Hope for the Prisoners of Heroin




My intention for this article is to spread hope to anyone feeling defeated, hopeless or lost. If you have read my articles prior you know I write with vulnerability and honesty. You also should be aware I am not an educated man when it comes to writing, having said that I write with passion, I do not have anyone edit my articles or modify in anyway, what you see is my true self and my views on addiction.

I no longer hold my head down and stigmatize myself as a junky, today I am a son, father, husband, brother and a friend! I have 4 beautiful children an amazing wife and the career of my dreams. I go home every single day after work to be there for my family. Yes, a home, I actually have a home with clothes in the dresser, food in the fridge and electric lighting up smiling faces. A lot of people look at me with a crooked grin and wonder why I am so grateful for things like this, why I appreciate running water and getting to lay in a bed at night. It is quite simple really, over 26 months ago I was lucky to find a couch to crash on, I once lived off bread crumbs and the neighbor’s hose water. When my parents weren’t having to watch their son detoxing in their spare bed room I was living in a spacious truck, supplied with cool ac and leg room. I was content. The seat belt was long enough to wrap my arm, center console supplied plenty of room for my needles and bags, and the window tint just dark enough to hide me from the world. Lets not forget the 129 deaths on a daily basis from drug overdose. Lets not forget as you are reading this article 10 more people will have died due to this disease. I sat with men and women to whom overdosed next to me as I would pick their pockets and steal the same drug that killed them. I remember looking at them wishing it was me, I envied them. The fact I had to live another day hostage to this drug was nothing short of hell. I always said I must have really messed up in my past life because I’m in hell. There was nothing sexier and more appealing than not waking up after a hit.

To an active addict the word fear doesn’t exist, the mindset when sick and craving for the drug left me with one motive, survival. No matter who, what or how, I found a way to survive. Don’t be misled please, I’m not talking about getting food and water, a bed to sleep in, no I’m talking about robbing, lying, stealing, cheating and manipulating my family and closest of friends. looking into their tear filled eyes knowing they were supporting my death. My grandmother found her son, my uncle dead in his home, his 3 sons had no idea daddy wasn’t sleeping but had passed. To this day she is traumatized by that day, I had this woman go get me oxycotin after hours of manipulating and lying about going to get help. I had this woman, my grandmother not only go buy but also hand me the same drug that killed her son. I sniffed those pills in front of my daughters mother, watched her hold my daughter with tears flowing down her face and my only concern was getting all this powder up my nose so I no longer felt sick! Tell me any human being with a heart can sit there and say this is a choice. Once caught in this vicious cycle there is nothing relevant to getting the drug. I get very frustrated at times and have to remind myself that not everyone is educated nor want to be on addiction. We are stigmatized as bad people, losers, druggies and dead beats. Tell a person with autism or dual diagnosed they are these things and you will see a much different response. Agree with me or not this is a physical allergy and mental disease. Anyway rant over and I don’t want to lose your attention. Having said that, please understand that you do have a choice, and a decision to make. All of you reading this that may be in active addiction we both know its no longer about that warm, exotic feeling of the first time we shot up, no we can agree that the fun left us a long long time ago and its a matter of feeling normal and not sick. And for all of you that aren’t active drug addicts, yes we get to a point where the drug no longer gives us a high rather it makes us physically able to get up, go to work, play with our kids, or even eat. All this bullshit, prisoner to heroin stuff can stop and can stop TODAY!!!!

No one can force a bottom or sobriety on anyone. I’m sure if you gave families one wish, it wouldn’t be money, clothes, or even world peace, it would be the ability to get their child clean and sober. This is a power unfortunately us as families and advocates will never hold. Yet! We can encourage hope. I tell my stories not to tell my story, but to possibly reach one or two people that can relate and get some hope out of what ive been through. My story is no different, better or worse than a lot of people, but It is my story and this once hopeless, homeless needle driven addict is now not only clean but living a life beyond my wildest dreams. Wouldn’t you like to wake up one day and your biggest decision was what to wear, or what to eat for breakfast? Wouldn’t you like to wake up and not have to figure out who you were going to rob, steal and lie to. Because lets get real, that shit takes more energy and work than any 9 to 5 I have ever seen. You have a decision.

