Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Blogs 2 Year Anniversary

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone. I'm back and Hopefully for good. Now with every holiday comes another wonderful year of blogging but with having a baby just a month ago I've been slacking with posting my regular Sunday posts and I'm sorry about that. I really do appreciate my blog and all its readers and I didn't plan on disappearing for a month but it was well worth it. Getting to know my baby boy and getting into some kind of routine was essential, especially with school, which I've sadly also been slacking on but all that and the birth experience is a topic for another post. I'm going to try to write my posts ahead of time that way I have something scheduled for every Sunday.

The holidays represent many wonderful things for me, especially now with my baby (my greatest blessing of all) being born so close to the holidays. Also the holidays isn't just my blogs anniversary anymore but since I reconnected with my baby's father on Christmas last year, that would make this Christmas our one year anniversary. I feel like I've been given blessing after blessing during the holidays, like the baby's father completely surprising me and proposing this Christmas on our anniversary. Everyone can see how much of an amazing father he is and nothing could make me happier then knowing my son has a great father. On top of that in a couple months we will be moving in together in this really nice 3 bedroom on a main floor of a triplex with a backyard that he got at a really good price because he will be the handyman and superintendent of the triplex.

Its a little scary when things are this good and I'm this happy because if something bad were to happen I have a lot more to lose and I was reminded of that when the baby, his father and I got pulled over by the cops for speeding a week ago. I'm not going to go into detail but my baby's father got arrested and they mixed him up with another guy who has the same name and same birthday from the same town. They just took him away late at night on our way back home from visiting my mom so she could spend some time with the baby. Not having my license yet I was stuck with the vehicle crying like crazy trying not to make noise and wake the baby. Not knowing when Id see the baby's father again I felt devastated and in that moment I realized that I really loved this man and wanted nothing more then to spend the rest of my life with him and our lovely new baby boy.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Guest Post: Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
Author: Jon Huynh

Mental illness in any form is very troubling for both individuals that have to cope with their own afflictions and also for those attempting to assist individuals with healing. This difficulty is a result of the complex nature of mental diseases which can be challenging for professionals to address-- let alone inexperienced friends and family members. Contributing greatly to this complexity is that a particular disease is often simultaneously a disease itself and a symptom of other illnesses.

This tangled relationship between different mental diseases means that they can often aggravate and serve as triggers for one another. Mental disease like depression can cause individuals to seek out mind and mood altering substances in a process commonly referred to as “self medicating”. Individuals do this in an attempt to alleviate the difficult circumstances of their affliction.This behavior is often associated with another mental disorder: addiction.

While addiction isn't exclusively limited to chemical substance abuse, this type of addiction is particularly dangerous because both behavior and the chemical substances have a powerful affect on mental stability. Substance abuse exacerbated by other mental illnesses like depression is difficult to treat because of the cycle that develops between the two. That is, depression drives an individual to self medicating, but the resulting addiction drives the individual back toward depression.

To make a full recovery, all aspects of mental illness and addiction have to be addressed.This means, individuals must first be properly diagnosed by a professional. Then, the individual’s unique addiction cycle must be addressed. Generally, this is done by treating the individual for their substance abuse itself and for any existing mental conditions which contribute to their cycle of abuse.

Mental Illness
Since mental illnesses can trigger, aggravate, and act as symptoms for other ailments, they are difficult to diagnose and treat. For example, an individual may be correctly diagnosed with depression, but depending on how they experience depression, they may also have bipolar, manic, or anxiety disorders as well. All of these types of disorders indicate some sort of chemical imbalances in the brain. For some, these imbalances may be temporary indicating that they are the result of circumstantial conditions like high amounts of stress or physical trauma. Though for others, these imbalances may be more permanent, alluding to a genetic predisposition or birth defect. Whatever the underlying causes, individuals suffering from these conditions often experience feelings of permanent hopelessness, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Some individuals may even recognize that something is wrong, but feel a complete inability to function because of the feelings of hopelessness and despair that are common with these types of diseases. These feelings can be the precursor for self medication, which is often the trigger for dependency and addiction. While individuals may feel temporary relief from some of the symptoms of their mental illness, substance abuse inevitably makes these symptoms worse, and ultimately much more difficult to treat.

Substance Abuse and Chemical Addiction

Addiction isn't exclusive to substance abuse. Individuals can become addicted to pornography, objects, food, and many other things. What makes substance abuse so dangerous is that both the chemical addiction and the behaviors associated with it can greatly alter an individual's mental and emotional stability. With chemical addiction, the focus is typically placed on how various chemicals affect the mind and body. In fact, the initial attraction individuals have to a particular substance is often how that chemical makes them feel when it alters their body chemistry.

For individuals suffering from depression, a drug may offer temporary relief from what is otherwise a permanent state of discomfort. However, this is precisely what makes substance abuse so dangerous. At first, it may seem as though the feelings of temporary relief are signs of a permanent solution. Additionally, an individual may feel like they are retaking control of their life because they are able to control how they feel through the use of the drug. However, the longer an individual uses a substance to alter their body and mind, the more dependent they become on that substance to function. In the long term, the body can become physically and mentally addicted to that substance, permanently altering brain chemicals and body functions for the worse.

