Journey's blog

When does it end?

It's a shame that our kids get so caught up with fitting into the crowd that they don't care how they abuse their bodies and minds. Even seeing a close friend suffer from substance abuse and watching them die, still doesn't bring the fear or reality into their souls that they are on the same path.

My heart is breaking hearing that I have a nephew and my cousin's son fighting cocaine and heroin. How dangerous is this? Their addiction didn't just start. They have been battling this disease for over five years.

My daughter, Lori, and her sister, Debbie, stayed by their father's side at the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island while he suffered slowly for a week at forty-five years of age from his young years of alcohol abuse. It was a family disease that just trickled down through his family.

Lori went into rehab three times, and she still didn't grab onto the help and her life. It's so sad to watch history repeat itself. I watched Lori's daughter at seventeen, the same age as her mother had been sitting by her dad's side, now sitting my her mother's bedside while she was in a coma on life-support. We all watched as they pulled the plug after all her organs shut down; no hope. A scene no one wants to ever witness with a loved one. I brought her life and heard her take her first breath. In 2006 at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, I had to watch her take her last.

Where and when does it end? Pain and hopelessness goes through the whole family. It seems like such a useless death when substance abusers don't realize they are not going to make it with this demon. No one thinks it will happen to them. They tell us that they have a hold on it. They can stop anytime. Everyone does it. It makes them feel good. They develop confidence with others.

We need to teach our kids at an early age to love themselves for who they are, no matter what they do or don't accomplish in their lives. We need them to not worry about their race, difference in faith, if they are over-weight or not as pretty as the next one. Teach them that they don't have to try to measure up to someone else. Be happy to work with what God gave them. He knew what they needed. He gave them the tools and the path, but too many of our children are turning down the wrong road. Too many are losing their future. Society is losing someone to help our country in our world of medicine. Someone to find answers to serious problems. Someone who was loved by family members no matter what wrong road they took.

How do we show our college kids that the other kids that they are following aren't really cool? They are not seeing a foolish person, who is not only sick, but someone seriously addicted. How do we teach them that a night of binge drinking, sex, or violent acts may seem like fun at the moment, but are things that will lead them to their death? Things that are brought on by over-drinking and taking drugs.
 

The Demon Returned

After I wrote Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis, I never would have believed after the pain and suffering from the loss of my husband, Richard Lopes of North Dighton, Massachusetts, that I would write the sequel, Please, God, Not Two: This Killer Called Alcoholism. Richard had ignored his addiction up until his death from cirrhosis of the liver in 1985.

The alcoholic demon wasn’t happy with just my husband, it returned to claim my youngest daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill also of North Dighton. My story will bring a parent, who has lost a child to this horrible disease, to feel the emotions and sense of helplessness that accompanies a child’s death from substance addictions, even though the afflicted has the control over their outcome. But that doesn't mitigate the feelings of regret and self-doubt that a parent will assuredly feel. Loved ones will be left with the question, "What could I have done differently to save the life that was needlessly wasted?"

The story details the tortured life of a mother coming to terms with the fact her daughter is following in her father's deadly footsteps. The book opens with the lives of her two daughters months after their father's death.

Many devastating things that happen in a child’s life lead up to their drinking, taking drugs, and becoming bulimic. I open up with the honest look back to these events: my juggling three jobs to make ends meet, and my oldest daughter Debbie’s marriage to her high school sweetheart. Lori's life turns to stages of struggling with skipping school and drinking, and after graduation, she moved in with her boyfriend. My decision for her to terminate a pregnancy added to Lori's pain and to the distance between her and myself.

Lori's life would see a series of joyful highs and desperate lows over the next several years with marriage, the birth of her two children and a successful career at the Lopes Construction Company in Taunton, MA, a family owned business. Her financial problems and a strained marriage ended in divorce. Her frustration from a husband not maintaining child support, left Lori barely able to provide basic food and clothing for her children.

