO. GO. GO.  For those that don’t, you’re probably desperately trying to figure out how to afford an in-patient program that doesn’t require a court order, armed guards, and bars on the windows.

My advice is to call around.  The place that asked me to write blogs for them, A Center for Recovery, provides a hotline that will assess where you are at (in your addiction, location, family situation, and finances) and help you find a place that will fit.  Even if other people don’t get it…I do.  You can’t get off drugs without help.  You can’t get help without money.  You don’t have money because you spent it on drugs.  You burnt through your friends and family…it’s hard.  It is.  But drugs are harder.

Call these folks and ask them to help you figure out a way to convince your family that if they help you with drug rehab or alcohol rehab that this will be the last time.  My parents only helped me because they realized that a) I’d probably OD sooner than later, b) better to help once rather than allow me to bleed them slowly for more money, and c) a counselor helped me speak with them.  I say call today and ask for help.  You might be surprised at what kind of drug treatment resources are available for you.  877.403.3381




Celebrities and Prescription Drug Addiction: Part II

From Courtney Love to Heath Ledger


Courtney Love Picture Taken by Elle Magazine

Prescription drug addiction is second only to alcohol addiction as far as what drug rehabs and alcohol treatment centers have to deal with each day.  It also seems to be the number one killer of celebrities–that or plane crashes.  You would think that with their private affairs and forays into substance abuse becoming public fodder that their doctors would have enough sense to see someone who was either jailed (Lindsay Lohan) in a drug or alcohol arrest or flat out confessed to Vanity Fair and say “no” to giving them narcotics.

You’d think.

Courtney Love is actually one of my favorite drug addicts.  She has that Keith Richard-esque quality about her.  When everyone else is dropping off like flies she keeps going like a drug fueled energizer bunny.  She makes my argument for me that (unlike the rest of us former drug addicts) someone with a well-known history of substance abuse–heck, she admitted to heroin–is given prescription drugs like benzos and painkillers.  Courtney Love I respect in a strange way because she’s not covering up her drug use.  She puts it right out there for the world to see.  Courtney has been in and out of drug rehabs for the past twenty years or so–don’t get me started on celebrity rehabs….  She’s a cautionary tale, if not a role model for what not to do.  Her husband died in a fit of suicidal depression assisted by high quantities of heroin and still…she keeps taking drugs.  She took drugs after it cost her a child.  If ever someone had a reason to stop it was Courtney…and yet, with the help of a family doctor she’s able to fool herself about her addictions because the new drugs she’s taking come with a script and can be picked up at CVS.

So yeah, Courtney’s alive.  Drugs haven’t taken her yet, but what they’ve done is robbed her of everything that is valuable to human beings.  One dead husband and all the guilt that comes when someone you loved committed suicide.  Her daughter went to court to be taken away from her and now lives with a restraining order against her.  Financially, she now has to tour to stay afloat.  All of this misery and a past of drug addiction and abuse and still the odds are 100 to 1 in favor that she could go to a doctor today and get tamazepan to help her sleep.  Prescription drug addiction is fueled and assisted by doctors who would rather not have to deal with their patients as individuals, only numbers.

Of course, there are those people–not just celebrities–who had major surgery and reports of chronic pain that were given painkillers and then left to their own devices to sort out the drug dependency alone.  These same doctors (I know from experience) will also avoid giving you painkillers in the future even if your arm is being sawed off (I exaggerate) if you confess to having had a problem with drugs.  It is this attitude of bare minimal concern that is frustrating.

Now, I spoke about Courtney Love and perhaps having a living drug addict isn’t enough of a “seek drug treatment” kinda post–although you’d think that watching her lose a husband, kids, and fortune to drugs would make most people want to either “clean up” or “never start”.  Have you read her twitter?  She’s either a) still using prescription drugs, or b) completely fried her brain.  Is that what you want for you someday?  I don’t want that for me and I’m glad I got drug treatment when I did.  MAYBE she’s off drugs again (and I truly hope she is), but it doesn’t look like it.  She’s got a large frame and shes really underweight.  Just conjecture on my part.

