Every Please -STOP -Listen Up

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TJ- Don’t Label My Kid!- Message to my crew. These Little Ladies Are Mine. Boys are up and out. When I look at them I thank God I even get to hold them. It should not be.

This post is about giving many others a chance to watch their babies grow up. Not many would have made it through what I did, and I believe the purpose for this was to make some changes so others could not suffer through certain things that can kill. So please take this to heart and lets do this thing.  I don’t get to make the plans or set dates, but I am pretty sure this is an appointment we all need to be at.  Thanks for taking a few out to read and do what you can. .. You may make it possible for a guy like me to be smiling down at his little girls like I am here, when he would not have made it before…

You all who have been here for a while already know that as a group some very cool things happen through this blog . Nothing anybody could have planned but just incredible events. Well, fasten your seat belts because here we go again.  Last week I was looking around for just the right people to introduce to all of us as experts in their particular area of service. Lets face it, we are all here because some aspect of our lives are not where we would like them to be. You all have written and been very open about anything from suicidal thoughts to physical disabilities or like me a lifetime of hell with addictions issues.  You remember I started last week our kick off on addiction and invited everyone to invite their families and friends who just didn’t get it. Cool right? I  really want to offer every single person here the treatment they need whether it be PTSD or a fear of dinosaurs.  You know why? Because as many of you may know, treatment in general sucks. It is not at all very successful, and just is a dead-end.  I however, having a great resume on the rehab floor, and also as a social worker have had the answers to why. It’s not too complicated but much is about money. Greed. There are other things too and if I had the funding I would have offered REAL treatment from day one. But, I spent my last million a few years ago . Lol.

Well here is where the weird stuff we get as a group once in a while came in. In the last 3 days there has been an influx all over the media and in the treatment and mental health industry to pour out tons of money to start researching peoples experiences and issues with their failed treatment and actually consider making some changes. Wow! What a coincidence! That’s what we all have been talking about for 4 years. Hmm. Is anyone with me yet? We have the hard data compliments of WordPress. 

So bottom line we are one  of a very tiny group who has the opportunity that we do. That is to ask successful providers to give all of us the services we need and our family and friends too. My job is to find the very best 10  or 15 experts in every area we need to sign on to being here for us. I am talking virtual counseling all the way to 6 month stays out-of-state or country if needed. But that’s not the end. Personally I have been in 3 rehabs since age 23 or so. The first one sucked . The second one was a little better because I got some good drugs from other ” patients” – and the last was fair because  staff let us sneak a pill now and then.

So do we all get why our country is falling apart? The treatment centers and treatment is sub-par and I am being  generous. I went into this field hoping that a day like this would happen. Where we would have the upper hand. It’s here. But 2 things must happen.

1- I have to find and recruit the best of the best in each area we all need.

2 -You all need to share the news   DONT LABEL MY KID!    is a place that ANYONE who needs treatment can come. I will make sure nobody is turned away. That is handled by financial people who can split insurances and get grants or whatever.   If you read what Charles on LinkedIn posted and I reposted here 50 THOUSAND PEOPLE on FACEBOOK alone are looking for  treatment. Not 500. 50k.  Why shouldn’t we be the ones to get the best providers on our team and have them get help through us?  We could start hiring from within for admissions and case management jobs. Everyone of us can play a role in a trailblazing effort.

More importantly we can blaze a new trail of treatment  for outpatient treatment centers so that people with the disease of addiction are treated like people with the disease of addiction. Not losers who don’t care. Do you know how many lives that could save?  This little mystery blog we all met on years ago has already done  more to change major issues than any reporters could. That’s just one case about that priest who molested my brother. That isn’t over yet either.

So if I know you all we can do this and make a name that nobody will forget. For the people needing treatment and by the people needing treatment. It is not about me. It would not be a grand accomplishment if I said look what I did. But if I could share the efforts and input and conditions of all of us and the world saw how it all happened, I have to believe we would see long-term change.

Do you know that even if you can get your loved one into a rehab, the chances of recovery are slim. Embarrassing even. You would think those places would do their jobs right? And most of them do try to rise above the average 35-40% success rate . As a matter of fact the top 10 highest rated programs in the country do in fact boast a considerably higher success rate then the other 90%.

The only difference in their programs ( besides up to 75,000$ higher price tag)  is that some have an extra component to supplement the traditional 12 step method that AA and NA use.  Perhaps even a doctor who himself is a recovered addict. The luxury centers in Florida , California often incorporate yoga, hiking and special fruit diets. Fruits and yoga instructors don’t come cheap. All that said we do have some very effective treatment centers in the USA. I suppose there are also a few Ford Pintos still running too. The point here is not that nobody cares or is trying, but it is to address the reality of the logistics, treatment methods, staffing available and many other factors that together present an epidemic right now as we are currently in a never before seen high rate of overdose deaths from opiates and heroin. Gone are the days of the Andy Griffith sticking Otis in the jail cell until he sobers up. It is dead serious and all over.