Her fight to control her drinking would become more apparent during her second marriage. Lori and her new husband enjoyed frequent parties with friends and family, and I couldn't help noticing how drinking to excess was routine at these events. While another marriage crumbled, Lori stressed with health issues, and it contributed to three stays at alcohol rehab clinics, once at Butler Hospital in Providence, RI and twice at Gosnold in Falmouth, MA.

On November 22,2006, two days before Thanksgiving, Lori died at the age of thirty-nine from her years of drinking at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, MA. It wasn’t until she was thirty-seven that Lori informed her family she had been secretly over-drinking her whole teenage years and fighting being bulimic. We thought her weight-loss had been from the stress of drinking, losing her house, her job, and having a car repossessed. She hid her pain and habit from all of us.

As a parent, there are no words to show the distress of witnessing Lori’s battle with her addiction. I knew with no doubt what was waiting for my daughter if her rehab stays were unsuccessful. I opened up about the guilt I felt for not noticing the signs of alcoholism sooner, and I fully admit to my mistakes and regrets.

Writing this honest memoir had not been easy so soon after Lori's death. Please God, Not Two works as a stand alone, however I recommend you read both books to obtain the full effect of this poignant story. This is a candid look into alcoholism. I made no excuses for myself or my daughter. I wrote with the best of intentions to help others struggling to save a family member caught in the relentless grip of this disease. I present the facts with my own experiences which were described with a desperate honesty to show the pain and suffering that goes on within an alcoholic family.

I added my private speaking engagements to the substance abusers in the privacy of addiction rehabs, court-ordered programs, and half way homes to the book. The sequel is also an inside look to what doesn’t work for families trying to get the alcoholic to stop drinking.

I could have easier titled my book “What Not to Do” with trying to help someone get out of denial. It includes my advice to family members on how I would have done it differently today if I could have turned back the clock.

Review by Tom Cirignano, author of "The Constant Outsider, Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic" and "67 Cents: Creation of a Killer"

People who drink and feel the slow progression of this disease, must be given this book. Maybe if they see how their drinking will destroy not only their own life, but the lives of those who love them, they may just find the strength to alter the destructive path they are on. My heart goes out to the author, Alberta Sequeira, her husband Al, and her entire family. Alberta somehow found the will to not only go on, but to try and prevent others from having to experience the same nightmare. As painful as it must have been, I salute her for sharing her story.

Hunter House Publishing in California is now reviewing my upcoming book titled “What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict: In Their Own Words. This will be a book, not only for the substance abusers, but for family members, society, doctors, and counselors to learn, not only what the addict is looking for with support to help them through with their recovery, but new ways to help the addicted. You will learn that childhood emotional wounds mold us into what we become in adulthood.

My books are available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle. For me to speak at any of your events, and to businesses trying to stop the absentee list that climbs from alcohol abuse, contact me at [email protected] for a quote. Visit my blog that is update constantly on substance abuse at www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com.
 

The Merry-G0-Round Effect with Substance Abuse

Many of us have had a spouse or family member arrive home after a few too many drinks and needed to make up excuses for them occasionally with over-drinking. Imagine if this was a daily occurrence.

I wrote Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis because this has become a way of life for too many families all over the world. Waiting, worrying, and watching the clock, wondering when, and in what state, a spouse or a family member, would finally come home, and then we try to hide it all from neighbors, family and the children.

For seventeen years, I existed every day as I dealt with my husband, Richard Lopes' alcohol abuse living in North Dighton, Massachusetts. I had witnessed how alcohol abuse changed him from a loving family man with a successful business to a careless, angry, abusive drunk.

My memoir had been written like dramatic fiction and is a fast paced, tension-filled account of a woman's tireless effort to keep her family together, her two children safe and to protect her own mental and physical well being. She gave an honest telling of life married to an alcoholic-a life filled with sadness, fear, confusion, pain and despair.

I didn't believe in divorce and was too proud to seek help from my parents, deciding to go it alone. Several times it seemed liked Richard was ready to quit his devastating lifestyle and commit fully to being a good partner and devoted father, only to have him fall back to his alcoholic ways. This rollercoaster life took its toll on me, plaguing me with frequent panic attacks and eventually bringing me to the brink of a small breakdown. I had pushed my mind and body beyond what it could take with no changes in our life.