And for every Courtney Love of Keith Richards out there, there’s a Whitney Houston or a Heath Ledger.

Heath Ledger, Drug Addiction?

Heath Ledger died of an overdose of sleeping pills and anti-anxiety meds.  In the words of the New York City medical examiner:

“Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam, and doxylamine,” the office said in a short statement.

“We have concluded that the manner of death is accident, resulting from the abuse of prescription medications.”

Read that list aloud to yourself.  Oxycodone.  Hydrocodone. Diazepam.  Temazepam. Alprazolam. Doxylamine.  He probably downed it with shots of vodka (I’m not kidding…we prescription drug addicts tend to do that).  He had prescriptions for all of them.

I am not the type to place judgments because I’ve been judged enough.  I will offer sympathy and say that I hope what happened to him happens to none of you.

Lastly, I will admit to being a Hole fan and if Courtney ever did read this, I hope she knows I’m routing for her.  I’ll also say one more time that the best drug rehabs are the ones that work for you, and maybe Courtney just hasn’t found the one that will work for her and give her the real help and support she needs.

And Court, if you’re out there I want you to know that I will always remember you like this:

Courtney Love: Goddess of Hole



…and I hope you find a drug treatment program that works. We need Hole rocking for more years to come.

To the rest of you… prescription drug addiction kills.  It doesn’t matter if you got them through the window of your dealer’s BMW or from CVS.  It is best to quit before dependency, but when your body tells you that its addicted just know you don’t have to endure it.  I got help for an OC addiction.  If I can get off OCs you can too, because, seriously I’ve never been a good representation of healthy living.  Find a drug treatment center today or call 877.403.3381.

Celebrities and Prescription Drug Addiction: Part 1

Whitney Houston 1988 Courtesy of InStyle

Prescription drug addiction was something that I was asked to write more blog posts about probably because of the Whitney Houston death due to prescription drugs. Considering that I was also addicted to prescription drugs I could be considered somewhat of a subject matter expert. So here goes the first in a two part series…

People become addicted to prescription drugs through a variety of circumstances.  In the case of Whitney Houston I have no doubt that her physician or a bunch of physicians prescribed her these meds because a) she’s a celebrity and asked for it or b) she’s a celebrity and needed something to help her come off of years of stimulant abuse or c) she’s a celebrity and needed something to help her with symptoms of anxiety.  The celebrity thing is important here because once a physician realizes that one of us regular types had issues of drug abuse or drug addiction you are never going to get any kind of serious (aka “fun”) medication again. You will be stuck with Tylenol when your wisdom teeth are pulled and it won’t matter if you haven’t shut your eyes for a week you won’t get anything for insomnia other than advice to do yoga before bed or never watch television again.

Prescription drug addiction is serious business for a good reason.  These drugs were specifically synthesized (like my big words??) to attack a particular ailment.  People spent millions to develop these products.  My conspiracy theory driven brain believes that the purposefully made addictive drugs but I can’t prove it.  Whether intentional or otherwise the point stands that these meds are powerful and addictive.

Alcohol addiction and drug addiction are progressive.  That’s what they tell you in group or alcohol or drug rehab.  One minute you’re singing the National Anthem at the Superbowl and the next you’re looking like this:

Whitney Houston courtesy of

Way too many people have this idea that if a doctor prescribes it, its good for you. The figures on prescription drug death is pretty grim, it’s something like 20% of all drug deaths are caused by prescription drugs. So, no…not good for you even though a doctor prescribes it.

Let me tell you what’s good for you. Apples = good. Salad = good. Baked fish = good. Unfortunately, drugs are not.  Yes, you heard me.  I said “unfortunately”.  I said that I would write this blog if I could be honest.  You will never hear me deny that drugs feel good.  What I will say is that they also quit feeling good rather quickly and that other things feel good too.

