Recovery: When You Can’t Just Leave by Erin Hill

It’s a special kind of lonely hell when you love an addict.

Your relationship is teetering on disaster – you’re barely surviving – you’re in a hole so deep the sky looks like a pinhole – you’re ashamed of what you and your life has become. You are afraid that if you let go, the world as you know it will crumble around you. Those around you encourage you to leave. But they don’t understand that you can’t “Just Leave”.

It’s complicated. It’s messy. It hurts.

They don’t understand that just like an addict starts with their drug – we are addicted to our addict. We didn’t get into these relationships thinking “Gee, I think I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to control someone else’s crap” – just like they didn’t wake up one day deciding to be an addict. It evolves.

The dark, sticky, snake-like fingers of the disease constricts every aspect of our lives.

The finances, the employment, the physical health and the mental well-being of everyone in the home is compromised. Before you know it – you’re so entwined in the madness that getting out feels like death. Because it would be. You had hopes and dreams of a happily ever after, and if you leave, that dies.
But just as addiction can wrap itself around your relationship, so too can recovery.

My husband and I have been together 12 years, married for 10 – and he recently celebrated 5 years clean and sober. It’s still not perfect – it’s like that illusive “normal” you hear about – or unicorns and leprechauns. But it’s definitely better than it was.

It takes both of you to work on it.

I thought for sure that if he just quit the drug, things would get better. That if he would just quit drinking. Or get a job. Or spend more time with me and the kids… that it would be OK. I didn’t have the problem – he did. I could run the household, raise the kids, go to work, AND deal with him and his crap –

I was superwoman – right?! Wrong.

I brought a few suitcases worth of my own crap to this party.

It wasn’t until I was willing to take a hard look at my part in our relationship that I was ready to get really honest with myself. I was attracted to him because I thought I could fix him. That if I fixed him, he’d owe me – and never leave. And most of all – because I thought that was the kind of man I deserved – I wasn’t going to do any better. It was disguised as a noble attempt at fixing his problems, saving him from himself, and making everything alright with the world. It was just a thin cloak over the ability to distract myself from my own problems.

When you start looking at your stuff – unpacking those suitcases of stuff from your own history, and tossing what you don’t use or love (The Art of Tidying Up style) and repacking in a loving way what you want to keep, you make room for the stuff you really want. Like recovery. For you.

They don’t have to get sober for you to be happy.

Once you start seeing what it is you want for your own life, you can detach and work on YOU. I found that in our relationship it comes in spurts. He’ll work on himself, then I’ll work on my stuff. It’s a partnership like it’s never been before.

As we know better, we do better.

Getting clean and sober was just the beginning for us. There’s been times that have been more difficult in the last 5 years in recovery that were harder than the drunken rages or nights of fear, tears and despair. It doesn’t get easier, but you get stronger. And just like any other muscle, the more you use it, the stronger you get.

Start small.

Go for a walk, sit in silence with your breath for a few moments every day. Journal, write, sing, speak, or scream. Do something that’s just for YOU. As you come back to yourself, you develop your sense of strength and hope. You know that regardless, you’re going to be OK. And OK is good enough. YOU are good enough.

A Beautiful Mess was created by Erin Hill to educate and inspire women to Care for themselves, Communicate their needs, and Connect with their tribe of women who “get it”. Erin is a coach for women and blogger about life. She lives in Cambridge Maryland with her husband and 3 children. More information can be found at www.beautifulmesslife.com

Talbot Partnership Partners with Easton High School Interactive Media Class

Talbot Partnership, a Talbot County nonprofit dedicated to educating the community about substance abuse prevention, recently partnered with Easton High School’s award-winning Interactive Media classes to create a new organizational website. According to Dave Stofa, Director of Athletics/Transportation and Security Manager for Talbot County Public Schools, following Talbot Partnership’s recent rebranding and change in marketing focus, the organization approached instructor Garnette Hines about having her Easton High School students create and maintain a new website for Talbot Partnership.