Through arguments, unpaid bills, violent rage, emotional abuse and neglect, I kept hope that my husband would eventually realize he had a problem, and seek treatment. He always believed he was just having a few drinks with his buddies after a hard day's work.

I took my share of the blame for all the times I kicked him out and took him back, becoming a great enabler, which only brought him deeper into his addiction. For two months we had counseling together as a couple at the AA center in Taunton until Richard continued to believe he had no problem. I had private counseling on my own for four years while he kept drinking.

I fought with all my faith in God to save our marriage, because I didn’t believe in divorce. I divorced a man I still loved in 1979, to only see Richard continued to drink, and he died in 1985 at forty-five years of age at the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island from the damage done to his body from a lifetime of drinking since he had been a teenager. His family had a history of alcohol abusers back through the years. 

I swallowed my pride and wrote the book to open up about our lives that had been kept behind closed doors, while my two daughters and I suffered in silence. Readers will see how my enabling, and not protecting our two daughters by getting them out of that sick environment, had damage our children for life. I believe this book could be of great help to alcoholics, their families and even counselors.

Does this life sound familiar? Visit my blog for alcohol abuse topics at www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com.

Review:
My Master’s Degree in Counseling covered a huge portion on substance abuse counseling. I found that I learned a great deal more by reading this story, than I did in reading textbooks. Someone Stop this Merry-Go-Round is a must read for counselors, alcoholics and family members of alcoholics. by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

The book can be purchased at Amazon. It's availabe in paperback and Kindle. I am available to speak on “The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Family” at your event. Contact me at [email protected] for a quote.
 

Is it because it's too hard?

Is there ever going to be an answer on how to help addicts? I don’t want to give up on hope after losing my daughter, Lori.

In April, I found out that my nephew has been struggling for five years to over-come his addiction to heroin. Because I had just lost Lori to her addiction, my family wanted to spare me the pain of hearing about this repeated addiction. My cousin’s son has been in the same situation for years.

Why are our children turning to drugs and alcohol abuse? Why do they need this substance to make them feel happy, become more out-going, or use it as a way of getting confidence to fit into society and with their friends?

It seems our children, including the adults, don’t want to face their problems head-on and live their lives to the fullest. Prescription drugs are passed out by doctors like candy. If you are depressed or have a pain mentally or physically, the medicine only numbs you. It doesn‘t solve the problem that is eating away at you. No one wants to know how to deal with the suffering or talk it out with a professional to reach recovery without pills or alcohol. 

Last summer, I went to talk to my cousin’s son and hoped my words of experience with the lost of Lori and my husband, Richie, would have given him the strength to fight for his life. I can’t count how many times since then that he had fallen.

While my nephew was in Gosnold Rehabilitation in Falmouth, I called to see if I could give a talk, and I was denied. The reason was because he was a family member, and they didn’t think it would be a good idea. Were they serious? What does it matter? What better time to reach out to a loved one than when they are in recovery? 

We desperately need to change things and do what is best for the addict instead of being run by rules that are not working. This disease is so out-of-control that our society and families are losing people who could offer so much to this world. Instead, we have sick alcoholics and drug addicts who can’t even function to get through a day without being in a fog.

Is all this because recovery is too hard to work for to get to the goal?   

 

Is There Really Life After Death?

Why do parents or loved ones spend so many years thinking of the ifs or whys after a person’s death, until the loss over-whelms us? I received a call this week from a recovered addict who had contributed her story in my new book What is and isn‘t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict: In Their Own Words (waiting for an agent or publisher to believe in the book and publish it).

After a two hour conversation, this total stranger became a friend. She had been a counselor years before and brought up how much I talked about the loss of my daughter, Lori. Of course, tears were ready to burst. The pain was burning in my throat, and it hurt. Crying heals. Instead of releasing the agony of loss, I seem to hold back.