While the seriousness of the chemical effects of substance abuse can’t be stressed enough, they are not the only debilitating factors of substance abuse. What is often overlooked about chemical addictions are the behavioral aspects of the disease and how they contribute to mental stress.
In a web article by Renaissance Recovery Center located here, they detail many behaviors that change in individuals over the course of chemical dependence and addiction. However, it isn't just the changes in an individual’s behavior that are so devastating. It is also the consequences that result from that new behavior. For example, Renaissance Recovery notes that: “. . . deterioration in appearance, personal hygiene. . . [and] job performance. . .” are all common behavioral changes that individuals might experience in their dependency. Notice that with or without substance abuse tied into the equation, these behaviors are typical indicators for-- and contributing factors to-- depression related mental illnesses.

Treating Mental Illnesses and Substance Abuse
Treating mental illnesses is difficult in the first place, but substance abuse greatly compounds the issue. If an individual does have a chemical addiction, then both the addiction and other mental illnesses must be treated in order for the individual to make a recovery. Additionally, addiction is itself a mental disorder and can become entangled in the grey area between symptom and affliction, much like other depression related mental illnesses. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to diagnose and consequently effectively treat chemical dependency. This is why it is critical for individuals dealing with mental illness and chemical addiction to seek professional help. Inexperienced and unprofessional attempts to address these serious conditions can lead to permanently crippling circumstances.

If you or a loved one is experiencing the pains of mental illness and chemical dependency, please make an effort to contact a professional right away. There are a lot of organizations and resources that offer assistance in these matters. The aforementioned Renaissance Recovery Center is an example of a rehabilitation facility that regularly treats patients suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. Time is critical in these issues. Both mental illness and substance abuse are painful conditions, but substance abuse can also lead to permanent damage, including worsening mental illness. Do the right thing and take action to assist yourself, or a loved one that is in need. The road to recovery may seem painful, but it is nothing in comparison to the potential suffering that comes from long term substance abuse.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Addiction Recovery My Way

One of the many things that makes this world such a beautiful and wonderful place is its diversity. We are all beautifully unique with different wants and needs. We shouldn't ever be expected to all fit in a box and conform to just one way of doing things. Its simply isn't who we are as humans beings. We are amazingly complex individuals and we need that freedom to be ourselves and do what works for us in order for us to grow into all that we can be.

I've had people who have been rude to me, ignored me,  blocked me and even shunned me once they found out I wasn't doing recovery their way. Every time I ask myself why. Why not support a fellow recovering addict and recovery in all its forms. If it's creating a better life for them and their loved ones than Why Not? I would think these recovering addicts would understand better than most the struggle of recovery. We should stand together and lift each other up. Changing our lives in no small task. We should be proud of each other no matter what recovery path we have chosen. Accepting and encouraging individual differences is an amazing thing. It means we have evolved to see past our own sense of self and ego to see the beauty in what is different from us.

If what their doing works for them who I am to judge or make their recovery seem less important or make them feel less than because they aren't doing it my way. Being in the methadone maintenance program I've had to defend my recovery to quite a few people and surprisingly most of them were in recovery themselves. Usually regular folks are more accepting and able to see the positive changes in my life for what they are. Methadone has given me my life back after I had tried everything else to quit, its the only thing that worked for me. 

Another really big issue for some is that I don't see abstinence from alcohol as part of my recovery. I've never had a problem with it. I only drink a few times a year and I rarely get drunk. I've been clean from drugs for many years now and drinking hasn't caused me to relapse in all this time. If I felt like my recovery was in danger I wouldn't drink. I dont drink to get drunk and I dont drink when Im angry or emotionally unstable. I know my way of doing recovery doesn't work for most people but it works for me. I'm drug free and living a "normal" life.

I know alcohol can be a really big problem for some people and by choosing to have a couple drinks on my birthday or at Christmas doesn't mean I don't see alcohol as a huge challenge for some recovering addicts. It doesn't mean I don't respect their struggle or that I don't see it as a big deal for some people. Its just that alcohol isn't a problem for me personally. I respect each of your individual recovery paths so much. Recovery is something to be proud of and If it feels right to you than that's what matters in the end. May you all be happy and find that inner peace we are all looking for.


Sunday, November 02, 2014

To My Addict Friend I Forgive You But I'm Still Letting You Go

I use to think that if I forgave someone it meant that Id have to let that person back into my life and pretend like nothing ever happened. In trying to avoid anymore disappointment and pain Id hold on to that grudge which in the end was just causing me more pain. I've come to realize that forgiving someone doesn't mean I have to allow them into my life again. Actually forgiving them means releasing them from my life completely because I wont be carrying that grudge with me. 

Not many people showed up for my baby shower because I haven't really kept in contact with anyone since leaving to go to university. Life just seemed to get in the way and because I focused all my energy on building a future for myself I ended up letting my social life slide away from me. Even one of my long time best friend who's also pregnant right now decided not to show up to my baby shower at the last minute. 

I thought her out of all people would of showed up and showed her support. Having kept in contact with her over the years despite her rocky path these past few years I was really counting on her to be there. I've distanced myself from her a few times in the past but I'd eventually forgive her thinking things had changed and try to get close again only to be disappointed. I feel like I've given her many chances because I used to be where she is and I understand her struggles. 

At one point I wasn't a good friend either, but O cant let that guilt keep holding me back. There comes a point where I need to just forgive and distance myself until she gets better and wants to be in my life. Even though I don't agree with her life at the moment I don't judge her for her choices. I just don't want to be part of it and end up being disappointed again.

