Christmas has different meanings to all of us. I love this picture of the candles. It’s a time for peace and love. Those feelings come over me seeing the light flickering.
Most of all, Christmas is Jesus. His birth to save us. Bring Him in your life. You won’t feel alone. Just open your hearts. Forget the gifts under the tree for a moment and remember what “Christ”..mas is all about for us.
Let Christmas and New Years be a safe holiday for all of you. Keep close to the people that love you. If you’re fighting your addiction, be with friends and family that don’t use. This is where you get high.
Both my husband, Al, and myself, wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. It's a time to be thankful for what we have had through the year.
Sometimes, we aren't blessed with sharing our holiday with loved ones. Families maybe in different states and some of us might have lost loved ones. November 22, 2016 made ten years my daughter, Lori, has been gone from dying of cirrhosis of the liver from years of drinking. It doesn't seem possible that many years have passed.
The gap is always there opening gifts, seeing her children, having a lump in my throat hearing Christmas songs, and sitting around the dinning room table having a holiday meal. Her seat is empty again for another year.
I have to be thankful that we have our other children, grandchildren, a great-grandchild with another one due in May of 2017. God does bless us. We can't question his reasons on why he calls others home, and many too early in their life. He is a loving God. Our loved ones chose to go down this path. That does not ease the pain and it's not easy to say.
They are still with us. Our Blessed Mother in Medjugorje in Bosnia let one of the six visionaries see her Mom on her birthday, three months after she had died. She not only saw her but she spoke to her. The mother said, "I see you each and everyday, and I'm proud of you."
So remember, they do see us in a beautiful and peaceful world above us. They are no longer in suffering. Try to love and forgive.
My book A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje is a wonderful memoir showing the love in a family and miracles that bring me to Medjugorje after three miracles happened to me. My books are in paperback and Kindle. Go to my site:https://amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
Hopefully, my books will be like potato chips....you start on one and want to finish them all. As always, I welcome and love reviews on Amazon.
I will went to Durfee High School for only Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 10am-4pm. Sunday, I had other plans. Not a bad day. My best part with selling books is meeting people. So many want to share their lives with the topic of substance abuse in their families. The sad part is hearing, way too often, that the result was the death of their loved one.
The best book of the day was What is and isn't Working for the Alcoholic and Addict. Reason being, we as family members, counselors or married partners want to know what substance abusers want from us to help them seek professional help. Read the book, and leave it for them without any lectures. "I read this great book and thought you might enjoy it. Make sure you give it back when you're done." The contributors talk to them, not us.
Thirty-four alcoholic and drug user, from The United States and Canada, along with people abusing prescription drugs, tell their honest stories. Two women started drinking at five and seven years old from watching their parents. Another drank ginger ale and walked around falling to mimic parents actions at parties at home being drunk.
Learn how the mindset is with substance abusers. See how our innocent enabling only brings them deeper into their alcohol or drug abuse. Read what you do in your early years is what and who you become as an adult.
Remember Christmas is coming and a book added to a gift is a joy to someone and also educational! Facing the problem together is the start of healing and recovery.
Go to my site: https://amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
Hopefully, my books will be like potato chips....you start on one and want to finish them all. As always, I "love reviews."
You voted. Hopefully, I'm wrong and our new law doesn't add to our drug and alcohol problems. I'm sure for those who want to get high will find the locations to supply their thrills.
I hope you remember Marijuana is another step closer to heavier drugs. None of us think bad things will happen to us. They occur with others. We think we are protected.
I thought the same with my daughter, Lori, drinking. It's a stage. She'll give it up. After three rehabs, she died. November 24, 2016, will mark ten years we have lost our beautiful daughter.
She thought taking the light smokes were just helping a happy time with her friends. She added the alcohol and who knows what else.
Lori, feared dying like her father. She was by his side at the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island with cirrhosis of the liver when he died at forty-five years of age. She lost hers at thirty-nine.
I'm trying to open your eyes to addiction, whether drugs or alcohol abuse. Is it worth it? Do you need to take things into your body that will kill you? Are you that bored and desperate for friends that you have to follow the crowd?