For instance this:

Great Wolf Lodge

The facts are that there are a million other fun things you can do besides drugs, but you forget all about them until you’re sober again. When you enter into a drug rehab or alcohol treatment center at first you truly feel like a fish out of water because you’ve forgotten those other happy places in life. Slowly, they all come back to you and with a completely new appreciation.

Last summer I rode my first roller coaster sober. Amazing. Sobriety can be amazing for you, too. Call a drug treatment center or alcohol rehab today.  Call this number: 877.403.3381

The folks there can put you in touch with a drug rehab or alcohol treatment center in your area today.

Whitney Houston: Thoughts on Addiction and Recovery

Whitney Houston Bodyguard SoundtrackAlcoholism and drug addiction have taken many lives.  They could have easily taken mine.  I am well aware of that.  I was asked to write my thoughts on Whitney Houston’s death.  I was a little kid when she came out.  I was probably in middle school or maybe freshman year of high school when The Bodyguard was released in theaters.  Being a little dude I wasn’t exactly influenced by “chick music”, but even as a kid I knew who Whitney Houston was.  As an addict I always routed for her to clean up–don’t you always want other drug addicts to get their shit together for you?  It is very important to see addicts in recovery–especially when they stay there like Nikki Sixx.  I mean, seriously, you’d think that “Jesus Loves Me” Whitney Houston would have cleaned up better than this guy:

Nikki Sixx Post Drugs (just barely)My alcohol and drug treatment center had posters up of Nikki’s book, The Heroin Diaries.  Here is a dude who died like 2 or 3 times from heroin overdose and now is clean for 15 years with tons of clean cut kids, is a New York Times best-selling author, has his own successful radio show, and is still making music.  In a weird way, I needed Nikki.  I needed to know that someone who was so worse off, so far down that path of alcoholism  and drug addiction could get off and stay off.

When Whitney Houston came out of drug rehab two or three years ago I was really hoping she was going to make a come back, like: See world, drug addicts can get clean and get their lives back.  Then I heard her speak and it was about taking a break from exhaustion and blah blah blah.  She was either in denial about drugs or in denial about how much support she would get–either way, she was lying to everyone.

And now she’s dead.  Dead in a bathtub with exactly the type of depressants on hand that many stimulant addicts are given to “recover”.

This blog is supposed to be about getting alcohol and drug treatment.  I know I’m supposed to talk about positive stuff like getting into therapy, but today I want to say that its not just about getting a good doctor who will help, or getting therapy, but getting the right sort of help, the right sort of therapy…and I just don’t think that happens for celebrities.  They go to places that cater to their celebrity.  Celebrity drug rehab.  Whatever.

Nikki Sixx didn’t go to some Hollyweird rehab.  He flew off to some middle America drug rehab to be treated just like everyone else. Its not just about the rehab, its about finding the right drug or alcohol rehab.

Whitney Houston is dead today because she took Xanax and fell asleep so hard that she drowned in the tub.  Was this suicide?  Was it an accidental overdose?  Who knows?  What I know is that she died because she was a drug addict.  Whitney Houston took a God given gift and threw it away to drugs, and, no, I don’t mean her voice.  I mean her life.

Had anyone cared to help her because they loved her, not because she was a meal ticket…maybe she would still be here.

Had she loved her daughter enough to not want to leave her behind…maybe she would still be here.

Had she doctors who were responsible enough to give her small doses of prescription meds or none at all…maybe she would still be here.

Maybe Amy Winehouse would still be here.

Maybe Michael Jackson would still be here.

Maybe Kurt Cobain would still be here.

Maybe Brad Renfro would still be here.

Maybe Heath Ledger would still be here.

Right now, I’m just glad that I’m still here.  Thank you Abby, Danny, Autumn and Mom for helping me through and thank you Nikki Sixx for leading the way.  Call 877.403.3381 to get help today.