It really makes me sad because being my childhood best friend and one of the only friends I've kept it contact with I was really looking forward to play dates and being first time mommy's together. Our babies being due only a couple months a part it really would of been something special to share with her. I can only hope that things get better for her soon and that she reaches out to me when they do.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Why Rehab Would of Made Recovery Easier

Have you noticed that addiction is almost always accompanied by mental illness or some kind of trauma? I believe this is because addiction isn't the cause of our problems but a symptom of an underlying issue. We try to self-medicate with drugs, alcohol or some behavior to alleviate the distress caused by this trauma or mental illness. Being that addiction is a symptom of a much bigger issue I wish I would have gone to rehab and gotten the counselling I needed instead of doing it on my own. Receiving the proper treatment for the root cause of my addiction would of made my life so much easier. Getting clean and sober is just the beginning of our long journey back to sanity.

Rehabs can provide excellent support and counselling when you find a program suited to your needs. Not everyone's needs are the same and finding a rehab with counselors willing to adapt to your individual needs is essential for a successful recovery. Sadly, my small town didn't have a drug rehab facility and the counselling was very limited. When I couldn't find a program in my area that was flexible and adaptable to my needs I ended up having to do it on my own. If I only I would have known about a rehab that could meet my needs I might of mustered up the courage to go to an out of town rehab facility and saved myself so much time and grief.

There are some great rehab facilities like Advanced Health and Education in New Jersey that if would of been available to me at the time would of saved me a lot of relapses and given me the tools I needed to deal with life's struggles instead of seeking relief with my old habits. I was impressed with how Advanced Health takes the time to find the best course of addiction treatment for each patients individual needs taking into consideration factors such as the type and duration of addiction, mental illness, physical health, and personal and professional commitments which are all important factors to consider when deciding the most appropriate course of action.

I can only begin to imagine how helpful a program like that would have been for me. I'm over 6 years clean and I'm still struggling with some mental issues that lead to some not so good habits, even though they might not drug related they still effect my life on a daily basis. Some of these not so good habits are keeping my emotions in, blaming others and over sleeping to get away from it all. Figuring it all out on my own isn't easy but not having and not knowing about programs that would have taken into consideration my health and commitments like Advanced Health kept me from getting the best possible care. We definitely need more rehab facilities like Advanced Health and Education  and more importantly we need to know about them. 

I'm hoping by writing about this I can share the importance of getting the proper treatment and let people know about great rehab facilities that take into consideration individual needs. I'm going to be doing more research on different rehabs and counselling programs to share with all of you the ones I find to be some of the best. Please let me know in the comments below your experiences with treatment facilities. Thanks

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Power of Choice in Overcoming Addiction

The Power of Choice in Overcoming Addiction
By: Emma Wilson

We make a lot of choices.

Eat broccoli or cake with your sandwich? Major in exercise science or accounting? 
Call your sister or sleep in? 

These are just a small sampling of the things we decide throughout the
day. Choices are a huge part of life. Some decisions are neither good nor bad, while others
can influence us greatly both in the immediate future and long term.

Those who struggle with addiction may feel they have lost the ability to make choices because of past mistakes. But this is not true! When it comes to addiction, one of the most important choices we can make is to heal and move forward, choosing sobriety and discipline over drugs. It may be difficult—but choices we CAN make while recovering ultimately help us to overcome addiction.

Drugs Limit Power
Dependence on drugs often limits the choices addicts have; they may be dependant on their
daily dose—or doses—to function normally. This dependence often leads to a cycle of poor
decision-making, leaving the addicted person unable to choose another route, even when he
or she so desires. Sometimes, drugs become so paramount that the individual no longer has
a choice in many of life’s important decisions.

By seeking treatment and help from friends, however, those who have lost some of their
power of choice to drugs can regain some of those decision-making powers. Sometimes
this seems like options are limited, but only in the short-run.

In fact, their decisions are making a big difference: because when seeking help they are
choosing the greater good: the often-difficult road to recovery. In essence, they are
choosing to once again lead a happy life with their family and friends, free from substance

Take Control
Here are some choices you CAN make when struggling with addiction:

Choose to include others. Make the choice to enlist the help of others. This can include a
spouse, parents, children, and close friends who are not currently struggling with addiction;
a qualified health professional; and a support group. As explained here, in getting professional help you can choose health over insanity. After getting help, seek out others who are committed to living clean and sober and establish a network to help you continue making good choices.

Choose optimism. “Attitude determines altitude,” they say. Choosing a positive attitude can
be one of the greatest factors in determining happiness during recovery—not to mention
that choosing to stay positive will help you develop self-mastery over your feelings.

Choose healthy eating. Addiction takes a great physical and mental toll on the human body, but changing other habits—especially nutrition—can make a huge difference. Try to find fresh or home-prepared meals; choose fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and grains rather than bags of potato chips and candy bars. It only makes sense that our bodies crave nutrients. The positive result: developing a habit of better eating may help ease cravings and withdrawals, and offer the added benefits of more energy and overall better health.

Choose to exercise. Exercise brings a myriad of health benefits, including a natural “high,”
that will almost assuredly improve your personal road to freedom from addiction. Bonus:
the endorphins released through physical activity can help mitigate depression! The key is
to find activities you actually like to add into your life. It doesn’t matter whether you choose
softball, kickboxing, mountain biking, or yoga—the health benefits from these choices will
help you achieve your dreams.

For the Support Group
Supportive family and friends are a key resource every addict needs as he or she

• Show your love through frequent visits and/or contacts, as appropriate. There
is a different between “enabling” a behavior and showing forth love. If you have
questions on how to do this, consult a qualified health professional.

• Respect the autonomy of your loved one as well as their former independence.
Try to let them make as many choices as they have at their disposal, including diet,
activities—even when you may personally disagree. Show particular support as
they make good choices.

• Encourage your loved one to stay in therapy. Help from trained professionals can be
one of their greatest tools to a full recovery from whatever they are battling, and it
gives them an added support team.

