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Outreach Services, also known as DARS, has been serving our community for many year. We have served over 50 thousand callers in need of addiction services.  We are very proud to be of service to those in need and to you.  Thank you for your continued support.

Did you know that Outreach Services can place your clients into treatment centers at no cost to the clients or to you? Even those with Medicare can find 28-day treatment. Please trust us with the calls that don't fit your centers. Don't just throw them to the SAMHSA site or state numbers. Refer them to us and we will work hard to place them into an appropriate programs. We have relationships across the nation.

If you don't know about Outreach Services, give us a call (866) 418-1397 or email us at www.OutreachServices.us. We may be able to reciprocate and utilize your program as our resourcs. Check out our featured sites page to see more.

Debra Norton, Founder of DARS & Outreach Services, article written for SelfGrowth.com - Guide to "Intervention." 

Do you have a question about Intervention? Contact Outreach Services 866-418-1397.

Intervention and Intervention Services

Intervention and Family intervention is often an essential part of the recovery process. Denial is an ever-present partner with drug addiction. Just because an individual's life has become unmanageable as a result of drug addiction and/or alcoholism, no matter what the drug being abused, along with the abuse comes a lack of willingness and/or ability to confront the true nature of one's own problem with drugs and alcohol and to take any kind of action to better their lives. This is called denial, and it comes in many forms - blaming, playing the victim, anger, fear etc. Along with denial, an addict must deal with pride and ego, two of the worst enemies of addiction, as they will undoubtedly keep an addict or alcoholic using until they reach one of three inevitable ends - jails, institutions, or death. This is where a type of addiction professional called an interventionist becomes important. Drug and alcohol intervention and Interventionists play an essential role in the treatment process.

Intervention, Drug Treatment Centers, Alcohol Rehab Programs, and Interventionists

A family Intervention or drug and alcohol interventionist's job is to break down denial. Denial is a very strong defense mechanism used by addicts that enables them to justify continuing their destructive behavior. Often they blame their usage on family members, jobs, and stress, anything that allows them not to accept responsibility for their addiction and continue the substance abuse. Breaking through these barriers and gaining commitment to receive effective care is essential to begin healing, and this is the job of the interventionist and professional drug and alcohol intervention.

The sole purpose of intervention is to get the addict to an effective treatment facility immediately!

There are many phases to an intervention. The first phase is coordination with the family and with help from the interventionists or other professional selecting a treatment facility. Advance arrangements must be made as the expectation is immediate admittance upon the completion of the intervention.

The second step is to begin a dialogue with a professional interventionist. An experienced interventionist will quickly move the family from a disorganized chaotic state to a cohesive, focused group, always keeping in mind the goal of getting the addict to drug treatment or alcohol rehabilitation immediately. The intention is clear, the tone is hopeful and the resolve is unwavering. This process is born out of love and concern for the addict. Correctly executed professional interventions and interventionists are successful in 90%-95%+ of all cases.

In the event that the drug addict or alcoholic chooses not to agree to treatment, the family, friends, and employers must be prepared for the next step. This involves the total and immediate cessation of all enabling behaviors by the parties involved. Typically the only reason this process may not be effective is that in the past, consequences of the drug addict's behavior have been so minimal that the addict doesn't think that anything will change. The family must be prepared to set strong and unwavering boundaries and not waver at the time of intervention. The addict is once again told he/she is loved and that the family and interventionist are willing to get them effective drug or alcohol treatment. It must be made clear, however, that the family (with the guidance of the interventionist as a mediator) will no longer accept this behavior and watch the addict slowly kill themselves. The drug addict or alcoholic is asked to leave and expect no support of any kind until he or she asks for drug rehab or alcoholism treatment. No money, no roof over one's head, no shoulder to cry on, nothing except a request for treatment will be granted or even acknowledged. Intervention can be a very painful process, because it is a time during which a family often gets to see the true strength and resolve of the addictive mind. Intervention and interventionists are professionals in mediating this process, and comforting both the addict and the family in the strong emotions that accompany any professional drug or alcohol intervention process.