Nikki Sixx, Courtesy of RockNewsDesk

Nikki Sixx, Courtesy of RockNewsDesk

Valentine’s Day Thoughts

Happy Valentines DayDrug addiction and alcohol abuse are fueled by holidays, anniversaries and other days of emotional value.  Many addicts are driven by feelings of loneliness or lack of love.  I’ve usually had a girlfriend on Valentines Day.  Maybe one year I didn’t, but mostly I have had girlfriends.  On the year that I didn’t it was pretty damn depressing and I remember drowning my sorrows by treating myself to 6 extra painkillers that day.  After that, I pretty much didn’t care anymore about whether or not I was alone on Valentine’s Day.  Drugs had become my significant other.

I’m writing because my time at a drug and alcohol treatment center really helped me to become human again, feel the human emotions that I had avoided feeling.  At first, I wasn’t happy about feeling guilty and ashamed for hurting everyone for so long.  Its kind of like when your foot falls asleep and it starts to tingle.  You begin to wake up and feel this pain you aren’t used to anymore.  Eventually though as you work your way through drug counseling you begin to feel those pleasurable and happy sensations again–only this time without drugs or alcohol.

Now, I’m experiencing all of the trauma of Valentine’s Day with  a girlfriend.  I have the worry of getting the right thing, the nervousness that she’ll hate it and I’ll be in the doghouse, but I gotta tell you…its one thousand times better than not caring.

So I understand that many of you are where I am now and still others are figuring out how to take those first steps.  Here’s how: just do it. Call someone at a alcohol or drug treatment center today: 877.403.3381



New Years Resolutions…Are You Sticking to Them?

Many drug and alcohol treatment programs make you list “resolutions” in group.  These resolutions are kind of like a New Years Resolution.  You vow to stay sober, you swear you’ll treat everyone that loves you with respect, avoid triggers, etc.  You know the drill.  I have a problem with that word because of “New Years” and all of these associations with never following through with resolutions.  Seriously, who does?  Can you name someone who was still sticking to their diet a month after NYE?  How about someone who resolved to never lose their temper?

Drug addiction and alcohol addiction (or alcoholism) resolutions usually don’t stick unless you have some kind of plan.  I am by no means the type to down a group like AA, but the few times I’ve gone I hear either two things: a lot of “wishy thinking” or regrets.  Our brains are hardwired to addiction, so we need to figure out how that mechanism works and then rewire or work around the problem.

Again, not knocking AA since a lot of people get something out of it, but I think that those with a drug addiction or alcoholism issue need more than ideas and mantras, they need a real plan of attack.  Most of us have other issues that feed and fuel the addiction so its important for us to have a real drug or alcohol treatment program.  You get to learn why you have all these addictions and how to avoid them.  It’s real “science-y”.

I think AA and NA’s place is in the post-rehab period of time, where you have your tools in hand and need some support from “friends”.

My resolution every year for the rest of my life is to stay off opiates.  So far…I’m sticking to them.  Listen, I know its hard having a problem that is both terrifying and embarrassing, but you can’t let that keep you away from getting help.  So if you haven’t gotten help yet for your drug or alcohol addiction, please do yourself a favor and call someone today: 877.403.3381

Happy Thoughts

Alcoholism, drug addiction, drug treatment these are the topics I usually write about—after all, it is a blog about drug addiction.  The thing is I felt like I also needed to write about the good things in my life so that addicts will see that there is more to life post-addiction than just going to group or talking about triggers, so this blog is about my “happy places”.