• Express optimism in their chance for full recovery—even if they relapse on
occasion. Your optimism can help fuel theirs and lead to positive changes.

• Help your loved one distance himself or herself from anyone who pressures them to
return to their habit. Help them replace those people with people who have successfully fought addiction or others they connect with who are a positive influence.

• Be a strong example of living a clean, sober, healthy, and happy life.

Whether in rehabilitation or living independently, the choices we make determine our
success and happiness in life.

What decisions are you making toward a healthier life today?

I hope you enjoyed this guest post.
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thanksgiving is What You Make It, The Power of Positive Thinking

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada I want to take this time to remind everyone to think about all the things there thankful for in their life. I know its not easy when everything seems to be a struggle and frustrating things keep happening but focusing on the good will bring more good into your life. I know this because I use to be a very angry and unhappy person. I was constantly disappointed by the people in my life, expecting too much of them and placing my happiness in their hands. I would focus on the things that weren't going right and the things I wasn't getting instead of focusing on the good I had. I was essentially giving away my power to be happy and I needed to take it back if I was every going to be happy. This is something I really had to do not just for me but for my baby. I didn't want my child to grow up around someone who was always miserable and in turn become unhappy themselves.

In the past few months I've been trying really hard to spend more time practicing gratitude and positive thinking instead of focusing on the negative. At first, I spent a lot of time reprimanding myself and redirecting my thoughts when I noticed myself getting negative, but noticing negative thoughts wasn't always easy since it had become such a part of my life. It took sometime for it to become a daily thing but I really have noticed a difference in the amount of time I spend being happy instead of angry and frustrated. I still have to work at redirecting my thoughts when I get angry, and some times are harder than others, especially when life gets difficult and problems pile up, but it has become easier and I find I don't have to reprimand myself as much as I use to. This transformation of perspective really wasn't an easy journey for me and I still have a ways to go but it's all extremely worth  it.

I might have no energy, a to do list that keeps piling up, small apartment that really needs a good cleaning, a car that needs quite a bit of work and no money, but at least I have an apartment, a car and a family that loves me. I have some food, I'm working towards my education, and I have a wonderful baby boy on the way with a sweet, loving, although stubborn, man that I love very much. Im also lucky to have great people around me willing to help me get everything I need for the baby, and a lot of great hobbies that make me happy. Its a lot to be thankful for and although I often get wrapped up in the stress of not having any money or not getting as much help around the house as I would like, I still find a way to remember what I do have. Its all about perspective, the more I work at seeing the positive the happier I am.This thanksgiving I'm going over to my grandmas with my mom and hubby. We don't need a big supper or lots of people around to be happy and grateful, just spending sometime with the ones that mean the most to us with some food in our tummies is more then enough to stay be thankful for.

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Sunday, October 05, 2014

How to Hang On to Recovery

Someone asked me recently how they could hold on to their recovery and stay clean when they feel like giving up and I honestly didn't know how to fully answer them because the answer really depends on each person. What worked for me might not work for them. We are all unique and amazingly complex individuals with different needs, hopes and dreams.

After thinking about it for a couple minutes I finally replied well what do you want more then drugs ? What are your goals and dreams. They couldn't think of an answer right away so I asked him to think back to what made him happy, what pass times he used to love before drugs were part of his life. Keep looking until you find something that motivates you. Something your truly passionate about.

That's what was key for me. My love for reading, writing and drawing are what got me through. Going back to school gave me a goal to work towards and made me feel productive, but I use to love school and learning so that's why it worked for me. I also started taking notice and joy in the little things like spending time with my younger brother, building a snowman, watching the stars, decorating my room, oh and nature, camping, campfire etc.

I believe in recovery we all need to take the time and figure out what makes us tick. We need to rediscover our passions, our dreams and most of all ourselves. Their is so much wonderful things to discover out there, we just need a clear and sober mind to start witnessing it all. So many fun hobbies and pass times that can get us through another day sober. Trust me, before giving up on recovery take the time to discover what motivates you, it will make all the difference when it comes to hanging on to recovery.

Best of luck on your search to new and wonderful things. Recovery Rocks.

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If you have any advice on how to not give up on recovery please share in the comments. You never know how many people it might help. Thank you


Sunday, September 28, 2014

No Social Assistance For Addicts

People should get drug tested before receiving social assistance or any kind of money from the government.

Now I can't count how many times I've heard this from people, most of which have never battled with addiction or been on social assistance. I'm seriously getting tired of hearing it and unless they have experienced it themselves they shouldn't be judging and telling people how the system should operate. I've avoided talking about this because I know how much of a fuss this topic can cause and I didn't really want to deal with all the negative comments but I've realized my readers are kind and compassionate enough to respect my opinion and not leave any negative comments. Although I know a lot of people are set in their way of thinking and are going to disagree with me, just let me explain why I think taking social assistance away from addicts is a terrible idea.

The obvious reason (well to me) would be crime going up because people who are addicted need money for their next fix and without that next fix they would go into severe withdrawals. I know theirs ways for them to get better but some are just not mentally there yet, for whatever reason. For example, the chances of stuff being stolen, more people dealing drugs, having more homeless people or having more sex workers on our streets would go up. Theirs also the fact that a lot of people who do drugs also buy necessities like rent and food with their money, like I did, and especially people with children. I should know I once was one of those kids. It would of been way worst for me as a child had my parents not received social assistance. Taking me away from my parents wouldnt of helped, I would of ended up rebelling even more and would of probably ran away. When I was on social assistance and addicted to drugs I still bought myself food and paid my rent. I wouldn't of survived otherwise and would of probably become somewhat suicidal. Social assistance helps people in soo many ways.