If your actions are causing problems in your life and those around you, stop..............think of it getting worse.
Email: [email protected]
I'd like to tell you about my book A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje. Men may look at my book as "girly." It's far from the truth.
It's about my relationship with my father, Brigadier General, Albert L. Gramm, before he died in 1990 from cancer. He had been one of the commanding officers for the 26th Yankee Division during WWII, fighting in some famous battles like, Lorraine, Metz and The Battle of the Bulge.
What do all children from military families do? We don't ask questions about our loved ones who served in the service..any branch. When they are dying, we realize we let history go without knowing who they were and what they sacrificed for us.
I saw the religious side of my father his last 2 weeks of life, while he struggled to concentration on his rosary. I learned...too late, that he had promised The Blessed Mother that if she got him home safely to his family after the war, he would say the rosary the rest of his life. That was why it was so important for him to hold the beads in his hands.
My sister led the prayer when he couldn't say them. It was in my forties that I learned this beautiful prayer for the first time since getting a rosary after First Communion. It's a story of Jesus and Mary's life. I have his rosaries and I say them daily. They were the ones that I had taken in 1998 to Medjugorje, and a year later, the chain turned gold.
I wrote about the testimonies from other veterans who served with him or knew him. They talked about the reality of war. War in foreign countries that we pray do not happen on our land of the USA. With todays way of life, and the threats hanging from other countries, it could happen.
I end by writing about the three miracles that happened to me to bring me to Medjugorje in Bosnia. A trip my father wanted to make hoping for his miracle but became too weak. It's there in that tiny, remote village, and after seeing four out of six visionaries having apparitions with Our Lady (since 1981 and still daily) that I returned to my lost faith. It doesn't matter which denomination you belong to, miracles are happening to millions who make the trip to this holy place. It brought God back into my life. I realized that I not only needed Him, but I want Him.
It's a story of love, miracles and family. It's a book for all. Christmas is not that far off. It would be a great book to put in someone's stockings!
My other books are a gift to a loved one fighting their alcohol or drug addiction. Family members are struggling to help when recoveries are slow. They are books for all.
Go to my site: https://amazon.com/author/albertasequeira
Hopefully, my books will be like potato chips....you start on one and want to finish them all!! ***As always, I love reviews.
Email: [email protected]
Addiction can come in many forms, whether it be substance abuse, weight problems, cigarettes, to nail bitting. I'm sure I've left a ton of other habits out.
I want to talk today about cigarettes. Above is a picture of my twin brother, Albert. He looks healthy in the picture. Not today. I hate to put the picture up that I took of him at a rehabilitation center in Boynton Beach Florida a week ago. If I did post it, maybe it would scare the living hell out of smokers...or they would look at it and say..."Not me."
My brother turned 75 years old last year in this picture. Maybe it's because I love him, but he sure doesn't look it. Today, suffering from lung cancer and fighting for his life, he looks old and deathly sick. He is showing his bones and can't walk.
It broke my heart to no end losing my husband, Richie and my daughter, Lori, to their alcohol abuse. Now I'm watching my dearest friend, my brother, suffering and I can't do a thing to help him. Losing a brother is painful enough, but he is my twin. The memories throughout our lifetime growing up can't be beat.
To show how addiction gets a hold of you or you think you can beat the odds, Albert had the first episode of lung cancer in 1990, and had a first time treatment of its kind at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He was living in Stoughton, MA at the time.
A Japanese doctor completely cured him. They brought doctors from Japan to look at him and the treatment. Being cured was a gift, but Albert thought he was safe to continue. His voice was raspy and deep.
For 26 years he continued until it caught up to him. Now, he can't talk above a whisper. I can't count the times that I begged him to quit for just the reason that ended him fighting for his life.
For some reason, as humans, we think the terrible things we hear that happens to others will not hit us. We feel we are in control of the problem. His remark to me one day was, "We all have to die somehow." Looking at him in a hospital bed so sickly, I wonder if he wishes he had flushed those dam cigarettes down the toilet?