The day I last used was May 14th 2014, on that day I wrote goodbye letters to my kids and family. I remember the warm feeling of death flowing through my veins as I attempted suicide. I remember the feeling of gratitude that I was about to die and I wasn’t going to hurt anyone anymore, I did have to see my kids cry anymore. My parents will now sleep at night. God stepped in that day and disrupted my death with a vengeance. After that day I realized I had a purpose, it took me awhile to know what that was but I knew it was something. I will never forget that day, I will always look at that day as my rebirth, the day I stepped out and God stepped in. YOU and only you can make the decision, once you have made the decision to get clean, brace yourself. Your about to experience life at all its levels. You will feel again, you will start to discover a person you never knew existed. Imagine waking up, looking in the mirror and saying, “well damn I look and feel great today, I hope theres enough time to get done all the stuff I have to do!” Sound crazy? Tell me about it, the only time I ever looked into any mirror was to sniff a line of coke or Percocet. Your life can and will change. You must make this decision for you, not mom, dad, wife, kids but you and you alone. Yes this is a selfish turned selfless way of life but I promise you everything you ever loved and everything you want in your life, it will at some point come, and you will be present to enjoy them. You will someday look into your kids eyes and start crying with gratitude. You will visit mom and dad and laugh with them, most importantly you will hold a gift like no other. You will be able to help the thousands out there needing that one person to believe in them.

Once you make the decision to get clean, you are no longer powerless and living in a hopeless state of mind. You are now on your way. You have bailed yourself out of Heroin’s prison and you never have to go back. Freedom from active addiction is available to anyone willing enough to take a suggestion. Active or not, families affected by this disease I love you all, I pray I may help some of you in any way I can. There are double the amount of people finding a solution than there are dying. If you have lost a loved one please reach out to a family support group, I know many and I will help in anyway I can to get you to sleep a full night. God bless

RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!! Please visit my page @ http://fb.me/therecoveringauthor

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Addicts behavior


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Self Forgiveness: An Important Step in Rehab and Recovery

self-forgiveness-silhouetteBecause of the predominance of 12 Steps Programs, much in rehab and recovery revolves around remorse, contrition, self-condemnation, guilt and regret. You are taught that to successfully recover you must present yourself to others as contrite, guilty and remorseful; you are taught that you require the forgiveness of others to be whole. We think there is a better way: self forgiveness as a core step in the treatment process to recovery.

Forgiveness: Most of Us Need to Forget What We’ve Learned

We have a different take on forgiveness vs. traditional rehab and recovery programs, but this approach takes some ‘unlearning’ to grasp. Forgiveness is a highly misunderstood term and concept, and because of this it is a justifiable obstacle for many. Learning about and applying forgiveness in an enlightened manner is key to releasing the constraints of many mental illnesses and addictions. But misunderstanding forgiveness can be a confusing, irritating and unnecessary obstacle.

Most people misunderstand the concept of forgiveness. They think that if they withhold their forgiveness of another that they are exerting power over that person. The belief is that if one forgives, the issue or behavior becomes ‘okay.’ This could not be further from the truth in our view. When one withholds forgiveness they are actually doing nothing to the other person and only hurting themselves by holding onto the anger, hurt and resentment they feel, quite literally, giving their power away.

Forgiveness (release) is freedom for the person DOING the forgiveness, not for the one receiving it. It’s reclaiming your power.

If you were raised to believe that God is constantly in judgment of you and always waiting for you to ask for forgiveness, you aren’t alone. But can we consider for a moment that the true state of God is unconditional love? ‘God is love.’ How many times have you heard that? God as unconditional love would by definition be incapable of judgment. The operative word is unconditional. Love no matter what. This is where the ‘unlearning’ comes in.

Would you be willing to consider the possibility that the judgments under which you suffer don’t come from God? Judgments are a creation of the human mind. They are, in fact, self-imposed and impossibly burdensome. They give us a confusing experience of power or the lack of power.

The Liberating Power of Self Forgiveness

Self Forgiveness is the process by which we release ourselves for judgments we’ve placed against ourselves. When we accept that we are the one holding the judgment, we become aware that we can be the only one to release it. At The Clearing, self forgiveness is a foundational step for successful rehab and recovery. Self forgiveness is also the core step of personal responsibility. Nothing, simply nothing is more liberating in the journey of self-growth.

Your personality can have bad behavior, your Soul cannot. This is an absolutely critical distinction. We’ll help you gain an understanding of the difference between your soul and your personality. We work closely with you to uncover and explore the core issue causing undesirable behavior and assist you in reframing your misinterpretation of this issue to reveal its positive purpose in your life. This learning is transformational and will support you for the rest of your life.

The solution is simple: your behavior towards yourself and others must come from an authentic place. As you develop an authentic relationship with yourself, it will naturally spread outwards to all those you encounter. Life becomes, without exception, easier on every level. Will difficult situations continue to arise in your life? Certainly! Frank evaluation of your behavior, self forgiveness, taking personal responsibility and setting a clear and positive intention to do better will serve your highest good. We’ll show you how.


About The Clearing

The Clearing is a residential treatment center located on beautiful San Juan Island, Washington. We created The Clearing in response to the pervasiveness of treatment centers that focus more on luxury than modern, evidence-based therapy.