Talbot Partnership - EHS Intern - Garnette Hines & Cameron Miller 2017

Pictured L to R are Garnette Hines, Instructor with Easton High School’s Interactive Media classes, and Cameron Miller of Cordova, a senior at Easton High School creating and maintaining a website for local nonprofit, Talbot Partnership. The two are reviewing a video segment the students created on career and technology pathways in Talbot County for the Talbot County Board of Education’s Career and Technology Month.

Cameron Miller of Cordova, a senior in Hines Advanced Interactive Media class, agreed to take on the project. Miller, plans to attend UMBC in the fall of 2017 where he will be studying game or Web design, marrying his interest in computer science and graphic design. He comments, “I have especially enjoyed working on this project as it is a really cool message to be promoting – alcohol and drug prevention. It’s great to help a local organization with a mission to help with this issue in our community.”

Hines, whose students have been interning with local businesses in the community, adds, “This is giving our students real world experience, which is vital to being successful outside of the classroom. It is also a way for us to connect with the community who supports the school – strengthening the school/business partnership.”

With Miller leaving for college in the fall, Hines is grooming another Easton High School student to take over to provide continuity in updating and editing Talbot Partnership’s website.

For further information about Talbot Partnership’s programs, contact them at 410-819-8067.

Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism Now Accepting Concept Papers for Grants That Help Prevent Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse

The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism is now accepting concept papers for 2017 AmeriCorps State-Targeted Priority program grants in Maryland. These grants will fund service activities that address critical community needs, namely the need to prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse and strengthen law enforcement and community relations.

In order to understand statewide needs and identify prospective applicants for this grant opportunity, the Office on Service and Volunteerism is partnering with Governor Larry Hogan’s Opioid Operational Command Center, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“Marylanders from every corner of the state know the devastation that heroin and opioid abuse can cause,” said Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford. “That’s why it’s so important that groups already dedicated to community service become a part of our statewide fight to end this epidemic.”

Through additional funds provided by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism has hired a special initiatives coordinator to assist in this grant process. Working with the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the coordinator’s goal is to ensure that Maryland is equipped to effectively address the opioid epidemic.

The grants come on the heels of Governor Hogan’s announcement of the administration’s 2017 Heroin and Opioid Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Initiative, a multi-pronged and sweeping administrative and legislative effort to continue addressing Maryland’s ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic.

The first step in the application process for a 2017 AmeriCorps State-Targeted Priority program grant is to submit a concept paper, due by 10 a.m. on Friday, March 10, 2017. Concept papers will be reviewed and applicants will be notified of acceptance by March 24. At that time, accepted applicants will be invited to complete a full grant application, due in April. The funding year will run from August 15, 2017, to August 14, 2018. To submit a concept paper or for more information, visit gosv.maryland.gov/available- funding/.

About the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism
The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism is a unit of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. Through the use of federal dollars, the office funds AmeriCorps State programs to support community service efforts in Maryland. Each year, the office recognizes more than 200,000 Maryland volunteers on behalf of the governor.

Recovery: Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict, on Opioids April 8

Did you know over the past 3 years that 272 Mid-Shore opioid overdoses were reported by Shore Regional Health-Memorial Hospital at Easton.

Mid-Shore communities are increasingly facing new risks from marijuana, heroin, and prescription drug abuse.  The report adds that prescription drugs have become established as significant substances of abuse, alongside illicit drugs among young adults, with prescription opioids being the second most commonly misused illegal drug after marijuana among persons aged 16 to 25 years old in Talbot County. Between 2010 and 2014 clients in Talbot County reported heroin as their drug of choice has grown 927%. Users cut across all income levels, but for Talbot County, most of the users are young.

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 9.31.50 AM

Pictured is Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict

On April 8, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Talbot County Department of Social Services will host a free conference, “Opioid Use Across the Lifespan,” featuring nationally-known guest speaker Tony Hoffman, Pro BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict. The day-long event will be held at the Talbot County Community Center, Easton, MD. Parents, teens, teachers, coaches, medical providers and anyone dealing with youth in our community are encouraged to attend.  Some of the conference topics will include safe disposal of prescription drugs, drug abuse trends and prevention strategies, the use of NARCAN, available resources, and personal stories by local residents.