So to those who read this and are smoking, please, don't say, "It won't happen to me." It takes years to have the demon attack you with your organs and shut them down. It could be cancer of the tongue, lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder or other places. Don't wait for it to happen and then you give them up. Do it NOW!
God didn't make our bodies so that it needs smoke inside for it to survive. If you could see your insides with the damage you are doing to it, the black covering all over your organs, I wonder if you would still go on lighting up that cigarette.
Cigarette manufacturers know just what they are doing; like drug dealers passing out the heroine and other drugs to keep our kids and others doped up. It's about money. Their money. You can drop dead tomorrow and they would not have an ounce of regret that you left your children behind, parents, husband or daughter.
Why can't people live their lives without needing something to put them on a high or drown their mental problems by not getting help? Please, please, stop and think of what you are doing to yourself. Live the life God wanted you to live.
We are doing the same thing with the air with pollution. Yes, a different topic, but the same problem. "WE" are the ones who can stop the addiction to ourselves and our surroundings. Stop meeting the drug dealers on the corner, stop buying cigarettes that will kill you. It's advertised on the package so take it seriously. It's not a joke. The manufacturers put it on the package to save themselves....not you.
Keep Albert, and every person suffering with addiction in any form, in your prayers. We who don't use think it is easy to stop, but not the addicted.
Did you find this helpful? Contact me: [email protected]
I love to hear from people with your opinions!
Last month I read “Marijuana linked to fatal crashes” in the AAA Horizons newspaper. It states, “A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that fatal crashes involving drivers who had recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug in late 2012.” This is not the first state who had legalized this drug and experienced fatal accidents that led to an innocent person’s life or the user from marijuana.
The article also states, “Some states have enacted limits that make it illegal to drive with a certain concentration of the drug’s active ingredient in one’s blood.” Why legalize a drug and then it has to be watched on how much is too much? It is impossible for the police to know when a person is getting into a car and decide they should not be behind the wheel. They find out once the accident happens and lives are taken. People at the location watching the user don’t notify the police because they say, “Oh, they can drive, they’re okay.” That is reality.
Marijuana is illegal in 26 states while four states, including Washington, have legalized it for recreational use. The remaining 20 states, including New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, have legalized it for medial use. I believe in this drug being ordered by a doctor for someone with a serious health problem that can be controlled or bring comfort to their pain.
Massachusetts will soon be voting on passing marijuana into the legal stage for our state. I hope everyone takes the time to think with a clear mind about passing this law.
I lost my husband, Richard Lopes, and my daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill of North Dighton from alcohol abuse. From my losses, I became an author writing books about the effect of alcoholism on the whole family and the reality of the life behind closed doors living with an alcoholic. I also became a motivational speaker on addiction and entered halfway homes, substance abuse rehabilitation centers and court-ordered programs to not only talk to the patients, but listen to their reasons for starting on alcohol and drug abuse.
A high percentage of the users admitted to starting out with marijuana. Their friends pushed the drug on them claiming how wonderful you feel. One man told me that he could not understand why he was in a drug facility for only using marijuana. I told him that if it was not a problem, he wouldn’t be there and he should take advantage being with professionals and look at it as a chance to break the habit before it went into heavier drugs.
Substance abuse is a worldwide problem that even doctors and counselors are trying to find ways to get the death rate down from the use. If families have no one fighting addiction, this new law coming up may be looked at as “What harm can it do, especially if it helps a sick person?” There is the difference, the use for the sick or pass it out to anyone for what they call “recreation.”
If you are on the other side of a family member, who is or has slowly watched a loved one killing themselves with alcohol and drug abuse, you look at this law as another drug that could become a suicidal weapon for our children, a parent, a relative, or a friend.
Like most states, they look at certain things to pass that will bring in money. The states who have passed this law have already had articles written on how the use of marijuana has brought in billions of dollars for them. Yes, billions! This reason is why the use is being pushed to pass instead of fearing what it may do to a person using it. It’s all about money from my outlook.