This may be the most important post I have ever written as the timing of all this gives us as a group an opportunity to make a dent or even spearhead a new way of thinking when it  comes to treatment.

You all know I don’t keep track of numbers or stats and pay for publicity. The reason 4 years ago I didn’t even consider it was two-fold. First, I have lived the hell of addiction since age 12 due to exceptional parenting by my father.  (NOT).  The point is I know what it is like to want to give up. I know what it feels like to give it everything you got, and have people accuse you of being a slacker who didn’t care about anyone else.  I know what its like to drive home from work excited that I had made up my mind not to drink that night and as my truck passed the ABC liquor store it automatically turned in all by itself.

If you want to talk opiates , or anything else have no fear I have been there too. Mine is addiction depression. Yours may be grief. It may be disease in your body. It does not matter. All can be treated. 

So assuming you have the funding, the open bed, and the right circle of clinicians who are the decision makers  in that tiny percentage of the programs,  you may actually have as high as a 3/4 chance of remaining clean. At least for a year. Now as for the other 90% of programs that do  not have that fruitful, ocean side venue  with the possibility of a real live recovered addict as a role model to help treat them, the sad reality is that maybe 3-4 clients will stay clean for even a year. I personally think it is a horrible hope to stick any struggling addict in a system with results like that. I mean now you may be talking random philosophies of treatment for these citizens who just don’t take their lives seriously, and don’t care about the pain they are causing their families. Snap out of it. Grow up.

At least that’s how I felt when I myself found myself on a cold floor in withdrawals with a tiny mattress to lay on as I vomited and contemplated whether life was worth living. My first program I got lucky because the ” tough love shifter” who marched in like military generals demanding roll call and even exercise while you prayed your heart would not fail seemed to be there as a I began to come out of my life threatening symptoms of opiate and alcohol withdrawal. I remember one nice older lady who used to sneak us an apple or two even just to insure a healthy outcome. She may have known more than we all thought, since the crew I did time with all lasted weeks longer in our sobriety then some others.  That at least gave our families an extra week or two to see us sober. It must have been pure bliss for mom and dad.

Not so much. The next program AA though had a little secret that they were so proud of because it has been around for a century. You see they made it mandatory that we all spent an hour or two each day with al the other failures repeating publicly that we had no control over our situation. Thankfully they had a lifelong open door welcome policy to return after our  ” treatment ” just to remind ourselves of our future -the same as it was that day. If it wasn’t for the hope of making it 30 days or even 60 without using and getting to be presented publicly with a  poker chip  for our good behavior, I may have never had the success I did of well over 3 months sober. Pure heaven.  The only problem was I still felt like I was sick. Like I had well, almost like a real human who was productive  in society  would get, a disease.

Crazy me, here I go back to denial. I sucked it up like you do when you hold your breath.  Until again I had to breath. Now that I look back I am being a little hard on the program, because after my first 30 days of peeing clean, I did get to go into a real public place like the working folk and play pool for an hour with the fellas. Heck the guard that brought us even went out for a smoke break once. It was like we were on parole!

So sure, after a few detox weekends , verbal tongue lashings and contract signings in front of the staff who had never been so disobedient to life as I , I eventually was set FREE! I will never forget walking out of the compound to see my own truck there and more importantly my two young sons. They must have been seen me as a role model. I honestly to this day do not think they ever saw the 20-30 slices up and down my arm to my wrist from trying to figure out how to bleed out while in my hellish withdrawals. I couldn’t even get that right. Nevertheless, I had learned to hold my breath longer now. I was as a clean as a whistle. Never stepped foot into another rehab. It was the darn jail cells that got to me though when I earned my first DUI. I didn’t care for it.

Thank goodness on my 2nd DUI the judge allowed me to check in to a 90 day inpatient program. Heck with good behavior, my superiors at my job an as a clinical social worker would never even know!  This program was much different. I felt like a real human the while time. There was no television or computers. You spent all day working physical labor, the were fed well, but this place didn’t have the walk of shame hour each night. Instead mandatory church.  Oh well, I guess it couldn’t hurt. I knew right away I was never going to score oxy and Vicodin’s like at the Miami place, but hey, I will try.

People that was when I was only 30. It took almost 10 more years to even stay functional. That’s unacceptable. I tried everything. I took the shame and guilt and accusations . You all know. So do you want to let it all go or seize a chance to show the kind of pain uneducated people cause others  cause?

That’s it I am done. I got work to do.

Are you going to do your part?

tj

Note*  To reiterate, I never said that all treatment facilities are useless. What I am saying is due to sheer need, different treatment types, and financial issues, people are dying not living.

I spoke to the Executive Director Of the # 1 best treatment center in the USA last night about this.  Asked his opinion.  He understands the problem.  Lets do this.

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