November 22, 2013 will be seven unbelievable years that we lost our daughter from her alcohol abuse. You’d think time would heal. You’d think with my private and public speaking engagements, my book signings, and publishing two books on our private lives behind closed doors, that I’d be healed by now.

Many people ask me, “Did your writing help with your loss?” See, we never heal after losing a child. I have been struggling all these years trying to learn how to go on with the empty gap in my heart knowing Lori will never be present with her laughter or smiles in my life ever again.

Talking about Lori has been very difficult for me. I fill up and wonder if I can continue the conversation. This stranger, became very concern with me.

She said, “I can hear in your voice that you still can’t forgive yourself with Lori’s death. She had choices, and you did the best you could at the time with what you knew. Not forgiving yourself is like an infection inside that has heal or it becomes poison. Going on this long with guilt can bring on a heart attack, cancer or other diseases. Promise me you’ll get help with this.”

I hung up and had that good cry. I started to think of the stranger’s honesty with how I’m still blaming myself with Lori’s death when she had three chances in alcoholic rehabilitation centers and family struggled to help her. Nothing we did helped her recover.

I sat alone in prayer and asked Lori to forgive me for the missed opportunities I might have had to help her and that I loved her. I finally had to let go and believe in God’s promises of having a place for all of us when we go home to Him.

In 1939, my parents lost my brother, Walter, when he was seven years old from Polio (story in A Spiritual Renewal; A Journey to Medjugorje). Mom had a breakdown from the pain. In the early 1980’s I watched my father, who was a retired Brigadier General, who had always been in control, breakdown in front of me crying and remarked, “I told Walter that I would never take him to the park again because he was misbehaving, and I never did.” Dad looked at me with tears rolling down his face, “It’s been forty-five years, and I still can’t forgive myself.”  My mother said the same to him, “I’ll never take you shopping again." How many of us say that to our child? Until I had lost Lori, I couldn’t imagine that kind of pain. 

Why do we have to let go? My parents told me what happened unexpectedly to them to let go of Walter’s death some twenty years later (story in A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje).

My parents were watching television in bed, and Dad looked over at my mother. He told me that her face lit-up under her skin like someone put a flashlight under it. Her lips were moving, but he couldn’t hear what she was saying. She was looking up at the corner of the ceiling.

When the light faded, he asked her what happened. She replied, “I just spoke to Jesus. He was in a cloud in the corner of the ceiling, but I couldn‘t see Him. He said we had to stop crying, because our tears were holding Walter back from going to Him. Walter wanted to comfort my parents, yet he was unable to go to God. Imagine, twenty years!

Days later, they went with my sister to Walter’s grave site in Worcester, Massachusetts. They dug a small whole and placed something inside it and said, “Now he won’t be alone!”

So now, I have to say goodbye to Lori with love and know I will see and be with her again. Like my friend said, “I have to know in my heart that I couldn’t save her.”  Until I feel that with no doubt, I will go on punishing myself for something that was completely out of my hands with her refusing help. I don’t want her to be in limbo with the struggle of going home to God. I’m sure there will be moments of tears again; when her daughter and son get married or something special happens. I have to look at the good gifts that came out of a bad event; a death of a child.

The good? God gave me thirty-nine years with a beautiful daughter inside and out, who had loved with all her heart, enjoyed her family and friends, and gave us Meagan and Joe. She laughed easily and was a good mother, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and daughter. We are all a gift to someone from God. We belong to only Him, and He will call each of us home. We have to trust that Jesus had a reason to take them. Heaven is the only place that our departed ones find peace and happiness?

With Lori’s death, I became an Awareness Coach to speak privately and publicly to other with the effect of alcoholism on the whole family. God is leading me on a path that I have to follow. My gift is when a substance abuser comes up to me with a hug and says, “I’m glad you came to talk.” Maybe, just maybe, I’ll save someone living in denial, and they will have the true desire and strength to get help.

Do You Go Traditional or Self-Publishing?