Intervention is a serious undertaking and it is imperative that it be done effectively, safely, and with confidentiality. No intervention should be undertaken without the advice and council of an experienced, trained and certified professional interventionist, preferably one who is knowledgeable in the treatment center and approach or treatment methodology that has been chosen for the drug rehabilitation or alcohol rehab of the drug addict.

Author's Bio Debra Norton has worked in the field of chemical dependency for over 15 years and has held positions from Intake Coordinator, Quality Improvement Director, Executive Director to Chief Financial Officer. Her love for people and serving those in need as well as her personal life experiences with chemical dependency has resulted in her developing OUTREACH SERVICES. OUTREACH SERVICES is now her passion because it affords the ability to help so many more people rather than just serving one facility. Her experience in marketing, personnel, intake, clinical management and quality improvement allows Outreach Services to continue to grow as a reputable placement organization. www.outreachservices.us

Article The New Age Addict

The New Age Addict

Stuart Birnbaum,
Director, Recovery Advocates

Once upon a time there were “drug addicts.”  Drug addicts were sleazy, desperate characters we only saw in film noir double features - black and white sub-creatures who skulked around in dark alleys waiting for a “fix.”  Men with golden arms, mainliners, intravenous heroin slammers; they had monkeys on their backs. But today’s “New Age Addict” is no longer a member of this subset of criminal types, living outside the realm of society.  Today’s addict is your mother, or your sister’s kid, the guy in the next cubicle, the neighborhood postman, or the checkout girl at Wal-Mart.  They don’t score their drugs on the street. They procure them from “New Age Drug Pushers.”  This pusher isn’t a pimp or the creep that hangs out in school yards.  The New Age Addict gets his fix from the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture his “medication,” from the pharmacies that distribute these drugs, the doctors that prescribe the painkillers, and the internet that delivers it conveniently to your doorstep.  The “Culture of Addiction” has been transformed.  The paradigm has shifted from use by a marginal societal sub-culture of old school “drug addicts” to an Uber-culture of mainstream American Soccer Moms and high-functioning professionals.

The New Age addict is mainstream.  The old addict was a fixture in a subculture of dependency.  They used I.V. heroin and, as a group, identified with each other as heroin-dependent.  They did not work.  They usually lived outside the realm of society.  They bought drugs illegally on the street.  They had dealers. As a result of their drug use this population was at high risk for HIV as HIV is a neuro-deficiency virus, transmitted intravenous usage or by sharing needles.  Hepatitis was another problem for this group. There was a criminal component to it; they would go to jail.  Overdosing was another big issue.  It is impossible to be clear what grade of heroin you were getting. You were never sure what it was cut with; you weren’t sure if it was poison; you weren’t sure it wasn’t too potent, or not enough potent.  As a result overdoses were very common.  A type of heroin called “Black Cat” hit the market in New York City ten years ago and it was so powerful, it was so “good,” that many people overdosed and died.  So this counter-culture element, a culture that recognized themselves as a group, identified with each other in dress, behavior, speech, music were criminal in nature. 

But this all changed.  It changed when the pharmaceutical companies starting making high grade opiates such as OxyContin (Oxycodone and Hydrocodone), Roxicet, etc.  Prudhoe Pharmacy came out with 80 mg OxyContin tablet which was very high dose and Roxicodone and Hydrocodone in 30 mg. tablets.  It was a watershed event. The major breakthrough was they took opiates and removed the drugs it was cut with - acetaminophen and ibuprofen (hitherto they were made in combination) and manufactured them the pure form.  The combination drugs of acetaminophen and Motrin were self-limiting.  You can only take so much Motrin.  Your liver fails if you take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol). Your stomach cannot handle high doses of Motrin—the body just cannot hack it.  You physically can’t have either one of them in high doses without getting sick.  But opiates alone you can handle in high doses.  So Prudhoe Pharmacy put Oxycodone in the form of OxyContin on the market. The rest is history.  They marketed it, pushing it hard with drug company representatives in the doctor’s offices with satchels full of free drug samples, moving the merchandise like hotcakes.  All of a sudden there were massive doses of these drugs on the market for people to get easily through their physicians or through the internet. 