Any drug leads to another one that is needed to make it stronger and stronger. Alcoholics drink a certain amount of liquor until they realize that they need more to make them get higher into a stage they call “relaxed.” The more the addicted use and the longer, they reach the point of not being able to stop. Another family is burying a loved one from addiction.
Do you ever hear the expression, “We are just a number?” No one is looked at as a human being anymore whether being in a job or someone struggling to get sober. A patient may enter numerous times into rehabs and hospitals and have left the professionals watching them go out the door saying, “They will be back.” Why not say,
“We have to find a way to help this poor soul fighting for sobriety?”
Please, think clearly and intelligently, when you go to vote on this issue. Once you pass the use of Marijuana, the law is here to stay. Leave it in the doctor’s hands on who needs marijuana and who doesn’t for health reasons.
Email: [email protected]
Feeling alone is such an empty hole, whether you are the alcoholic or someone who loves them.
It's hard as a parent, loving your child, to see they can't find their way out of their habit of addiction, when you can. If only we could climb into their bodies and do the work. Deep down you know they don't like living this way, but fear keeps them from reaching out.
They are too embarrassed by so many falls and letting everyone down, they would rather stay at a distance. They avoid their dearest friends or siblings because they seem to have their life together, while they feel like losers.
The alcohol and drugs make their minds see other things than what we do. We see the inner person. People never lose that, it's just hidden from sight. People loving a substance abuser knows the wonderful personality the alcoholic had, the wit, laughter, hard worker, and loving parent themselves.
We remember them going to work everyday to put food on the table, having a home, a car, a decent job, sitting up reading to their children, loving them, teaching them their homework and spending playful times with them.
They want to reach out to all of the fun times again, but feel stuck. I say, "Take one step a day. Don't overwhelm yourself in frightful moments and lack of faith." You are really not alone. If only you could feel it. You're just too blind to see it.
Did you find this helpful? Go to my website for autographed books: www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com
Contact: [email protected]
Apex Reviews: Thanks for joining us for this interview, Alberta. We’re looking forward to sharing more about your book and other efforts with our readers.
What inspired you to compile this rather eye-opening treatise on the lives of addicts in recovery?
Alberta Sequeira: My writing on addiction started from the tragedy of losing my husband, Richard Lopes and my daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill from North Dighton, Massachusetts from their own alcohol abuse. I wrote my books because I felt there was something important to share with substance abusers and their families. Alcohol and drug abuse is so out-of-control that even the professionals are having a hard time trying to find ways to stop the yearly death-rate from climbing. I feel that adults and our children have lost their way in learning how to handle their pain and separating what they think is fun from what may kill them.
I had already published Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round: An Alcoholic Family in Crisis, which is about my young marriage to Richard, our ups and downs with his drinking, the confusion, fear and abuse behind closed doors, the enabling, and the effect on our two daughters, Debbie and Lori. Richie died in 1985 in the VA Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island at forty-five years of age from his drinking since his teenage years. His mother, sister, brother, daughter, niece and nephews drank, along with past relatives.
After losing Lori in 2006 in the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts at thirty-nine from the same disease, I wrote the sequel Please, God, Not Two: This Killer Called Alcoholism. I talk about Lori’s three alcoholic rehab stays and her struggle to reach sobriety. They are open books on the reality of what happens to each individual in a family with an abusive drinker. I write about my situations with mistakes and the missed opportunities that would have been handled differently today. I could have named the books What not to do with Alcohol Abuse. I even added my talks to addicts at halfway homes, rehabs and court-ordered programs in the sequel. They are books of lessons more than being memoirs.
After Lori’s death, I started to wonder why some alcoholics and drug users recover and put their lives together while others die from this horrible, worldwide problem? What gives them the physical and mental strength to fight this battle and come out winning? These questions and the heartbreak of losing two loved ones from alcohol addiction, encouraged What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict: In Their Own Words. I thought if I had these questions then other families did, too. Richie and Lori never opened up about their emotions or needs. I wanted to learn what addicts go through that I missed. I came from a very close and loving family and had no education or knowledge on substance abuse.
AR: Was it difficult for you to gather together the 34 different contributors to the volume?