Tony Hoffman’s story is full of redemption as he has seen some of the highest highs, and the lowest lows.  His BMX career started in high school, as he was a top-ranked BMX amateur with multiple endorsements. As a native of Clovis, CA, where he attended Clovis High School, Hoffman started drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and using prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin by his senior year. His life took a turn for the worse as he became addicted at such a young age, losing everything. In 2004 he committed a home invasion armed robbery, and was ultimately sent to prison for two years in 2007.  Hoffman began rebuilding his life’s purpose while he spent two years in prison.

Hoffman has dedicated his life, to bringing awareness around the country, describing how dangerous prescription pill and heroin abuse are, as well as advocating a shift in thinking towards current addiction-recovery processes. He has been sober since May 17th, 2007 and is the Founder and Director of The Freewheel Project, a non-profit organization that mentors thousands of youth through action sports: BMX, skateboarding and after-school programs. The Freewheel Project focuses on teaching kids leadership skills, and making healthy life choices, including substance abuse prevention, each year. In 2016 he also began writing his first book, titled, “Coming Clean.” He is a Former BMX Elite Pro and is currently ranked #2 in Masters Pro class, coaching in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with Women’s BMX PRO, Brooke Crain, in his lineup.

Space is limited for the free conference and pre-registration is required by March 24, 2017. Call 410-770-5750 or email Lindsay.newcomb1@maryland.gov.

Recovery: Maryland Public TV to Air ‘Breaking Heroin’s Grip’ February 11

Maryland Public Television (MPT) and over two dozen other local TV and radio stations to air a new program called Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road To Recovery on February 11 at 7 p.m. The program was produced in association with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Behavioral Health Administration .

The program focuses on the struggles and recovery efforts of three Maryland residents, in rural and urban settings, dealing with opioid addictions. The documentary portion will last 40 minutes and will be followed by a 20 minute live phone bank staffed by crisis hotline staff who will provide callers with information on treatment. The number to call is 800-422-0009.

The program was arranged with broadcast and print media as part of an effort to bring localized coverage of the opioid epidemic. Maryland is among many states with surging numbers of fatal overdoses largely from opioids, which include prescription painkillers and heroin.

For more information please go here  http://www.mpt.org/breakingheroin

 

Recovery: Hogan Announces new Measures to Address Opioid Addiction

Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford announced Tuesday they are rolling out new legislation that would counter Maryland’s growing opioid addiction crisis.
 
The Prescriber Limits Act would prevent doctors from prescribing more than seven days worth of opioid painkillers during a patient’s first visit or consultation. The law exempts patients going through cancer treatment and those diagnosed with a terminal illness. 
 
The Distribution of Opioids Resulting in Death Act would introduce a new felony charge carrying up to 30 years in prison for people convicted of illegally selling opioids or opioid analogues that result in the death of a user. Rutherford said the law would carry protections for people who were selling to support their addiction.
 
And the Overdose Prevention Act authorizes the collection of and review of non-fatal overdose data and would make it easier for people to fill prescriptions for naloxone, a drug that can counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. 
 
Hogan and Rutherford, whom the governor has directed to focus on opioid addiction, announced the legislation in a press conference at Anne Arundel Medical Center on Tuesday
 
Rutherford also announced that the governor would sign an executive order that will create an Opioid Operations Command Center — a “virtual” task force charged with organizing training and funding for local anti-addiction teams as well as collecting data on opioid use and abuse. 
 
Hogan said that he did not fully appreciate the scope of the opioid epidemic until he began crisscrossing Maryland during the early phases of his gubernatorial campaign. He said he asked people in different parts of the state what their community’s biggest problem was and that, regardless of whether they were from a rural, urban, wealthy, or poor community, “the answer was always the same: heroin.”
 
Both Hogan and Rutherford appeared optimistic but acknowledged that the problem of opioid addiction is worsening in Maryland. Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh said that, at the start of his tenure a couple years ago, there was one overdose per day and one death per week from opioid abuse in his county. He said those figures have risen to two overdoses per day and two and a half deaths per week.
 