The culture of addiction changed.  It was legitimized.  You don’t have to break the law. You could get these opioid narcotics in pure forms, pharmaceutical grade opiates and you could get as much as you wanted and it simply wasn’t illegal anymore. The user doesn’t have to worry about HIV; they don’t have to worry about hepatitis.  You don’t have to worry your drugs being cut with Motrin or acetaminophen or any impurities that limit its use.  The amounts produced, distributed and used skyrocketed because of accessibility. 

It is impossible to emphasize enough the critically absurd fact that this all became legal.  There is nothing to stop the New Age Addict from stopping.  The New Age Addict, unlike his predecessor, is not an outcast, a renegade.  He has a job and gets his drugs through his doctor(s) or on the internet. There are no checks and balances in the system to limit him anymore; he can get as much as he wants when he wants. 

The New Age addict doesn’t have to and won’t buy his drugs on the street.  Why take the risk when you don’t have to?  Why take a chance in not getting your supply when you need it?  All of a sudden the addict doesn’t have a dealer who knows he is using; he doesn’t have a community of “friends” and drug friends who know what he is up to.  Suddenly the checks and balances are out of the equation. 

Another big bonus for the New Age Addict is cost; the price of narcotics in this new legal marketplace drops. It’s easier to get legal drugs and it’s cheaper because you get more bang for your buck. You find higher potency in uncut pharmaceutical drugs.  This is a drug addicts dream come true; you are finding more drugs in the drugs, it’s pure, it’s easier to cop, there is no dealer and no cops standing over your shoulder.   The New Age Addict has struck two rich veins:  his drug use is permissible and anonymous.

Stuart Birnbaum,
Director, Recovery Advocates

 Article Chronic Pain Management

Chronic Pain Management and the Role of Sleep Disturbances

Posted on Monday, April the 13th at 11:09pm By: Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead, LMFT, ACRPS, CADC-II

Over the years one problem common to most patients undergoing chronic pain management are sleep problems. For some it is minor inconvenience, but for others it can become debilitating. According to the National Sleep Foundation two-thirds of people living with chronic pain experience sleep problems, whereas only about 15 percent of the normal population has difficulty falling asleep. Compounding the problem is the fact that some chronic pain medications also disrupt sleeping patterns!

In one study, it was found that approximately two-thirds of patients undergoing chronic pain management for back pain suffered from sleep disorders. Research has demonstrated that disrupted sleep will, in turn, exacerbate the chronic back pain problem. Thus, a vicious cycle develops in which the back pain disrupts one’s sleep, and difficulty sleeping worsens the pain, which in turn makes sleeping more difficult, etc.

Difficulty Falling Asleep

Chronic pain can impact sleep in a number of ways. To understand how a pain problem can make it difficult to fall asleep, it is helpful to think about the process associated with going to sleep for the night. In getting ready for bed, it is common to try and eliminate all distractions or other influences in an effort to “relax” and begin to fall asleep. This may include quieting the room, turning off the lights, eliminating any other noises, trying to get comfortable, and beginning to try to fall asleep.

However, this “quieting” of one’s environment can cause problems for people undergoing treatment for chronic back pain since the only thing left for the brain to focus on is the experience of the pain. Patients will often report that one of their primary pain management tools during the day is being able to distract themselves from the back pain by staying busy with other tasks (e.g., reading, watching television, engaging in hobbies or crafts, working, interacting with others, etc.), Yet, when trying to fall asleep there are no other distractions available to focus on except for the pain. In many cases, one’s perception of the pain actually increases when attempting to fall asleep. The longer falling asleep is delayed, the more stressful the situation becomes.