AS: I realized that the only way to get the answers to my questions about the alcoholics emotions was to go directly to the source; the alcoholics and drug addicts. Who would know more than the ones who are living the life of addiction. I placed an ad online in Reporter Connection and asked if anyone was willing to tell their private stories with their own struggle overcoming their substance abuse for my book I was writing. I had to turn people away with so much response. Thirty-four substance abusers from all walks in life from the United States and Canada gave their testimonies. I left nothing out from their stories or changed a word. These are their stories.
AR: Were any of the contributors reluctant to share the deeper, more personal details of their lives and addictions on a public stage?
AS: They were excited to share their battle with addiction and wanted to get a message to doctors, counselors, family members and society to learn, not only what the addict is looking for with support to help them through their recovery, but new ways to help the addicted. Many said telling their story was a healing process for them. A few didn’t want to give their names but told where they lived. Most were direct with their names and job titles. Their stories start from as young as five years old to their present life. They didn’t hide anything with the fact that their life had been turned upside down from their drinking, what they lost, and spoke about other relatives that died from their addiction.
AR: How have readers reacted to the book thus far?
AS: After reading each contributor’s story, a lot of readers realized that childhood emotional wounds mold us into what we became in adulthood, especially with living in an alcoholic family, denial, and the life we considered to be normal to us at the time.
One girl wrote in an review on Amazon, “I have learned a lot from family and friends who are in recovery and this book took it one level deeper. The stories are raw, honest and heartfelt from the people who lived through the pain and came out on the other side. I would recommend this book to family members or friends who want to know how an addict/alcoholic thinks. It’s also could be a good way to open a conversation with a loved one who is struggling to come to grips with whether they have a problem. We all want to know the right way to handle things and I think Alberta’s book gives us insight that there is no “right” answer that applies to every addict. Bravo to the folks telling their stories!”
John Daubney, a contributor wrote:
“Having the addicts tell what worked for them and didn’t would be a most helpful addition to the literature on the subject of addiction and recovery.”
AR: Is there a central message you’d like readers to take away from the book?
AS: Often people want to debate with me on whether addiction is hereditary, a disease or a habit. They are all right in my eyes. Each addict has their own reason why they went down the path of drinking or taking drugs. With Richard’s family history, a lot of them over-drank and still are to the point of being alcoholics. Others start from following the crowd, like college kids or younger, thinking everyone is cool and “What’s the harm, everyone is doing it? No big deal!” They truly believe that they can stop anytime. The last reason, which I consider to be the number one, is that the person is trying to hide a horrible event from the past that devastated them and they can’t deal with the problem or can’t find the strength to get professional help. In my opinion, doctors and counselor should look more into “why” a person is using more than the action of drinking or using drugs.
I want readers to know that What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict is not only for substance abusers, but for family members to learn how to help the alcoholic and what not to do; an example, innocently, our enabling brings them deeper into their addiction. We as family live in denial as much as the user. The contributors to this book are trying to tell us what they need to recover.
My greatest achievement with this book would be to see the interest to add it to any educational programs in libraries, school programs, or sitting on the book shelves in all bookstores. It’s a book for the whole family. This book was published by me, but the contributors are the ones trying to save lives who are connected to alcohol and drug addiction.
Family members reach the point of being emotionally and physically drained trying to help the alcoholic. I had a small breakdown from the years of fighting to control Richie’s drinking. I pushed my body and mind beyond what it could take instead of realizing that the addict has to help themselves. We can only support them.
AR: Please share more with our readers about your other writings.
AS: I had dreams of traveling to tropical islands during my retirement, but God had other plans for me. As I mentioned, I became a writer from tragedy in my life.
My writing started with A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje. It's about my father’s death in 1990 when he died of cancer. I was going to write a book for my family so I could leave his military history to all our generations. Albert L. Gramm was a Brigadier General in the Army and was one of the commanding officers of the 26th Yankee Division during WWII and fought in Metz, Lorraine and the famous Battle of the Bulge. To get information on his life, I went to the Yankee Doings Magazine and asked if anyone knew him. I got personal calls, pictures, emails and letters from his fellow servicemen. One man sent me his full bio of his life during WWII.