There's so many reason why someones drug test could come back positive. Besides the fact that it might just be an occasional or rare thing that the person does, what about someone who smokes weed for fibromyalgia pain because they haven't received the proper medical care and the doctor they've seen can't figure out whats wrong. There's just so many possibilities that we can't even imagine that denying people social assistance based on drug testing is unjust and discriminatory, not to mention the drug test itself is an invasion of privacy. Taking social assistance away wont solve the problem it will just make it worst. We have no right to judge people like that. We don't know what they're going through. I just wish people would keep that in mind instead of attacking people on social assistance.

If you can think of any other reasons why drug testing and social assistance is a bad idea please feel free to share in the comments. Thanks :)

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PS. Also wanted to mention that Ive been thinking of only posting every Sunday instead of every Wednesday and Sunday unless you guys tell me in the comments that you really enjoy 2 posts a week I'll start posting once a week. =) love all my readers, your opinions matter to me and I appreciate you all so much. Thanks

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Doesn't He Want to Have Sex With Me? Methadone & Low Testosterone

This might be an embarrassing topic to talk about since low testosterone causes a low sex drive (among other things like fatigue and lack of motivation), but I believe its important for us to talk about because its a real problem facing many men and couples on methadone. Sadly too many people stay quiet about this issue because of the stigma attached to it. Like a low sex drive not being manly or it taking away from their manhood, and for women they might feel inadequate or like its their fault somehow that their partner doesn't want to have sex with them. I should know, I've been dealing with this myself.

I'm hoping by writing about my struggles here it will let people know their not alone and theirs no shame in getting tested for LowT if they feel like they are having the same issues. Well my hubby never wants to have sex with me and its really been hurting my feelings. Although I've been reassured this isn't the case it makes me feel like I'm not attractive to him or that he doesn't want me because he doesn't love me. I've known methadone to lower people sex drive and I believe him when he says he's just tired and not in the mood but that doesn't remove the pain of rejection completely and it doesn't fix the problem. On the rare times we do have sex I feel like I have to bug him for it which is so not a turn on for me and it's all really affecting our sex life and with that our relationship. Intimacy is important for me to feel connected to him.

I knew from past experience that methadone, especially a high dose of methadone, can cause a low sex drive but I never thought anything could be done about it besides him getting off methadone and risking his sobriety. But thanks to a recent study done on low testosterone and methadone we have realized that his none existent sex drive and constant fatigue might be due to low testosterone which is usually treatable. We are happy that finally something can be done about it that doesn't involve him risking his sobriety by getting off methadone but he still needs to ask his doctor on his next appointment about getting tested for it. We wont know for sure if something can be done about it until then but I'm hopeful we have discovered what the problem is and that it can be treated.

Are you having similar issues? Have you ever had similar issues? Please let me know in the comments below and give courage to those who need it. If we talk about it we can give people the courage to get tested and treated which can improve many aspects of their lives. Cheers to being happy and healthy :)

The link to the Study:

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PS. Check out the Crystal Healing Trees I make myself. They are super pretty and I find they can be very soothing and healing.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dealing with Stress and Addiction Triggers

Being a recovering addict I don't handle stressful situations the same way as most people would. I feel everything so much more deeply and have always had a difficult time dealing with these feelings adequately (which is probably a major reason why I started using drugs in the first place).

Since being in recovery I have this need to be in control of everything in my life or at the very least know what's going on because being in control and having a plan is how I was able to get clean and stay that way. Now if I'm not in control or at least know whats going on I'll stress over it for hours on end. I like having a game plan when it comes to emotional changes and situations in my life. I need it to mentally prepare and stay emotionally stable. Not having or not knowing the plan for these major changes triggers stress and worry beyond belief for me.

It keeps me up at night, especially in this situation with the baby due in 9 weeks and having nothing ready. That's a pretty big emotional and important change coming up in my life and telling me "I'll take care of it" does nothing to sooth my anxiety. I need to be involved and know whats going on.

I started stressing out and worrying about getting everything ready for the baby this week but it was kept somewhat under control because we had been planning on waiting for my baby shower to know what I was getting before we started buying anything. I was a little disappointed by how little people showed up to my baby shower and by the small amount of stuff I got. I do appreciate what I got though and I'm grateful for the people who did show up but I'm still missing all the big items and so much of the smaller items, that I'm freaking out all over again.

The logical part of me knows its not that bad. We got enough money to buy a crib and maybe even a dresser, plus my mom's giving me her rocking chair so nursery furniture is taken care of. My cousin who planned the baby shower and my aunt gave me a huge baby basket with a lot of useful stuff. My cousin also gave me some stuff she already had like a newborn car seat, swing and baby tub. I also got a baby seat that vibrates and can be used to feed baby in, with a few pieces of different size clothes from the other people who attended.

I'm suppose to also get a stroller, a basinet, a playpen and some other stuff from my family out of town but I have no idea when or if it will happen and that what worries me. Not knowing exactly what else I'm getting and not having everything I need here with me now is a big part of what's bothering me and that has everything to do with needing to be in control.

On top of all that I don't really know all the things that I need for the baby and how I'm going to afford it. I don't feel prepared but I'm trying to get a handle on my emotions and try to relax. I'm working on just having faith that everything will turn out fine. Writing about it here really helps. And maybe you guys can comment and let me know some essential stuff I might need during the first few months so I don't feel so overwhelmed and lost.