     If you are an author, you know the hard decision to either self-publish your work or wait months, or longer, to hook a traditional publisher. I am ready to make that decision with my fifth book What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic or Addict: In Their Own Words. Being my fifth book coming up and after having had all four self-published, you might wonder, why is she in limbo making a decision?    

     Well, money is one great factor. When an author has multiple books out you have to not only "pay" to print your book with self-publishing, you have to purchase hundreds of your own books to book sign, do talks, go to festival and so forth. The well does run dry, unless you have "a book" or multiple ones that are on the number one hit list.    

     I am more concern with a decision because with this new book, which is a Narrative Non-Fiction, it is written by 34 recovery addicts who had opened up their hearts to tell their private life with their recovery programs. I want to do good by them. At the moment, I have Hunter House reading my book proposal and an agent reading my manuscript, which is a first with getting any attention with a publisher and agent. I guess you could call it "Frosting on the Cake" for an author.

     Then I started to wonder; is it the frosting? Going to a workshop last week run by an agent, I had to re-think my thoughts when she explained the percentage that the agent, publishing house and distributor takes before the author gets "maybe" 3% royalties. If you get upfront money to promote (sometimes $5,000), you may not see a royalty for over two years until the loan is paid back to the publisher. If the book is not moving by six months, the publisher can pull the book and stop print. No matter which way you go, the author does 90% promoting and marketing.

     At the moment, I'm giving myself two or three months to see what comes out of the people reviewing my work, on top of the 20-30 publishers and other agents I wrote to introducing my new book. We all may feel our book is great and has a message or we wouldn't write it. The hook is to get the publisher or agent believe in it.

     What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic or Addict may become an educational book to doctors, counselor, other addicts, and family members to read to learn what the addicts are trying to say did or didn't help them with their programs. They are also telling what family members need to do to support them during this time.

      I had another author, Alice J. Wisler, write me because she had a traditional publisher and is going to self-publish now. Of course, it only confused me a little more with a decision.  Below is her answer to me.

     "My first novel, Rain Song, sold over 40,000 print copies in the first year. I did virtually nothing to promote sales online because I was not part of Goodreads, not on Facebook or Twitter, or any other social media group at the time of its publication (2008). Bethany House promoted me as a brand new author of theirs and must have put a lot of money into getting me out there. I received a nice advance (well above the average for a first time novelist) which I made back within the year due to book sales being strong.

     "I will be self-publishing my third cookbook of memories this summer. I like the self-pub process. I like having control, and once the printing costs are paid off (I plan to use a printer as I have before) and all the other costs that go along with having a print book published, I look forward to earning from it and not having to wait for royalty checks to come quarterly or bi-annually from a traditional publisher.

     "Yes, I do like the control, but of course, I won't have the following that go along with signing a contract with a reputable publisher:
* a nice advance check
* the advantage of a publishing house's publicist promoting me and lining up book events and radio shows
* somebody editing my work for me for free
* copies of my book sent out via the publisher for reviews, contests, etc.
* my publisher buying ad space in magazines to promote my work
* marketing perks like bookmarks, postcards, posters and other items
* my publisher doing the leg work to get my work into stores like LifeWay, Sam's Club, Walmart, Family Christian, etc.
* my publisher promoting my books at events like the annual International Christian Retail Show

     "The thrill of signing a contract with a reputable publisher is unlike any other and I would do it again . . . and again . . . ."

Alice J. Wisler
http://www.alicwisler.com






 

Repeating Old Behaviors

How many swear each year to give up a habit we know is not only bad for ourselves but the people around us? Maybe you get up and promise yourself that today is going to be different. No more drinks. I don’t fully understand this thinking as much as an alcoholic would.

It’s sad how an addicted person won’t realize this action of going back without being able to stop is going to kill them. No one believes it will happen to them. My daughter, Lori, and her father, didn’t and either did I think I’d be in the books of losing loved ones from this killer.
Getting and staying sober has to be one of the most difficut task any substance abuser has to face. The work must be so hard that they choose to give in and drink again.

