2018-07-11 / Letters

LIVE sober. You can do it!

After reading The Reporters’ article entitled “Marijuana Deemed Treatment for Opioid Use”, I wanted to offer some clarity for people that are either super happy or super concerned with what NYS has just proposed.

New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) revised 2018 press release reads a bit confusing as well. Here is a verbatim sentence from that press release: (NYSDOH 2018) Adding prescribed opioid use as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana will allow individuals who use opioids to instead use medical marijuana for pain relief. What this means is, instead of being prescribed opioids for pain, a person will be prescribed medical marijuana. Thus, it’s a treatment for pain, not opioid use disorder and reduces prescriptions for the use of opioid pain medications, which reduces addiction (despite the confusing wording in both articles).

Medical marijuana has worked amazingly well for individuals that I have monitored for pain management. Some may envision someone sitting down and smoking a bowl or doing bongs, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are various forms of medical marijuana and varying degrees of it that are with and without THC, the form for pain does not have TCH. So, you’re not getting high, but you’re living pain free.

In an effort to offer hope, recovery is real and so is happiness. It is obtainable, but it doesn’t just wander into someone’s home. It’s about connecting with healthy people, maintaining healthy boundaries, and always, and I mean always working on yourself…..and never giving up. I fault no one out there who is struggling, there is a significant amount of misinformation everywhere.

I have been sober from drugs and alcohol for over 28 years. There’s a bunch of us out here. While I didn’t want to write about me, it’s important to offer hope in such a hopeless-filled environment. Every single workshop, viewing, seminar, or literature that mentions addiction offers what I and many see as lack of hope and despair. They don’t offer concrete solutions toward sobriety. Yes, there’s limited counseling. Yes, recovery is hard. But you can do it by connecting with the right people (they don’t come knocking on your door either). And you can expect giant pushes back at you, for several reasons that one struggling already knows about.

When I got sober, I, like many could not wait to shout from the rooftops “I’m sober!” I was young and I told my first boss while in recovery. She got mad at me one day and said, “I don’t get paid to care about your feelings.” (be careful with your social media posts). From that moment on, I went underground and would only tell a select few about my recovery. It was the best thing I ever did. I was able to learn what people from all walks of life thought about addiction, their approaches in supporting people that struggle, and I remained safe from harm, well bias harm, anyways.

Bottom line, you need a good therapist. You have to make that connection of trust and build on that. Your therapist is your lifeline and your comfort as you start rebuilding your life, making healthy decisions toward healing, and developing positive relationships.

As a therapist, one hundred percent of the individuals suffering from addiction that I know and have treated, also suffer from depression and/ or anxiety (mental illness), including having thoughts of suicide. Your therapist should be a qualified mental health professional that HAS addiction experience and is credentialed with NYS to treat mental illness.

Interestingly, Bill Wilson (the founder of AA) suffered from panic attacks and depression. Bill sought weekly psychotherapy sessions (from a qualified mental health professional) to help him through his depression for four years. Some AAers were outraged, thought he was using and not working his program (sound familiar?). Additionally, Bill discovered and promoted his Niacin (vitamin B3) therapy experiences. While he had his critics, he persisted. In fact, he would have preferred to have been remembered for his discovery of Niacin therapy and not Alcoholics Anonymous. With that said, therapy in conjunction with 12-step programs offer invaluable support.

If you’re tired of your inner critic’s ruminating thoughts of shame, low-self esteem, and judgment, Google Psychology Today and connect with a therapist that understands and can help you out of the darkness.

Here’s the link to the press release: opioid_ use.htm

Break the rules and LIVE sober. You can do it!


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