During my father’s cancer, he wanted to go to Medjugorje in Bosnia because of the miracles happening there since 1981 with six visionaries having ten secrets given to them on a daily basis, and up to this day, from The Blessed Mother that will be revealed to the world when they all get all of them. There are two visionaries left to get one more secret. One by one, a priest will read them.
I took the ten-day pilgrimage for my father after is death and my life changed forever being in the visionary’s company while they had apparitions with Our Lady. I believe that trip helped me deal with the loss of Lori.
That is how my first book A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje got in the works. I added the miracles that happened to me that got me to this tiny, remote village to the book along with my relationship with my father.
The other two memoirs on alcohol abuse in our family followed. I have completed my personal stories about my life with pain and finding my way back in life.
AR: In addition to being an author, you’re also an experienced director and producer, as well as a continuing educational instructor. Please share more with our readers about your endeavors in those fields.
AS: My other titles came from becoming a co-founder with three other authors and named our group Authors Without Borders (www.awb6.com). We discovered that it cost us less dividing the expense with festivals or other events. We co-authored with our first book Loose Ends. It is a book of diverse collections of intriguing and insightful short stories, poems and book excerpts that we hope will quench a reader’s thirst and captivate their imagination and emotions.
The four of us are more than authors. Our backgrounds would amaze readers. We also teach at colleges, libraries and other locations with writing, talks, poetry reading or book signings.
We then went to a class at the NBTV-95 Cable Show in New Bedford, Massachusetts to learn how to have a cable show and developed Authors Without Borders Presents. It was fun learning to run the cameras and direct the program. We interview other writers, authors, managers of bookstores, poets, and publishers. We are hoping people who are interested in learning what faces them in the publishing world would have the desire to watch and learn what others go through to help them. One of our members, Willie Pleasants, has her own cable show called Willie’s Web out of Boston, Massachusetts with the Boston Neighborhood Network. We interview authors in that area on her show. People can become Associated Members on our site and we will give them an interview and a spot on our website.
As for my continuing education as an instructor, I listened to the telephone workshop programs for free with Steve Harrison, and he had someone explain the difference with a poor author and a rich one. The poor one is happy with just selling books at bookstores, while the rich one looks for ways to grow with their hidden talent, so I developed three three-hour workshops: “Bring Your Manuscript to Publication” , “How to Self-Publish Your Own Book with Create Space,” and "Writing Memoirs." I took my pain from my husband and daughter’s loss and became a Motivational Speaker on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and go wherever I get invited to talk. It’s hard to believe years ago, I would never talk in front of people.
AR: What’s next for you?
AS: I am now having fun with working on my first fictional The Rusty Years. Hopefully, it will be completed next year. I want my followers and readers to see a lighter side to me. No more memoirs for me. My personal life is out there for the world to see.
I am open to speak on the topic of “The Effect of Alcoholism on the Whole Family” or “My Spiritual Change Within” from my trip to Medjugorje if someone sends for a quote.
Willie Pleasants is trying to give me courage to open my own cable show on the topic of addiction. Something I will be thinking about in the future.
AR: How can our readers learn more about you and your ongoing efforts?
AS: I have a lot of articles on the Internet once you key my name in to find anything about me. Or you can go to my blog on WordPress titled “My Journey Through Alcohol Abuse” at http://www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com. My blog for writers and authors is http://www.albertasequeira.org.
AR: How can they contact you directly?
AS: Send me an email at [email protected], and I’ll be happy to reply back. I love to hear from people.
AR: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
AS: Never give up on wanting to write. We all have a story hidden in us. You may think no one would be interested, but write for you. Don’t write what you think people want to read but send a message to them that will help them in their life with stress and struggles with problems, even in a fictional book. If you know what your topic is all about during a presentation or a book signing, readers will want to buy your book(s). Writing has to be fun, not boring or a chore. Take a day off from the computer if you are forcing yourself to write.
AR: Thanks again, Alberta, and best of continued success to you in all your endeavors!