Happy Place Number 1: My girlfriend’s arms.  I have the world’s best girlfriend.  She’s smart, funny, and has a really big heart.  She’s cute (always a plus) but I actually care less about that stuff post-addiction.  When I was younger the girl had to be cute (as cute as me) or else I wouldn’t give her the time of day.  Once I started using the girl had to be in the scene, too.  My girlfriend was the exception to this “in the scene” rule and I’m really glad for that.  Anyway, besides being the girl that pushed me into a drug rehab she’s also the person that introduced me to other types of video games besides first person shooter and into fantasy RPG games.  This brings me to my Happy Place Number 2…

Fantasy RPGs are the BEAST!  Right now I have defeated several dragons, bought a house, and got married to a busty brunette serving wench.  Life in my alternative, cyber existence is very, very good.  Yes, I may have a video game addiction this is true, but for me, at least, this is addiction is much kinder on my central nervous system.  If I can’t get home to my video game I don’t face an afternoon of chills, headaches, and nausea that requires a diet of white rice.  Speaking of diets and rice, Happy Place Number 3 also deals with food.

My mother’s kitchen will be on overdrive soon with her Holiday Cookie Extravaganza.  Mom’s goes cookie crazy during the holidays and I cannot wait to mow down on her spritz cookies and chocolate bird’s nest clusters.

Life is good in recovery.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  Every day that I wake up without worrying about where to get my next fix, or how to come up with the money to pay my dealer is a good day.  I have plenty of reasons to stay sober and plenty of reasons to once more enjoy my life.

My last happy place I want to talk about is just…inside my head.  I like myself again and that has been a long time coming.  I used to hate being alone when not on drugs because I couldn’t stand myself for being what I thought was a loser.  Now, I feel good again about who I am.

If you haven’t gotten help yet for your drug or alcohol addiction, please do yourself a favor and call someone today: 877.403.3381

Avoiding Holiday Triggers

My drug counseling group is getting us ready for the holidays.  For those who aren’t familiar with the recovery process, your drug treatment center or alcohol treatment center will always place you into some kind of outpatient program once you leave.  My outpatient program includes a weekly group drug counseling groupand (now) a bi-monthly one-on-one (used to be every other day, then once a week, etc).  Anyway, those of us in group meetings are dealing with the upcoming holidays and how we will work through or avoid those triggers that can produce drug cravings.  Most alcoholics and drug addicts have a lot of family triggers that can get them started on the trigger>craving>relapse path.  Mine has always been my father.

Dad is a great guy and I love him dearly, but we cannot be in the same room together for over two hours without clashing.  I never can do anything the way he feels it should be done—or, at least, that is how it feels to me, and feelings, as we know from group, are the triggers we need to watch for the most.  If I had to predict what will happen this Christmas I would say that things will go great for the first few hours.  Dad will put his arm around me, hug me and tell me he loves me (once).  I’ll give in and say the same.  We may even do some cooking together outdoors (it can be eighty below and Dad will have that smoker out).  Then the beer will come out and I will watch Ma start to get tense.  Six beers later he’ll move onto rum and coke and then I’ll get tense as I watch and listen to him start to “share” stories with my girlfriend, my sister’s husband, and my other sister’s boyfriend.  Once he gets to the story of me getting kicked out of school in high school I start to sweat.  I use to leave the room and go do another OC at this point (I would have had the six hour wear down).  I’ve discussed this with my drug counselor and now, my game plan is to volunteer to go to the convenience store to buy more pop. Also, I am splitting the time between my parent’s and my girlfriend’s parents so that I can reduce the time spent with Dad.

Last year I avoided Christmas at home entirely so I could avoid the major triggers and cravings.  I was too new in my recovery then—only six months along.  There are some kids in my group who are looking for a place to go on Christmas because they can’t go home either.  I suggested going to the movies.  They’re always open on Christmas and the best films come out then.

If you’re in the same position post some suggestions, or if you’re still using maybe you should give yourself and your family a present by checking into alcohol or drug rehab.  Yeh, yeh, you can’t quit using on Christmas—you’ll do it after.  Trust me.  You won’t.  Do it now. You’ll thank me for it.  There are some great drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers out there that can help you get back on track.

If you haven’t gotten help yet for your drug or alcohol addiction, please do yourself a favor and call someone today: 877.403.3381