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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Spiritual Reflections: Positivity and Gratitude

gratitudeIt was very simple to have a great day, that is, once I learned that I alone controlled it.

It all came down to perception.  If I stepped out of bed, it was then my choice to have a lousy day or a wonderfully marvelous day.  What was your choice today?

I search out the positive perspective, positive energy and positive people who are about a quality way of living.  Negativity for me is like the plague and has to be avoided at all costs.  Negativity steals my life energy and can send anyone into a head of doom and gloom and self-pity.

I begin thinking, feeling and behaving positive and positive things happen!  So be grateful and spread positive energy today!

By Janie M.
PRO-ACT Volunteer

My Brother’s Wisdom

On May 5th, 2011, I was being chased, tackled and arrested by the police in a McDonald’s parking lot, while my 14 year old brother watched from across the street.  At that time, I didn’t know who I was.  All I knew was that my present and future consisted of getting high, making money and hurting those around me. I had no real friends, my family had given up on me, and the only thing I cared about was feeding my addiction.

As a result of my arrest, I was looking at serious jail time. The judge had offered me Drug Court to avoid a state sentence and to try to change my life for the better.  I didn’t want that. I wanted to serve my time so that I could get out and resort back to my old ways.

One day, all of that changed during a family visit.  My little brother turned around and said, “Gina, have you ever seen the movie ‘Walk the Line’?” I replied that I had. “Well, you remind me of Johnny Cash. In the movie, all of his loved ones are there trying to help him, and he doesn’t get it. You’re doing the same thing.” For the first time in my life, I was speechless.

Months later, I was being sworn into the Bucks County Drug Court Program. I got engaged with a recovery specialist, Rick P, at the Southern Bucks Recovery Community Center, as part of the Drug Court’s requirements. He helped me develop a resume, look for employment and gave me great advice on how to cope with daily struggles. In between looking for employment, I began volunteering and giving back to others what was freely given to me.

During this time, I was slowly developing healthy relationships with my family members and people in the rooms of 12 step support meetings.  The rooms taught me how to be honest with others, as well as myself. I was gaining trust back with my family, and they could see that I was on the road to long term recovery.   

Once I found employment, my volunteering ceased. Rick P. could see how passionate I was about helping others.  He suggested I take the CRS (Certified Recovery Specialist) training through Pro-Act. I mentioned it to my family, and they thought it was a great idea.  They even paid for it!

From there, things just kept getting better for me. I passed my CRS exam in July of 2013. I graduated from the Drug Court Program in August of 2013. I was hired at the Council of Southeast PA and Pro-Act in November of 2013 as a CRS for the participants that are still on Drug Court!

I can honestly say that I never could have imagined my life heading in this direction.  But I am so glad it did. Today, I have friends I can rely on, and who are there for me to pick me up when I’m having a bad day. I receive texts from my little brother, now 17, saying how proud he is of me and my progress. My boyfriend of 2 years holds my hand and continues to support me through my journey. My grandparents and my mother thank God every day that they have “the old Gina” back. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I found a road to recovery and developed a support system that works for me.  So can you.

Gina P

The Key to My Success: Almost a Relic

My physician directed me to have knee-replacement surgery. What followed taught me some valuable lessons about recovery.  My experience is a reminder to us all that we must continue to speak-up as a community for ourselves and our loved ones, to demand the quality of care warranted by the chronic disease of addiction.      

In the case of my knee, the health system provided ample diagnosis, prescriptions, education and supports prior to, during and after surgery.  First, the surgeon directed me to have a check-up by my primary care physician to get pre-surgery approval.  Then I had to visit my dentist to make certain I had no dental infection that would complicate my surgery by making my knee vulnerable to infection.  My wife and I then attended a knee-replacement orientation together.  A nurse called afterwards with pre-surgery instructions on what to purchase to ease recovery obstacles, and inform me about who to call if I had questions.  A nurse and physical therapist visited my home to provide my spouse and me with directions and exercises, and to answer our questions about recovery issues that arise post-surgery.    

Nothing comparable exists for most of us in addiction recovery. Everything is left to the patient and the family to discover on their own.  Most who have an addiction disorder face an array of hapless, haphazard and sometimes contradictory recommendations that impose more rather than fewer obstacles to a continuum of care.  Often, these obstacles are the reason a person has difficulties in accessing or sustaining long term recovery.  The person with the disease is then blamed for not having enough will-power.    

Twenty-nine years ago, due to the fortuitous observation of someone in recovery, I was helped in getting an assessment for a substance use disorder.  That was my first indication that I had a problem with alcohol.  I was given choices of outpatient followed by inpatient care.  I was ultimately directed to inpatient by an informed expert.  At that time, volunteers in recovery actually assisted the inpatient professionals with patient counseling.   

Also 29 years ago, my family was offered orientation and therapy.  My spouse also went to a family program at the residential rehabilitation facility I attended.  After leaving the rehab, a designee took me on a guided tour of 12-Step Meetings and instructed me as to which ones would and would not be helpful and why.   

The health system and volunteers both wrapped their arms around my wife and I, and didn’t let go.  I owe my unbroken sobriety to excellent care before, during and after treatment.  

Such quality of care still exists today if one is having their knee replaced and has excellent insurance coverage.  However, the same quality of care if you need recovery from addiction is unlikely.  The excellent insurance coverage I had 29 years ago is today rare. 

 After years of actions by managed care that eliminated treatment and recovery options, the period of enlightenment that provided me with such excellent care 29 years ago has dimmed.  Decades of coverage cuts have had dismal effects.   

 So we have our work cut out to turn back the clock.  The Affordable Care Act creates an opportunity.  But for others to have the same key to success I did, we must work hard as a community to define and enable a continuum of recovery planning and support.

 It’s now our turn to volunteer, wrap our arms around the health system and not let go – until it recovers.     

 Allen McQuarrie
PRO-ACT, Bucks County

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