Our approach is based on healing the underlying core issues that cause addiction. If you’d like to learn more, contact us.


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Comfortably Numb

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Posted in addiction

5 Scary Facts You Didn’t Know About Prescription Opioid Painkillers

prescription opioids use may lead to heroin abuse

1. Abuse of Opioid Painkillers Often Leads to Heroin Abuse

According to a recent survey, 3 out of 4 heroin addicts reported that they were introduced to opioids through prescription painkillers. Statistics like these are alarming to say the least because heroin is a dangerous drug. Deaths from heroin have tripled since 2010, and when compared to cocaine, heroin takes twice the number of lives per year from overdose.

People often turn to heroin when painkillers become too expensive or too difficult to get from a doctor. Heroin is easier to get, it’s cheap, and it produces a similar high. Risk of heroin overdose is especially dangerous because the drug is often laced with fentanyl, which can be deadly even in small doses.

southeast region of the US has highest rates of abuse

2. The Southeast Region of the U.S. has the Highest Rate of Opioid Painkiller Prescriptions and Overdose

In the 80s and 90s, pharmaceutical companies heavily marketed opioid painkillers, like Oxycodone, to coal miners and blue-collar workers in areas of Appalachia.

In the 2000s, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cracked down on “pill mills” that had sprung up in the area, making it harder for people to obtain their regular painkiller prescriptions. Meanwhile, in Florida the laws were far less strict. To fill the demand, two brothers started a multi-million-dollar operation selling prescription opioids on the black market. Addicts and dealers were traveling down to Florida on the ‘Oxy Express’ to get pills. This mass production led to a spillover of opioid painkillers into neighboring states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Alabama.

States in the southeast continue to rank highest for painkiller prescriptions written per capita, with West Virginia ranking highest in terms of death due to drug overdose.

Do You or a Loved One Need Alcohol or Drug Rehab?Call 1-888-594-6286 Now

Caring treatment advisors are here to help 24/7 | Staffed by Sponsored Treatment Centers

problem is exploding

3. The Problem is Exploding Outside of Metropolitan Areas

Historically, drug use has been concentrated in urban areas. Rural areas of the U.S. are now pulling ahead with the highest rates of prescription painkiller overdose in the country. Among rural teens, opioid abuse is becoming more and more common. In 2014, 8.6% of rural teens reported ever abusing painkillers compared to 6.5% of teens living in cities. What’s troublesome about these high numbers is that rural teens think substance abuse is less risky than their urban peers. Rural teens are also more likely to drink heavily and mix substances than urban teens.

Research finds that when people use painkillers before the age of 18, they are more likely to develop addictions in adulthood. From a public health standpoint this could mean that millions of teens will transition into adulthood with a higher likelihood of becoming addicted to opioids.

cost of painkillers is high

4. The Price Tag is Hefty

As a nation, we lose billions of dollars every year due to opioid abuse and the results of overdose. In 2007, it was estimated that prescription opioid abuse cost the U.S. an estimated 55 billion dollars in premature death, healthcare costs, and criminal justice costs. People who abuse opioid painkillers generally tend to use medical services, such as the emergency department, more than non-users. One review found that individuals with an opioid abuse problem generated an additional 5 to 15 thousand dollars more in health care costs per year than the average American.

Do You or a Loved One Need Alcohol or Drug Rehab?Call 1-888-594-6286 Now

Caring treatment advisors are here to help 24/7 | Staffed by Sponsored Treatment Centers

more women dying from overdose

5. More Women are Dying from Painkiller Overdose than Ever Before

The relationship between women and painkillers is a devastating one. While men are more likely to die from a prescription painkiller overdose, the percentage increase in deaths from painkiller overdoses increased more than 400% among women, compared to just 265% among men. Reasons for the increase may be related to the fact that women are more likely to be prescribed painkillers, be given higher doses, and use the drugs longer-term. These statistics are haunting when you consider the potential impact painkiller abuse has on pregnant women and their newborns.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a condition that affects infants born to mothers with dependence to opioids. NAS is serious—children can be born with birth defects and developmental problems. Every 25 minutes a baby is born with NAS and is suffering an opioid withdrawal. NAS costs the health care system an annual $1.5 billion dollars, 81% of which is paid by state Medicaid programs.

Do You or a Loved One Need Alcohol or Drug Rehab?Call 1-888-594-6286 Now

Caring treatment advisors are here to help 24/7 | Staffed by Sponsored Treatment Centers

It is clear that prescription painkillers have the potential to be very dangerous.