Difficulty Sleeping Through The Night

In addition to difficulty falling asleep, many patients undergoing chronic pain management also report awakening frequently during the night. Research has demonstrated that individuals with chronic lower back pain may experience several intense “micro-arousals” (a change in sleep state to a lighter stage of sleep) per hour of sleep, which lead to awakenings. Thus, chronic pain can be a significant intrusion into a night’s sleep and disruptive to the normal stages of sleep.

This problem is often the cause of “non-restorative sleep.” Individuals with chronic pain often experience less deep sleep, more arousals and awakenings during the night, as well as less efficient sleep. Thus, the quality of the sleep is often light and not refreshing. This non-restorative sleep pattern can then cause diminished energy, depressed mood, fatigue, and worse pain during the day.

One of my former patients, George, had only been sleeping 2-3 hours per day for several months when he first came to see me. He had been undergoing chronic pain treatment for about four years at that time. George’s sleep deprivation was causing major problems with his thinking and emotional management as well as negatively impacting his pain management. For him it was a depressing cycle—he hurt so he couldn’t sleep; when he couldn’t sleep he hurt more; when he hurt more he couldn’t sleep.

The consequences of sleep deprivation include physical effects, mental impairment, and mental health complications. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, to handle stress, to cope with pain, to maintain a healthy immune system, and to moderate our emotions. Total sleep deprivation is fatal: lab rats denied the chance to rest die within two to three weeks.

Other people who take medications for pain and sleep may end up going to the other end of the sleep disorder spectrum. Take Sara—she was so heavily medicated her family became concerned. She had been going to a chronic pain management clinic for about three years, during her tolerance increased along with her medication. She would sleep 18-20 hours per day and yet still be groggy. In this instance she was definitely over-medicated. The New York Times reports that about 42 million prescriptions for sleep medication were issued in 2005. Aside from being over prescribed, sleep medications these days can have strange side effects such as sleep-driving or sleep-eating!

For George and Sara the solution was to help them transition to a biopsychosocial chronic pain management plan that included more effective medication management. This allowed them to experience significant quality of life improvements, an important part of which was to practice good sleep hygiene, and as a result, get a better nights rest.

Developing Good Sleep Hygiene

So what do you do when you live with chronic pain and need to sleep? Do you give in and use potentially dangerous sleep medications or just suffer? Most experts recommend practicing good sleep hygiene, along with understanding the cause of disturbed sleep patterns. Sleep hygiene looks to the habits, environmental factors, and practices that may influence the length and quality of your sleep. These include bedtime, nighttime rituals, and disruptions to one's sleep. These are typically represented by simple guidelines meant to effectively promote a good night's rest.

If sleep problems persist after implementing sleep hygiene practices, it may be time to seek medical help. But what are some examples of good sleep hygiene? Below is some information I found during my research for this article. If you want to learn more, please go to the www.about.com website and type in “Sleep Hygiene.”

Relax before bedtime

Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, cool, and comfortable

  • Make sleep a priority: don’t sacrifice sleep to do daytime activities
  • Get up and go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants
  • Don’t smoke - in bed or at all
  • Exercise every day, but avoid doing it 4 hours before bedtime
  • Bedrooms are for sleeping and sex, not for watching television or doing work
  • Don’t toss and turn
  • Don’t take naps

I’ve been helping people with this problem for a long time and have used most of interventions listed above with them. One of the tools I also recommend for patients is the use of headphones with relaxation techniques, soothing sounds or music to help them to sleep. I also teach people relaxation response techniques that take about 7-10 minutes and one of the positive and surprising (to them!) side effects is a reduction in their sensation of pain.

So if you or someone you care about is undergoing chronic pain management treatment and is experiencing any of the sleep problems listed above, please know there is hope. The most important tool is for people living with chronic pain and any coexisting problem is to become active participants instead of passive recipients of their chronic pain management treatment plan.