I think the unknown frightens many. First, make the choice to stop. You want to survive, you have to believe in your goal. To change, you have to break your habit of location and friends. That will be the hardest, because that is where you are most comfortable. Why? Because they are doing the same and you tell yourself that it’s not wrong, although, deep down you know it is.

Willpower alone is not enough to get you to change your habit. You need professional help …. and you “want” the help. Some people don’t like the pain, fear and struggle getting sober so you continue.

Take tiny steps; admit you have a problem, want the change, break from your friends and keep away from the locations that bring it on. Call an alcoholic rehabilitation center and get admitted. Then take time to pray and bring the spiritual gifts to help you. Open up to your family about your hurts and let them into your counseling. Don’t hide the problems within family because it is a family disease.

Then let go and put it in God’s hands and open up to the medical team to help you.

 

Medjugorje Visionary meets Author

On April 12, 2013, Alberta Sequeira, a four-time award winning author and Awareness Coach, of Rochester, Massachusetts, went to the event “A Night With Our Lady of Medjugorje and Ivan Dragicevic” at the St. Nicholas of Myra Catholic Church on Spring Street in North Dighton, Massachusetts.

Ms. Sequeira had been a former North Dighton resident for over thirty years, living on School Street as a teenager, and got married to Richard Lopes, and they lived on Old Somerset Avenue with their daughters, Debbie and Lori. 


Alberta presented Ivan and his interpreter, Ann, an autographed book of her memoir A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje.  In 1998, she had received a calling from Our Lady to travel on a ten day pilgrimage to Medjugorje, a tiny, remote village in Bosnia.  She met four visionaries and witnessed two out of the six having their daily apparitions with Our Lady, and Ivan was one of them who she had followed during the week.

“I would never have thought that I’d come home from my trip, write about my experiences with miracles that took me to those holy grounds, and my spiritual changes that brought me back to my faith and the Church.  My greatest and unexpected blessing will forever be fifteen years later, handing Ivan my life story of Medjugorje from the eyes of a lost soul coming home.”    

Ms. Sequeira has gone to three events to see Ivan in Fall River, New Bedford and Medway, Massachusetts to see him during his apparitions.  No matter where Ivan is in the world, at exactly 6:40 p.m., Our Lady appears to him.  The Blessed Mother has been appearing to the six visionaries since 1981, and She has one more secret out of ten to give to two visionaries, before they will be revealed to the world.

It was the first event that Alberta had seen where Ivan stayed and greeted every person until the last one left church.  He and Ann were very personable.  Ivan stayed and talked about how Our Lady moves and looks during his apparitions.  After Our Lady appeared to him, he stated that there are many times that it takes him a few hours to adjust coming back to Earth.   
Alberta feels that her greatest gift being in the presence of Ivan with his apparitions is absorbing the mystical act that Our Lady is actually coming down from Heaven and being in the same location She is occupying.  Mary blesses each one who goes to the events with Ivan.

On April 10, Alberta went to the St. Nicholas of Myra Church hall to see the introduction of a video on Medjugoje that Father Paul Fedak ran for the public.  Ms. Sequeira did a talk on her trip to Medjugorje and book signed.

Alberta is available to do a talk and book sign at your church or any event.  Her topics can range from her trip to Medjugorje, A Spiritual Change Within or The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Family after she lost her husband, Richard, and daughter, Lori, to alcohol addiction.  

Alberta can be contacted for a quote at (508) 763-5902 for events. Her email is [email protected] Visit her website at www.albertasequeira.com or blog www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com.



 

Welcome Change

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can rob you of who you actually are. The addicted forget the once happy, loving person that they once were, or the silly family moments that they cherished. Everyone is still there waiting for you to return to the fold, you just lost your way. Addicted demons are alert to all the weak who are going down his path. He has no soul, so pity, or no heart. He robs you of hope, strength, and the reason to live.

You lose your way because of who you hang around with, because they will never support you to give your addiction up. In fact, they make you believe that you will never get sober. You fall victim to others trying to drag you down with them. Yes, misery loves company.