I know I'm going to need more newborn clothes, diapers, breast pump, bottles, bottle brush, infant detergent, baby carrier, burp cloths, blankets, toys etc. Let me know what you needed in the first few months. Thanks.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gracie's Secret: The Perfect Book For Children of Addicts

I absolutely love this book I just read and thought I'd share it with all of you.

Gracie's Secret is written by Lorelie Rozzano, a woman in recovery who grew up in an alcoholic home. This children book is intended for kids growing up in addicted families who need help understanding and talking about their feelings. Although I believe this would be a useful book for any kid and not just children in troubled families because all children need to learn how to manage and talk about their negative feelings. It's definitely something I'll read to my little one once he's old enough.

I really love the idea behind this book. I think it's great to have a tool like this to help kids understand and open up about their feelings. The book is written in such a way that any kid having a difficult time with their feelings or living in a troubled home would be able to relate to this story. The author explains feelings in a way that can be easily understood by young children and the beautiful illustrations are so well done it enhances the comprehension of the story line.It even has simple questions at the end of the book to help get kids thinking about the people they can talk to and how Gracie story relates to them.

It's also a great read for adults who lived in a troubled home or has dealt with addiction themselves because most of us can relate in some way to this little sad girl. Also a great book for any parent who has been addicted or has dealt with a bumpy family life because this book offers them the child perspective in this situation and might help the parent understand what their child is going through a bit better. Fostering understanding and compassion for their child who might find themselves in a similar situation.

This is the author Lorelie’s blog if you want to know more about her, and the book can be purchased here. If you buy the book please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on it. Thanks a bunch everyone  =) Take Care


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Children's Aid: Never Where Their Needed The Most

I was recently informed by my doctor that I'd have to call Children's Aid before my due date to let them know I'm clean and provide them with a letter from my doctor informing them that I'm stable. I'm not happy about this for many reasons but mainly because I know way too many bad things about Children's Aid and how they operate, plus I feel like its unfair that I have to defend myself and prove to them that I'm clean. Kind of feels like prejudice to me, specially because it wont just stop at a letter from my doctor. They will start asking a million and one questions about my life trying to find some reason to become more involved. Or at least that's been what I've known them to do.

I know that their just doing their jobs by making sure I'm clean and I should be happy that their protecting children from unhealthy homes where parents do drugs. The problem is they often get involved in cases where the child is doing fine and cause the family trouble. Sadly I've heard this kind of situation happening from many families. So it probably won't stop with just having to give them a letter. Even though I have nothing to hide I feel like they will put me under a microscope and judge every little thing until they can find something to cause me trouble. 

Also I think about my own childhood and how although my parents weren't perfect and addiction was involved taking me away from them would of caused more harm then good. I probably would of became severely depressed being taken away from my parents.I remember when I was younger a worker came to talk to me at my home and it was just a terrible experience. He came in acting like he owned the place and started telling me I wasn't a good kid for not listening to my mom. It did nothing to help my situation that's for sure.

My partner also had a not so pleasant run in with them when he had his daughter with his ex. The guy worker that came over to talk to his ex started hitting on her and asked her out. Making my hubby sound like a bad guy for not being home because he was working out of town. Thankfully this worker lost his job. Another example, would be them harassing my Dad and trying to take my little brother away. They demanded a drug test 5 times in the past 2 years because he past each time the last time he made sure to tell them if they bothered him again he would be pressing charges. I don't know how that works or if he can press charges but I hope something can be done about bad workers and their flawed system.

I believe in having something in place to protect children but our children's aid system seriously needs work to be just and effective. Hopefully they don't give me any problems when I give them my doctors letter and they don't question me because knowing myself I'll get defensive and pissed. My diplomacy skills do need work I'll admit that LOL. I'll keep you guys all updated on how it goes. Anybody else here have had experience with Children's Aid ?Good or Bad, let me know in the comments below, please. Thanks for listening to me vent and rant, you guys are awesome :D

Check out this story about a mother who lost her child from the time he was born until he was 9 months old when she finally won her case against CAS for being on methadone. They took the child at the hospital and told her she couldn't have custody until she got off methadone.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guest Post : The Best & The Worst of Methadone

The debate continues on about whether or not methadone is a good tool in recovery or if it is just a hindrance. we will share with you the pros and cons of methadone from our perspective as a couple who are currently on methadone in Ontario, Canada.

As opiate addicts looking for a way out of the lifestyle after 18 years of heavy drug abuse for myself and 24 years for stixx, and having tried other ways to succeed, methadone made sense to us. There are many people who have had both positive and negative experiences, as people would with any other treatment form. There is no wrong way in recovery, it either works for you or it doesn't. I believe people are entitled to their views, but pushing the form of treatment that worked for them on others is not right. If abstinence programs worked for everyone, there wouldn't be such a problem.If it worked for you great, but if it doesn't work for your friend, don't be negative, we are all in some form of recovery that's all that matters.

When I first began MMT I didn't really know what methadone was other than an orange drink that took away your sickness. I was so naive, I had only known two people in the past who were on methadone but it wasn't something that I had really spoke about with them nor considered for myself at the time. I remember one girl passing out at the cash register in a hardware store while looking for money in her purse, the cashier looked at me and I at her. so I thought that was what it did, to each their own I thought! I didn't realize that it would really help save my life a few years later. 

Stixx knew what it was but he wasn't interested in it at all, as it was juice and something you drank, not interesting to a person using needles! He had started MMT a few months before me, at this point I didn't know him. We started seeing each other a year into our recovery and have been going strong since. Our heads are in the same place regarding recovery, so it works!