Prevalence of Meth in California

The High Prevalence Of Methamphetamine Addiction In California

By : Todd Lange  Article approved 2008-10-16

For more information or to submit articles contact Outreach Services or email: info@drugandalcoholrehabchoices.com

Methamphetamine has become one of the most severe forms of drug addiction in the state of California in recent years. An interesting aspect of methamphetamine addiction in California is that it has been one of the fastest growing forms of drug addiction in the state. The drug was virtually absent from the scene of drug addiction in this state in the nineties, but the turn of the millennium saw the drug being used in the state in a large way. Today, a large number of youth aged between 18 and 25 years of age are reeling under this form of addiction. This is what is making the problem more serious. The biggest share of victims of this form of drug addiction in the state are youngsters who get hooked to the substance very fast and due to its heavily addictive nature find it very difficult to come out of the dependency.

Here we see some details on the prevalence of methamphetamine addiction in California and check out some trends of the same.

The Sources of Methamphetamine Addiction in California

The primary source of methamphetamine addiction in California, as in the rest of the US, is Mexico. Most of the drug comes in from the Mexican suppliers who provide some of the best quality of the substance. The drug is brought in from various Mexican drug traffickers which work in tandem with various organizations. A major share of methamphetamine is brought in by chain motorcycle gangs in the state. The other source of methamphetamine is through Caucasian immigrants who bring in small amounts of the substance in the state which nonetheless is a significant amount when the entire share of methamphetamine addiction in the state is considered.

One more very important source of methamphetamine addiction in the state is through local production. This happens through the various meth labs that are set up in various areas of the state. The largest number of these meth labs are found in the south of the state, close to the Mexican border. These labs produce methamphetamine and its purer version, crystal meth, also known locally as ice, from crude materials such as cough syrups containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine and antifreeze.

Most of the methamphetamine that is locally produced in California is found in the sylvan areas of northern California, the desert areas across the state and various regions in the Central Valley of the state. This is definitely bringing in a significant amount of the substance in the state, making it a big problem.

In recent times, more sources of methamphetamine are being exposed. There are some methamphetamine products that are being sourced from as far as China. The major users of methamphetamine are observed in the densely populated areas of the state, even though the sources are in the most sparse and remote areas of the state.

Methamphetamine Addiction in California - A Youth Problem

One of the main issues that are connected with methamphetamine addiction in California is that it is a youth problem. The main reason behind this lies in the fact that the substance is mostly locally distributed in places where young people frequent such as the night clubs and the rave party areas. The drug is a big hit in such areas because it is freely available, not much expensive and is known for producing a very quickly intoxicating effect to the user. Due to these reasons, the major clientele of this substance is between 18 and 25 years of age.

There is a connected problem with the methamphetamine usage for young people in the state. The drug has a slightly aphrodisiacal effect. Though this increases the appeal of the drug, it also induces the youth to indulge in some kings of illegal sexual activities. This is compounded by the fact that the drug is always used in a group. Put together, all these facts are responsible for increasing the HIV risk among the users of this substance.

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment in California

Areas such as Fresno, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose have various centers that are specially designed for providing meth treatment. Considering the fact that most of the people who are in this type of addiction are youngsters, the centers are designed to look after the needs of the young patients.

The methods employed in the treatment process are the same as in other forms of addiction, but considering that this is a very strong form of addiction, the methods used are stringent. The detox phase, for example, is much longer than the detox phase used in other forms of addiction treatment.

Article submitted by Amity Foundation

A Story of Hope

“Before I came to Amistad, nobody ever took time to teach me how to do something.  I just had to figure it out on my own.  Now I have mentors who are like me.  They have been drug addicts and they have been incarcerated but they are doing something different with their life today.  I could relate.  I started to open up, build my confidence, and pay attention to what people were saying.  I used to say I don’t need help… I know what I’m doing.  Now when someone opens a door for me I accept it.  I’m not closing doors anymore; I’m actually going through that threshold.”  ~ Jose Perez, Amistad de Los Angeles

A Story of HopeUpon meeting Jose, one finds a dedicated father, a loyal son, a student furthering his education, and a hard working intern at Amity’s Amistad de Los Angeles community.  Jose is actively involved in Amistad’s mentoring program; helping others while he helps himself navigate the transition from prison life to successful re-entry into the community. 