The majority of people do not get painkillers from a doctor—increasing the risk for misuse. One study found that 60% of people using opioid prescription painkillers got the drugs for free from a friend or relative. As a society, we need to take action to reduce the prevalence of dependency, tolerance, and addiction before it’s too late.

Posted in addiction

The Addicts Loop – The Root Cause Of Addiction

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Posted in addiction

Waiting to Hit the Elusive ‘Rock Bottom’


Written by Deni Carise

Dr. Deni Carise is a nationally recognized expert in substance abuse & behavioral health and Chief Clinical Officer at Recovery Centers of America (RCA).

Whether or not you have gone through addiction personally or you have watched a loved one struggle with addiction, you’ve probably heard the phrase they have to “hit rock bottom.” In the addiction treatment field, professionals will often use this phrase to describe an addict’s lowest point, that time at which something profound happens and he or she finally has a staggering revelation that they need to get treatment and quit their substance use. Many treatment professionals firmly believe that for treatment to be successful, their patients need to want treatment, and that to want treatment, they must hit rock bottom. There exists the belief that once an addict sees how bad life can be on substances, experiences this bottom, they can finally turn their life around.

But this can be a deadly way of thinking.

According to David Sheff, acclaimed author of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy, the follow-up to his New York Times #1 bestseller Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction, the concept of an addict needing to “hit rock bottom” is an all-too-familiar story that he hears time and time again in letters from people all over the world. David recounted to me recently the story of one father writing to tell him about his son who had been in and out of treatment. The father had been told by the treatment provider after his son’s most recent relapse that his son needed to hit rock bottom and learn to accept help in order to succeed. In the midst of waiting for his son to hit this rock bottom, the father read David’s book and the very next day went to find his son, dragged him home, and got him into a treatment program. The very next weekend, the son’s best friend died of an overdose.

“Waiting for someone to hit rock bottom is a dangerous concept,” David told me. “Experts advise parents of it, but the reality is that studies show people who are coerced into treatment by way of their parents or even the legal system have an equal chance of doing well as those who ‘choose’ to be there.” [See references below.]

Not just a dangerous term for the family and friends of an addict, consider this perspective: I had a brief but intense experience with addiction from 1979-1985. In 1982, I suffered a small stroke as a result of my cocaine use. I fully recovered, but what some might see as “rock bottom” didn’t actually stop me from using again. After all, I recovered, right? I lost jobs, apartments, friends, but none of this stopped me from using. At some point, I knew I couldn’t achieve what I wanted in life if I kept using. At the time, I just wanted to keep one job and one apartment for a year and get into college. I found out that I couldn’t quit on my own, so I got help in 1985 (by 1993 I had my Ph.D. and had been sober for eight years). What if I had waited for that elusive bottom? I hadn’t been arrested, hadn’t overdosed, etc. If I thought, well, I’d like to quit but I guess it won’t work until I hit rock bottom, I would likely still be using or, more likely, I would be dead. Saying an addict needs to “hit bottom” may allow them to put treatment off as long as they wake up to see another day. Who’s to say what each person’s “rock bottom” looks like, after all?

“The longer you wait for that rock bottom, actually, the sicker someone can get,” said David. David firmly believes his son Nic, whom he wrote about in Beautiful Boy, would not be alive today if he had waited for him to hit rock bottom.

The irony with this whole concept is that addiction is a chronic, treatable disease. We would have a hard time accepting that a person with any other chronic disease such as diabetes or asthma would actually need to “hit rock bottom” to have treatment for their condition be successful. Just like other chronic diseases, addiction has heritability and behavioral factors, it is treatable and the goal is self-management in the community. So why is the concept of hitting rock bottom only tolerated with addiction? Some might say that it has to do with our feelings of helplessness when dealing with a loved one who abuses drugs or alcohol, that we get tired of our loved ones relapsing or of helping them when they don’t want it, or think they don’t need our help. As someone who has dealt with this very personally, I would never suggest that anyone wait for their loved one to hit bottom; would we wait for a loved one with diabetes to do the same?

Unfortunately, the answer may lie in the fact that, while research and science indicate it to be true, many still have a hard time accepting addiction is a disease. They believe it is a choice and that we’re letting people off the hook for bad behavior by calling it a disease. For them, it’s a matter of letting an addict wallow in the despair they have created long enough until they are ready to ask for help.

I don’t see it that way at all. That addiction is a disease means that we can do something about it, to prevent it, to treat it and take responsibility to self-manage it. David captures this eloquently in his book, and I work each day to spread the message that successful treatment and recovery are possible.

I’ve had two very minor lapses in the past 27 years, but took responsibility for my illness and became abstinent again immediately. And I didn’t have to wait till I hit “rock bottom” to get back on track.

Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.


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July 2018
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Robert Christopher Mergupis


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