Opportunities that come your way with counselors, doctors, rehabilitation, detox locations, are pushed out of your world. You lost your belief in yourself. Fear over-rides your hope. Think about what keeps you stuck. You can change. How? By taking the first step; tiny ones, at least you are moving toward your goal.

The person you are now, is not the person inside. You are buried with a disease. Instead, you think it's you who is bad. You believe others are above you, when they're not. You turn friends and family members away, when they are the ones who love and want to help you.

Stop destroying yourself. Only you can fight this battle. Believe me, if parents could get inside their loved ones body to save them, they would. We love by enabling and only bring you deeper into your addiction. Don't throw away your opportunities that are waiting for you. Push fear aside and walk through that door.    

The Key Points To Denial

What a substance abuser needs to do is slow down, take time to be alone, and do an honest study on their daily lives.

First: look at your behavior. Be aware of your actions everyday when you wake up, during the day and your nighttime amusement. What do you do that you consider to be fun? Who do you hang around with for this “so called” entertainment? Do you miss your old friends who you laughed and had good times with without the use of alcohol or drugs?

Second: Mean what you say you want. Do your actions follow your desire to get sober? Are you willing to struggle to get a clean life without using? Start a journal and see what your pattern is with drinking. There is no question about getting sober; you need to break away from the people who are using with you. Stop meeting the suppliers.

Third: Start to notice what you feel you need to survive, and get to the reality of what you actual need. Hold onto the AA and Narcotic meetings, get a sponsor, hang out with the addicts who truly want help; not the ones going to meetings to find out where to get the drinks or drugs, or the ones who go to keep people off their backs.

Fourth: Do you have any standards left in your life; by this, I mean morals. Are you stealing from your family or friends? Are you constantly lying to people? Are you not putting you heart and soul into school studies to have a future, or doing your responsibilities at work to keep your job, or are you throwing your life away?

Fifth: Look back to your dreams of a future when you were growing up. Did you want a good paying job, respect, a home, a decent car, a family? Are you on that path or is it something that you accepted that is completely out of your reach? Are you leading the same life your addicted parents did; the one you swore not to repeat in your life?

Sixth: Face your fears head-on. It takes more of a person to say you need help, than to keep going down a dead end path to keep up with friends, or staying stuck with fear that you can’t pull yourself out of the suffering you are going through? The way fear gets less is to start the process of change. It’s the “thinking” about a giving up a lifestyle that keeps us frozen to do anything. Think of doing something as being better than doing nothing.

Seventh: Bring back your positive roots with your character. Remember back to the happy person you once were, the giving and support you offered to others; the true, solid friendships, and the family unity. The good side of you is still there. You need to believe in yourself again. Don’t let your drinking friends pull you down and lose your confidence that you won’t stick to getting clean.

Eighth: Make a list and number them on what pulls you in the direction of using. Is it something from the past with someone who drank in your family? Did a stranger abuse you? Are you being bullied in school? Where you always knocked down verbally or physically? Whatever, the reason, face the problem and get help. Are you going to let these people who hurt you steal your life from you?

If you can, lean on your family for help. I realize some addicts don’t have support at home. Don’t use that as an excuse. Get the help outside the family. If you are underage, look to school counseling. If you are eighteen or over, sign in to dry yourself out in detox and continue the help as an out or in-house patient. If you have no health coverage, ask doctors or the professional counselors how you can get financial aid. Don’t depend on the usual ten day programs in a substance abuse rehabilitation. This is your battle for your life. This disease will kill.

Ninth: Family has to talk about the past. Too many addicts die because they can’t open up. Don’t let this demon make you another number. Get a positive attitude and desire. Do it for you! It won’t work if you do it for someone else.

I'm not an alcoholic, but losing my husband and daughter from their addiction made me realize what a hard road the substance abusers have to face. That’s why I lost my family members. They let the demons from the past keep them from recovering. They both refused to talk about the past or let family members into their counseling. You have to talk about your pain and fears, or you will die like all the other alcoholics and drug addicts who lived in denial.

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