The stigma attached to methadone is unbelievable, if used as a bridge for those with severe addictions, mental health issues, disease, years of drug abuse and having tried many different ways to be rid of the lifestyle addiction places you in, it can work.

 We have seen many people in the clinic who have only been addicted to opiates for a short time and have never tried other options at kicking the habit, addiction hasn't even yet ruined their life and these people should really consider other treatment forms first! Some they are their soley to get it as a crutch between their next high, it is difficult for doctors to screen people and sort out who has or hasn't a severe addiction, people lie as they do at any doctors office just to get what they want. 
You must have a strong desire to succeed in treatment and methadone should be used in conjunction with some form of counselling/therapy to help you identify underlying issues that could cause you to slide back into addiction.

Methadone is the choice of those seeking treatment, as it is with someone going to an in-patient facility or choosing to go cold turkey, nothing is pushed on them, if they feel that's the treatment for them then that is their choice. Anyone who is looking into treatment should thoroughly research their options, that being said here are the pro's and con's of methadone maintenance treatment:

  • Allows you to focus on cleaning up your life right now, such as getting off the streets, getting to work, getting/keeping your kids, etc
  • Allows you to begin living without worry of withdrawals until you feel as though you are strong enough to begin a taper, you are not rushed to taper.
  • You can break the habits that come with addiction.
  • Improves your health and well-being all around
  • Lowers criminal activity associated with feeding your habit.
  • Many times addictions and mental health issues go hand in hand, methadone allows you to focus on those issues before having to deal with the physical withdrawals of addiction. Without doing that your chances of relapsing and possibly falling deeper into despair are much higher.
  • Methadone has been used for 45 years, effectively and there are many studies that show this.
  • Don't have to wake up to that sick feeling everyday
  • Don't have to go hunting for pills every day, finding money, finding a place to do the drugs, etc. (Wheeling and dealing!)
  • Allows you to find a stable dose, unlike being on fentanyl, morphine, etc., where you need to continually increase dose to feel same effect
  • You drink methadone once a day, rather than using needles which could possibly be contaminated, thus contracting diseases such as Hep 'C', HIV, Etc. You no longer have to worry about dangerous infections from abscesses.
  • Methadone is much more preferable than trying to quit, relapsing, trying to quit and so on. Each time this happens your chances of overdosing are high. On methadone you no longer have to worry about that and come off slowly while leading a normal life.
  • Methadone stabilizes the brain chemistry that has been destroyed during drug abuse.
  • Methadone eases the worry of not knowing exactly what is in the drugs you are buying, as methadone is dispensed from a certified pharmacy.
  • You do not get high and are able to function normally without looking like a drug addict.
  • You can hold down a job, own a home and raise a family, which was impossible for some to do while in the depth of addiction.
  • Allows you to stay in treatment longer and receive proper care.
  • The cost is much cheaper than what your addiction may have cost you
  • Methadone does not cause a euphoric rush
  • Methadone is a great harm reduction tool

  • The stigma that surrounds methadone is sometimes a barrier to receiving treatment.
  • Side effects such as sweating, weight gain, libido loss, etc (Some side effects will not occur if your dose is fairly low, higher doses increase chance of some of these side effects, but not in all cases)
  • Some of these side effects can really affect your relationship and cause extra problems you don't need while in recovery
  • Overdose can happen if you take other pills in combination with methadone, or take more than you are prescribed. This happens usually in the beginning of treatment when you still haven't reached a stable dose to keep you drug free (We continued using until we reached that level, but overdose was possible each time we took pills and due to the "Blocking effect" (antagonist) methadone has. You take more pills until you feel them. This is dangerous!
  • The possibility of losing employment if screened for drugs, as some people consider methadone to be illegal and illicit. There is much stigma in being employed as a methadone patient
  • You are forever going to the clinic until you can receive carries or take-homes
  • You have to make arrangements to go out of town. So you are kind of limited as to where and what you can do I.e camping, job related travel, Etc. If you do not have carries and have to dose daily, you are unable to go, unless your clinic/pharmacy is lenient and allows you to carry a day or two.
  • Transportation costs/finding ways to get your dose for some people living in rural areas or if your town does not allow methadone clinics/pharmacies.
  • Having to plan your life around the methadone clinic.

Despite the drawbacks of methadone, it is better than the lifestyle of addiction and the pros far outweigh the cons. Again, always research a treatment option rather than jumping straight into it. We have written an article on our blog,, called "Who should or shouldn't take methadone" and it can be helpful in seeing if methadone is a choice for you. We hope this has been helpful and we hope it helps at least one person take a positive step in the right direction.

Published on ezine here

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Should us Addicts be in Prison ?

Lets just incarcerate everyone that does drugs and have them do drugs in prison instead. That way it will cost our government a boat load of money just for the peace of mind of everyone who hasnt been affected by drugs.

We do a lot of things when we are in active addiction that's against the law but is prison really the answer?

I remember when I had to go to court for check fraud when I was 16 and in the middle of my full blown addiction. I got a call from the police department that they wanted to talk to me. The check situation was completely out of my mind by that time so I went in not sure what to expect. They ended up treating me like a victim, acting like they felt sorry for me. Maybe it was because I was only sixteen and my boyfriend was 21. They even asked me if my boyfriend made me do it. I was honest and told them that no one made me do it I did it because I was addicted to drugs.

After informing me that I'd have to go to court because the store where I had cashed the checks was pressing charges they asked that I tell my boyfriend they also wanted to speak with him. Thankfully, the charges were eventually dropped although I'm still not sure why. I like to think it had something to do with us being young, addicted, and wanting to give us a chance to do better with our lives before giving us a criminal record. I know it's probably wishful thinking.