The landscape of Jose’s life was quite different in 2004 when he was incarcerated at the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) in Soledad.  Although he had spent much of the previous eight years of his life incarcerated, the Level III yard was a new environment for Jose.  Being cut off from family, unable to make phone calls, encountering
the slow process of sending and receiving mail all contributed to his feelings of guilt, frustration, regret, and hopelessness.    

It wasn’t until July of 2005 that Jose became involved with Amity at Soledad.  He states, “When I finally hit that yard I was lost.  I was tired of doing time.  My oldest daughter, who was 11 years old, wrote me a letter that made me cry.  It still makes me cry today.    She said, “you’re always in the streets…do you even love me?”  It was true.  The only time I ever wrote her was when I got busted.  I asked myself, how much time I had really spent in her life?” 

Amity Foundation is acutely aware that the increasing number of children with incarcerated parents constitutes one of the largest at-risk populations in the United States.  Every individual is embedded in a family, which is embedded in an extended family, which is embedded in a community, and so forth in ever widening circles.  Therefore, the successful re-entry of one person has an exponential impact on families and society. All Amity projects utilize the Extensions curriculum authored by Naya Arbiter and Fernando Mendez (www.extensionsllc.com).  The intent of the curriculum is to help individuals accept and reconcile the reality of their life experiences, building bridges back toward a healthy lifestyle and healthy relationships.  “At first I was resistant.  I started listening and doing the curriculum, and little by little I was connecting with the process.  I was noticing this isn’t even my vocabulary anymore.  I started to connect with one of the counselors, even though I didn’t want to admit it.  When it came close to my release I felt the fear coming up.  Where am I going to go?  What do I want to do when I get out?  My mom and dad are getting old.  My kid’s…what about my kids?   The Amity staff at Soledad gave me some direction.  They told me about their residential communities where they’d help me get my GED, my I.D., enroll in Voc. Rehab, and find a job.  I was afraid of being a father, but they said they’d help me with that too.  So I told them, let me try Amistad.” Fortunately for Jose and many others, Amity’s Therapeutic Community in Soledad ranks first in the state of California in referrals to community based treatment.  “When I got to Amistad in October, 2006, I made some commitments:  to get off of high control, to get off of parole, to be a better father and a better son, to have a respectable job, and to live a sober life.  So far, things are falling into place.  Now I’m getting visits from my family.  I’m beginning to model what I see and hear in a positive way.  The things my teachers said I’m now saying, but in my own way.”

As Jose continued in his process he took on leadership roles within the Amistad community, becoming a role model and applying for an intern position.   “When I was offered an apprenticeship I had to make a decision.  I thought, maybe I could do this --- maybe I should try it.  I’ve done everything else and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere.”

At the recent acknowledgement ceremony at Amistad de Los Angeles, Rod Mullen, President/ CEO and Founding Director of Amity Foundation (www.amityfdn.org) recognized Jose Perez and his personal demonstration which will pave the way for others to follow.  Jose’s story is not unique within the Amity community.  Amity Foundation is committed to helping previously incarcerated persons through the re-entry process, obtaining access to the services they need to live full and productive lives.  “My experiences have me thinking a different way now.  I don’t learn that fast, but sometimes I just catch myself doing something different.  Today there are people in my life who see something in me that I don’t see.  They challenge me and encourage me.  I notice my kids are looking at me different now.  My dad looks at me and kinda smiles like “I’ll be damned!”   Everything in my life is new to me today.   I always had really low self esteem.  Today I still know I have a lot to learn, but I also believe I have something to teach.”

