We in the recovery community are quite familiar with the opiate and heroin epidemic in this country. Many societies around the world are also processing how to handle this alarming crisis while coping with the growing dilemma of addiction and overdose fatalities. For this particular blog posting, I would like to put aside the issue of alcoholism in order to focus on this comparable yet equally treacherous scourge facing our society. While there is no disputing that addiction to drugs and the condition we call alcoholism are so very similar, there are particular aspects of opiate and heroin use worth addressing in this discussion - specifically, the actual swiftness of the addiction process as it descends and seizes complete control of a person.

I have attended countless recovery meetings over the last few years when someone has revealed to the group the loss of a dear friend, loved-one, child, or spouse that has died from a drug overdose. This is in addition to hearing the painful experiences people share of their own addiction and near-death encounters with drugs. Thankfully, society is turning more needed attention and resources to this widespread issue assailing us. I am in full support of all law enforcement initiatives that are trying to bring the large distributors and manufacturers of these illegal, addictive substances to justice. It is not just the drug cartels that are to blame, although their responsibility for much of this continuing plague is enormous. The excessive amount of money acquired at the expense of human life and the boundless suffering imposed on others is repugnant to say the least. Moreover, there are too many unethical doctors distributing opiates such as OxyContin, oxycodone and other addictive drugs to patients that should not have these substances prescribed. Such doctors should be brought to justice and the pharmaceuticals that produce and distribute these medications must be held to some measure of accountability and responsibility.

In this blog, we are going to focus on the individuals, younger and older, that are suffering from drug addiction and those who desire to begin and continue their recovery program. Every person who has perished from an overdose has left behind friends and family shaken to the core with grief at their loss. To contemplate the life that could have been but is no longer because of an overdose is simply heartbreaking. I am deeply saddened when I hear of someone I did not even know that has perished this way – they were an extraordinary creation of God with thoughts, feelings, a soul, and so much potential. They unfortunately had simply lost their way in life and succumbed to the perils of addiction. A person that has OD’d is not just a statistic to be quickly overlooked as an element of another ‘problem’ in the world today. Their loss is agonizing and poignant and a casualty of another kind of war we are facing as a society.

We live in a world with so much unending violence and hatred exhibited every day that it isn't difficult to understand that one may want to just escape through any substance within reach. There are despicable acts of brutality we hear about in the news all too often. Whether it is another terrorist bombing or a shooting in a movie theatre, there is one hard-core fact behind all of these vile acts – the complete disregard of life. This contempt emerges from a complete lack of understanding of the magnificent and loving precepts behind our creation. It is also a result of a viciously cold, narcissistic, and hatefully born consciousness that is void of any empathy or caring dimension. Such people are empty within except for their insatiable appetites displayed as excessive greed and hatred. Are there too many people on this earth that fit this horrid description – yes, there are. However, this should not blunt our consciousness to the significance of each individual person and their worth. Every creature, large and small, every human being and animal is so very important. Our quality of life must be appreciated if we are to progress and survive as a civilization. Are there numerous individuals that have abundant love, empathy, and compassion for life, all around us? The answer is an emphatic ‘yes.’ They are everywhere!

Our society is filled with caring people who are devoting their lives to helping others who are in need. There are meetings, programs, counselors, therapists, doctors, members of the clergy, families, and friends that want to assist those in the midst of addiction and help pull them out of their hell and place them back on a healthy road of recovery. Now, what about some of you who are reading this blog who may already be in recovery from drug addiction? How can you be of service to others who may have just started using drugs or may be considering using and going deeper into repeated use? 

Any person that has been in recovery for a period of time has gained the rich experience that can be of vital assistance to others. We all know how the scenario can go down. A seemingly innocent, inexperienced person attends a party with their peers. They are prompted into using, just that first time – “You’ll just love how it makes you feel, come on, try it. It is harmless. Everyone is doing it. It’s safe. Where have you been?” This person succumbs to the peer-pressure and the continued promptings from others and begins their drug use. Then you are of course accepted and now you have many ‘friends.' This may be a simplistic version of how it happens, but we get the idea.

So, what can you do to help? Be courageous and tell others about the perils of drug use, your addiction, how quickly you became dependent on drugs and sought out less expensive versions to obtain the same drug feeling. Warn your friends and acquaintances you know of the dreadful struggle you have gone through and the challenges of becoming a healthy person again. Describe to others what drug use did to your life and the people around you. Be real, be honest, be emphatic, be bold, and direct. Once we start helping others on the path of recovery we begin to find our true self again and start to reach outside of own personal battles and join ourselves with the world around us. Please inform others of the real treachery behind that drug-induced feeling, how short-lived and artificial that good feeling was in reality, not to mention the agonizing pain of not having the drug around you anymore, and the extent you went to acquire another dose or fix. 

An important part of honest recovery is tearing off the false façade of drug use and exposing it for what it truly is. We are not meant to live in a drug-induced stupor. We are more than that, so much more. Our life is worth abundantly more than the millions of dollars acquired by the greedy drug-lords who thrive on our addiction or the potential of enlarging their market of addiction. The pharmaceutical opiate medications are for alleviating real physical pain and should serve that purpose alone. Drugs, illegal or legal, are not to be used to escape life while living in a state of drug-induced delusion. Eventually, our addiction becomes our prison and for some, tragically, becomes a coffin.

I have learned so much during the years of my alcohol recovery. It feels so wonderful to be free of alcohol and to realize that my drinking never gave me anything worthwhile, even in the earlier years of use to relax or quiet my nerves. In fact, alcoholism, just like drug addiction, will destroy a person and it is quite a painful journey on the way down to that complete obliteration of body, mind, and soul. That is why this blog is so passionately devoted to Unconditional Recovery. There are proven pathways for each of us to live a healthy, abundant, and loving life free from addiction, free from alcoholism. It is a personal decision, a critical decision, and it is a loving decision. Choose Unconditional Recovery. Make it your daily mantra: "there simply is no condition or reason that will allow me to use ever again." Set yourself free from the bonds of addiction. Keep on the path of your recovery – stay clean and sober. Remain strong . . . until next time.  



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