I'm happy that more addicts are getting sentenced with mandatory treatment instead of prison lately, but our jail population is still filled with too many addicts who aren't getting the proper treatment. Going to jail gives them the opportunity to get clean but once released the chances of relapse are extremely high. If you're like me and you believe that addiction is a mental health issue then wouldn't mandatory treatment be a better option for addicts. If we truly want to rehabilitate them and help them become productive members of society then addressing their addiction would be the best course of action.

Putting addicts in prison isn't actually fixing the problem it's only putting it on hold. Don't get me wrong some crimes do deserve jail time, no doubt about that, but if the crime was due to an addiction chances of them repeating that crime are extremely high if the addiction isn't treated properly. I think for the more severe crimes they should still get some jail time but with access to proper addiction treatment.

Our society should incorporate effective addiction treatments in all prisons. For the minor drug offenses mandatory treatment would be ideal. The influence of more hardcore criminals can be destructive to addicts who are only there for drug related offenses. People usually come out of prison with better connections and ways of committing crimes so keeping them separated could benefit everyone. I'm glad our society is finally recognizing the fact that addicts need real help, not just prison time.

What do you guys think. Let me know in the comments below.


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Addiction Facts for Recovery Month Awareness

Being that September is the 25th annual Recovery Month I thought Id share some facts about addiction and recovery to raise some awareness. As a recovering addict I think its pretty neat that we have a whole month dedicated to recovery. The Recovery Month.Gov  has a bunch of info on recovery month if you want to check that out. 

This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages people to openly speak up about mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery, and promotes ways individuals can use to recognize behavioral health issues and reach out for help. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.
Also the ihavewill has started the lemon challenge to raise awareness. The challenge is to eat or suck on a lemon and keep a straight face and filming it to share with everyone. If you can keep a straight face keep eating. Its a fun challenge and a great way to raise awareness.

Now here are some facts :
(Click on a fact to be redirected to its source)

Charmed  =)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Can We Ever Fully Recover From Addiction ?

I've always wondered if us addicts could fully recover from our addictions or if we would forever be in recovery. I've come to realize that opinions on this vary a lot and this might be because we don't all have the same idea of what being recovered means. Even I've changed my opinion about it more then once. I used to think that fully recovering from an addiction was possible because I thought being recovered meant no more urges to do that drug of choice or that specific behavior.

I haven't had the urge to do drugs in a very long time. I can even be around it and not want any whatsoever. I thought that meant I was recovered but recently I've come to believe that although I might be recovered from my coke and oxy addiction, I will always have an addictive personality. That means I'll always need to be aware of my emotional state and Ill have to regularly keep track of my thought patterns, which means I'll always be in recovery. I really don't mind that because recovery for me means keeping myself happy.

To me recovery has always been practicing self care, keeping track of my feelings and analyzing why I feel the way I do, controlling my negative thoughts and practicing positive thoughts and self image. So basically working on staying happy and how to get there if I'm not. My recovery isn't just about drugs but about being happy and healthy. Its about growing and moving past the emotional trauma I've experienced. After 6 years I might be recovered from my drug addiction but for me recovery will always be part of my life.

What's your opinion on being able to fully recover from addiction ? 
 Yours Truly Charmed ;)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why Expressive Outlets Are Important in Recovery

I have found that a healthy creative outlet where I can express myself has been a very important part of my recovery. I've noticed that a lot of addiction recovery centers offer art classes and other types of creative outlets to help in the recovery process. They might just be on to something here. A few words by The Addiction Recovery Guide describing (way better then I ever could) why being creative can be helpful in recovery (they also mention lots of other interesting and useful therapies like journaling, animal, music, hypnosis etc., definitely worth checking out :

The creative therapies can be very helpful in the process of recovery from addiction. They offer the opportunity to get in touch with the inner self and with the higher power and can provide a form of expression for feelings that cannot be easily identified or put into words. Through helping the person with an addiction connect with his/her more authentic self, the expressive therapies can help raise self-esteem and provide an opportunity to create new experiences beyond habitual and painful emotional patterns. The creative arts foster a renewed ability to relax without drugs or alcohol.

Ever since I began my recovery I remember wanting to be creative anyway I could. Some of the many things I enjoyed were drawing, coloring, knitting and my two favorites are writing/blogging and making healing trees. I do it because I absolutely love it and would be in heaven if I could actually make a living on it. I know you guys feel me right, its everybody dream to make a living doing something they love, something they are completely and truly passionate about. I am even lucky enough to have something be really helpful to my recovery.

When I get overwhelmed with my life, being creative can help me find peace and a serene state of mind. Its like all this emotional build up and blockage I can sometimes feel gets released. I've noticed this even more lately when I started doing my healing trees again. I had stopped for a while because I was having a hard time selling them and I just had so many made. Thankfully my aunt took them off my hands and put them in her shop and after a while I finally started wanting to make more that I could have with me to try to sell on my own again. In the end selling them isn't what matters, the wonderful feeling I get when making them is enough for me to keep at it (well until I run out of supplies since their not cheap Ill have to wait till I sell some to buy more).

My point here is to find some creative hobby you love to do because its has so many therapeutic benefits specially for someone in recovery. Find time for you and let your imagination free. It really does calm my mind and just puts me in an overall happier mood which makes me more patient and understanding.

If you want to take a look at my healing trees here's the link to my ebay page :) and the link the my healing trees facebook page