At the press conference, State’s Attorney Wes Adams, R-Anne Arundel, spoke about the recent death of his brother-in-law, who he said died of an opioid overdose.
 
Adams said his brother-in-law became addicted to opioids after being prescribed them following a surgery about eight years ago. He said he moved in and out of rehab centers and periodically became clean, only to relapse later. 
 
Adams lamented the obstacles from the medical and insurance industries that he and his family faced as they tried to keep his brother-in-law in treatment. 
 
He also expressed consternation over recently being prescribed a substantial supply of Oxycontin, an opioid pain-killer, following a medical procedure, despite telling his doctor that he was only experiencing moderate pain. 
 
He said angrily that the only major side-effect his pharmacist warned him of was constipation, despite the well-documented risk of addiction that use of the drug carries. 
By JACOB TAYLOR

State Analyst: Maryland Might Lose $1.4 billion under Health Care Repeal

A federal repeal of the national health care law could cost Maryland $1.4 billion in the 2018 fiscal year, state budget analysts said Tuesday.

Funds issued to Maryland through the Affordable Care Act include $1.2 billion of enhanced federal funding to cover Medicaid, David Romans, fiscal and policy analysis deputy director for the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, told the House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee.

“Roughly 312,000 people (in Maryland) will receive coverage in fiscal (year 2018) through that ACA expansion,” Romans said. Maryland’s Affordable Care Act expansion widens the range of income levels to help cover more adults.

Romans said if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, the state would need to decide to either drop the coverage or to make up the $1.2 billion for Medicaid and an additional $200 million for other related services.

The federal government now covers about 95 percent of funding for Medicaid, but if the federal health care law is repealed, it could be reduced to 50 percent, Romans said.

“There is a lot of unknowns around federal spending in Maryland,” he added.

“The 2018 (proposed) budget assumes 312,000 individuals enrolled under the ACA Medicaid expansion provision will receive full physical and behavioral health care coverage benefits at a total cost of care of $2.8 billion,” according to the Department of Legislative Services.

Included in the estimated $1.4 billion in cuts, the state could lose $200 million allocated for the Maryland Children’s Health Program, additional pharmacy rebates, and waivers for the all-payer rate-setting hospital system, which creates a consistent price for all insurers for specific procedures.

Romans told lawmakers that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is the state’s “greatest vulnerability in terms of loss in federal dollars.”

The committee’s vice chair, Delegate Frank Turner, D-Howard, said he hopes Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, is looking carefully at the impact losing that amount of money would have on the state.

Hogan met with the state’s federal delegation Monday hoping to “put politics aside and find a solution to the (Affordable Care Act) issue,” according to Doug Mayer, a spokesman for the governor.

“We’re not going to speculate on what may happen,” Mayer said. Mayer specified there are aspects of the federal health care law the governor agrees with and aspects he doesn’t.

“Keep the good and get rid of the bad,” he said. The good including young adults being able to stay on their parents’ insurance plans longer and the bad including skyrocketing rates, according to Mayer.

Aside from the estimated $1.4 billion, Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange, which covers about 60,000 households, could also lose funding if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, according to Romans. The Department of Legislative Services estimates program’s federal support to be about $225 million.

The state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also referred to as SNAP, which currently receives about $1 billion in federal dollars, is also at risk of losing funding if the health care law is repealed, according to Romans.

Warren Deschenaux, executive director of the Department of Legislative Services, told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service that “the biggest concern (in the budget) is that it does very little to resolve the problems for the future.”

Deschenaux said he anticipates a $400 million to $500 million budget gap that will continue to increase in the future, despite the consideration of the Affordable Care Act repeal.

By Cara Newcomer

Talbot County Health Dept to Help Shatter Drug Myths in Late January

About out a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illegal drug sometime in the past year, and more than 10 percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Here on the Mid-Shore, more than 7 percent of our high school seniors have tried heroin.

Drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, but many teens are not aware of the risks. Today’s popular culture is filled with inaccurate information about drugs. We at the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office think it’s time to ‘Shatter the Myths.’ With science-based information on drugs and their impact on the body, teenagers can make well-informed decisions before engaging in risky behavior.

January 23 through 29 marks National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, which is a time for teens to shatter myths about drugs and drug use. For information, resources, interactive activities and more, visit www.teens.drugabuse.gov. For local information and resources, contact Alexandra Duff, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department, at 410-819-5600.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community. Resources include parenting skills, video and resource loan library, awareness campaigns and educational workshops.

Profles in Recovery: Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office

Did you know that 85 percent of people in recovery for alcoholism still smoke, according to the Association of American Family Physicians (AAFP)? In fact, the AAFP says people in recovery may have a greater addiction to nicotine than smokers without a problem with alcohol.

In addition, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism highlights the connection between smoking and alcohol:

  • 80-95 percent of alcoholics smoke.
  • Alcoholics smoke at a rate of three times greater than non-alcoholics.
  • 70 percent of alcoholics are classified as heavy smokers, who smoke more than a pack per day.

Just like quitting alcohol or drugs, giving up cigarettes is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In fact, research shows that quitting smoking actually improves the rate of recovery from other addictions.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office is committed to ending the death and disease caused by tobacco use, and offers free support and resources to anyone ready to quit. They can help you quit cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco – even flavored cigars. Their free cessation help includes Chantix, the patch and nicotine gum, along with support on achieving your quit goal. TCHD also can come to any local business and teach smoking cessation classes for your employees. Please call us at 410-819-5600 if you’d like to learn more. Funding for their free cessation support and resources comes from the Cigarette Restitution Fund

Andria Duff, Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office.

Alexandra Duff, Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office.

Community Support

The Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities that help prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse. So far this year they’ve provided more than $38,000 in local grants to community organizations, churches and schools on prevention programs and activities and have also launched several mini-campaigns aimed at promoting alcohol-, tobacco- and drug-free lives. Their activities this year also have included several prevention events, both with students and with various community groups.

Talbot County Health Department also work with retailers to reduce tobacco sales to minors, through the Synar program. The Synar program helps ensure our county remains compliant with federal legislation that requires states to enforce laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors. Each year they conduct educational activities, including youth events, and provide resources for retailers.

Prescription Pills and the Heroin Crisis

The Prevention Office works toward increased awareness and education on the dangers of opioids, including important resources for the community. They work with several community partners on medication drop-off and proper disposal, information on opioids including use, risks and overdose prevention; promotion of the Good Samaritan Law and a host of other activities. Their prevention funding comes from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant from SAMSHA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.

Underage Drinking and Responsible Retailers

Lastly, TCHD works with local schools and other organizations on preventing underage drinking, binge drinking and impaired driving. They also are working on a campaign geared toward are seniors, many of whom are at risk from alcohol use. In addition, we work with retailers on responsible alcohol practices, offering resources and support where possible. They also support Check Yourself Talbot, a community coalition working to reduce binge drinking here in our community.

The Prevention Office is here to help build a healthier community, and offers a host of resources including educational workshops and a resource loan library. If you’d like information or resources on alcohol, tobacco or drug use prevention please contact Alexandra Duff, prevention coordinator, at 410-819-5600. You can also find resources and information on our Facebook page geared toward parents/caregivers – Be the Parent on the Scene.

Recovery: Barriers discourage Doctors from providing Suboxone to Opioid Addicts

The Spy took note of a report a few days ago from Maine highlighting a number of state doctor groups having little effect in convincing physicians to become Suboxone providers.

“Boosting the low supply of doctors who prescribe Suboxone is a crucial piece of the puzzle that if solved would help to meet the treatment demand for the thousands of Mainers in the throes of an opioid addiction.

Those efforts haven’t worked yet. Among the barriers are cultural stigmas to treating patients with addictions, financial disincentives, bureaucratic red tape and doctors believing that opening their doors for drug treatment would overwhelm their practices”

http://www.pressherald.com/2017/01/08/hurdles-dissuade-doctors-from-providing-suboxone/