Author:

Mary Stanton, senior counselor with Amity Foundation, began her professional career in 1976 as a research chemist after receiving her BS in biochemistry and math from the University of New Mexico.  Later, as the mother of three sons, she changed careers to teaching, completing her graduate coursework in Education and Library Science.  Stanton taught high school and worked as a school librarian for a total of fifteen years prior to entering the counseling profession.  During the five years she has been with Amity Foundation, Stanton has worked in a variety of capacities including counseling and training, developing and implementing new programs, grant writing, and writing for Amity’s websites (www.circletreeranch.org and www.amityfdn.org).  

Biography — Naya Arbiter
Naya Arbiter is the principal of Extensions, LLC (www.extensionsllc.com), a private consulting group which she founded.  Recognized for her ability to develop new restorative paradigms and practices for marginalized populations, Ms. Arbiter has been a featured speaker at national and international conferences.  Her career spans over three decades during which she has developed innovative and effective services for pregnant addicts, addicted mothers and their children, and both adolescents and adults with histories of chronic addiction, criminality, violence, and incarceration.  Ms. Arbiter was appointed by President Reagan in 1987 to serve as a conferee to the White House Conference for a Drug Free America.  She has written over 13 volumes of copyrighted curriculum to be used by behavioral health organizations—including teacher’s manuals and an extensive quality assurance system to report on progress of students and faculty.

 

Recovery:The light at the end of the tunnel

 

Recovery: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel By Jay Bartels

They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. That is the struggle our friends and families are up against until we finally agree to go to a 12 step meeting. In the years that I've been in recovery, I have felt that feeling of hopelessness many times while trying to express these words to them ."If I could come out of the gutter and live as a responsible member of society, then there is no reason why you couldn't receive the same blessings as I have". When they finally decide to attend a meeting with me, all I can do is pray that they hear something that just clicks in their head, a voice inside them telling them “I can do this". When I finally had enough pain and still didn't believe I could change, it was the other recovering addicts that refused to accept that, they gave me love, and by seeing the miracles in their lives, I found a bit of hope that maybe I too can have a life and be freed from bonds of my addiction and self- affliction.

They tried to show me “The light at the end of the tunnel", but always thought that light to be a train coming, and at times that seemed like an easy way out. But God had other plans for me, and he put many people in my life who brought a strong message of hope, and an abundance of faith. I put my trust in these messengers and finally found my faith, I began to believe, if they could change their lives by surrendering their will, then it was apparent that I must do the same in order to receive the same blessings. I had hope, where there once was doubt; I had faith that God had bigger and better plans for me. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and my purpose here is to touch as many hearts as possible, and to give hope to those who are where I once was. I strive to give them faith that they can have a new lease on life once they surrender their will, and turn it over to a higher power. Once you do this, I can safely walk you through the tunnel and lead you towards the beauty of the light. In the light is where you were always meant to be, free from your worries, surrounded in happiness, living life instead of running from it.

With faith comes serenity, with surrender comes victory. With each new day we learn how precious life can be and we regain our gratitude for the simple things in life, things that normally go unnoticed and unappreciated by most people. I know it's not easy at first when we are contemplating getting clean. Courage is not about being fearless, on the contrary, courage is when we fear something but take the action to face, no matter how afraid we may be. That's the courage it took for me seek help and allow others who cared about me to help me through it. It's about having faith that your life will be filled with miracles once you surrender your will, and one day my friend it will be you writing these letters or leading meetings for those who are still suffering. You see, we are all in this together, a fellowship of people just like you and me. We can only keep what we have by giving it away, which is why I choose to give hope to addicts by telling them my miraculous story of recovery once I was able to step into the beauty of the light. Many Blessings.

Some words about Jay Bartels (author of this article)
Jay is a single father of two loving daughters and has been in recovery for several years. He chose to surrender his anonymity to be able to give hope to those who feel it's too late for them to change, by telling his stories of life in recovery. If you enjoyed this article, please visit Jay's Family sites at Jays Plan - Secrets of A Single Dad and Family Health With Mister Mom

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