Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some Weeks Aren't Good

Last week was one of those weeks. We got three phone calls telling us that family members and a friend had died.

Darlene's cousin had been fighting cancer for a while. He was 54 years old. On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings we spent them in the ICU waiting room. On Wednesday evening after we left Tim gave up the fight. We got a call. He was a double cousin to Darlene. Tim's mother and father were brother and sister to Darlene's mother and father. (damn cigarettes again)

On Thursday morning I got a call from a friend telling me that Marti, a friend, had died unexpectedly Wednesday night. This was a shocking call, he was only 52 years old.

Then early Saturday morning my uncle called and told me that my aunt, his sister, from Wichita died Friday night. She was 89 years old. Aunt Gladys was my dad's sister.

All weekend I was hoping the phone would not ring again. Now this week is filled with two funerals and for Tim there is a memorial service scheduled in August.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Impact of Drugs on Us

Next week I leave for New York. I have been asked to take part in some special training for a few Parent Support Network volunteers. I feel proud that I have been asked to take part in this program. I’ll give you all a complete report when I return.

I have been doing some thinking lately about the impact of drugs on our nation in a real life scenario. Truthfully, the more I think the more disturbed I become. However, I am beginning to understand more clearly our current national drug policy and beginning to realize why it isn’t working.

Feel free to disagree with me. I’m going to be sharing observations and self conclusions but most of all a bunch of opinions. I’d love to hear any dissenting opinions or observations you have noticed.

In no particular order are my thoughts based purely upon anecdotal evidence. I’m not going to dig up a bunch of empirical data and studies. (I’ve never been one to let facts confuse me or get in the way of my beliefs.  lol)

Friends and acquaintances in law enforcement tell me, with frustration, that probably 75% of their work involves people using or abusing drugs and alcohol. What impact on law enforcement would it have if there were suddenly no more issues with drugs and alcohol? Imagine 75% less law enforcement, 75% less attorneys, judges and courts. Imagine 75% less people in prison and 75% less prisons and correctional officers. Imagine 75% less parole officers and no drug testing centers. What happens when drugs are no longer smuggled into our country?

What happens to the DEA and all of the other alphabet soup federal agencies devoted to drug and alcohol interdiction, regulation and prosecution? How dependent has our nation become upon the tax monies brought in by the sale alcohol and drugs? What about all the monies we give to other nations to help extinguish the supply of drugs to our addicts, how much do we save?

With 75% less crime would we feel security systems and monitoring companies in our homes were a requirement along with security bars on our windows? How much less would our home insurance cost?

Without drug and alcohol issues what happens to the recovery community and recovery industry? How many less hospitals would be required? I know a person that is an ICU nurse that says at least half of her patients are overdose related. How many less prescription medications would be produced if they were only used for legitimate purposes? How far down could we drive health care costs?

With no driving while impaired or under the influence how many less automobile accidents would happen? How much less would our car insurance cost? How many less body shops and auto repair centers would be required?

I’ve always been told that when you see something that doesn’t make sense to “FOLLOW THE MONEY”. If that cliché has any validity what does our current methodology for dealing with drug and alcohol issues in our nation say to you and me? Are we so vested in our current system and war on drugs that it becomes impossible to seek other strategies in working the problem? Are there sectors of our economy so dependent on our war on drugs and war on drug addicts that it is in their vested interest to maintain our current failing system? Is that what makes it so hard to explore other trains of thought besides legal versus illegal?

There are a whole lot of questions here, not many answers. All I know is from my experiences what we are doing now isn’t working well. We can’t throw out an entire system without something else in place and it is impossible to turn this ship on a dime. Maybe it’s time for a bunch of people a whole lot smarter than I to take the helm.

This is a problem that affects us all no matter if you are a parent of an addict or someone that is lucky enough not to have this monster visit your family or friends. This is a problem that is so devastating on the personal level it is nearly impossible to view it in a holistic manner. The tentacles are too large and touch too much.

All I know for sure is that as long as addiction and alcoholism is stigmatized and shamed in the manner it is now we will be in lockstep to the methodology currently employed to battle these monsters. 

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Your Morning Chuckle

This weekend I am having my 40th high school reunion. True confession is that this is the first reunion I have gone too since our 5 year reunion.

Ours was a very large graduating class, over 800 students. Probably many of you would find it hard to believe today but when I was in high school I was the wall. I was quiet and shy. I wasn't someone that made any waves or did much socially.  Guess I worked my way out of that quiet and shy stage.

One of my classmates that I actually went all they way through school with from 1st to 12th grade posted a picture of me from 4th grade on Facebook. Thought maybe I would share it here so you all can get a chuckle worldwide. Feel free to laugh out loud.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Mom and Dad

Please welcome this mother. She just found out that her daughter is a heroin addict. She needs us just as we need her.

Track Marks On My Daughter

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New House

For those that might be curious here is a picture of Alex and Kristy's new home. They are all moved in and have the boxes unpacked. (It would be nice to have the energy of youth again.)

This a a very nice home in which they can grow as a family. All of the kids have their own bedroom and it has a very large family room. The kitchen is large with solid walnut wood cabinets. The previous owner or someone was like me, a woodworker. The kitchen, window ledges and balusters for the stairs have all been replaced with walnut wood.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Another 4th of July in the Books

Another 4th has come and gone. There are bittersweet memories because July 4th was my dad's birthday. There are always memories from this day long ago that rise up from so long ago. One of those memories is using my dad's cigarette to light firecrackers.

We had our usual day of blowing things up here on the Grover homestead. No one got hurt which is a good thing. We always have plenty of burn spray and a first aid kit at the ready. Just those statements should tell me that we may need to do something different but I think the friends and family would come here even if we were gone.

Once again we have little ones playing. For a while the kids coming over were older and bigger, now we have little ones again Brooke, Tyler and Owen. Plus there were several other little ones. They played in the water and had plenty of freedom to do whatever they wanted. Tyler ran everywhere, I was with Owen and decided to let him go, he walked and crawled over 200 feet just going as fast has he could. Guess freedom is one of the reasons they all like coming to Grammy's and Papas. But maybe all the cookies, homemade ice cream and Bomb Pops have something to do with it too. It's funny how even the adults want a red, white and blue Bomb Pop on the 4th of July. Everyone is allowed to be as young as they want to be at my house.

No disasters like a few years ago. Recovering From The 4th of July There was even people talking about that year yesterday. Closest we came to it this year was an hour before everyone was to arrive the power went out and a call to Westar Energy resulted in being informed that it could be out 3-6 hours. However, they were able to get it back on just before everyone arrived.

We all have have starts and stops at times when we try to do things. Mom and Alex talked about the new stop smoking commercials on TV. The one were the lady named Terri has to use a machine in her throat to speak spoke to them. Alex has been free of cigarettes for 30 days. My wish is that Tyler never has a memory of using his dad's cigarette to light a firecracker.