Friday, November 18, 2016

Summarizing A Week

It's Friday evening and time to decompress. A week of speaking to students can be emotional draining. For old broken knees like mine standing for multiple hours speaking can be physically taxing too.

As I sit here his evening what comes back are the little things. Thank you and handshakes from students that take a second to express their appreciation as they rush to the next class.

Reviewing and thinking about what I said, not during the presentation, been doing that for eight years now. My uncertainty is when I speak one on one with a student or teacher. Did I say the right thing to students when they ask questions during the presentation? I do my best. Maybe me being there just to hear the question or statement can be enough.

Small moments mean so much. I want to share some of those moments

- When a teacher dabs tears throughout the whole presentation and comes to me and says, "I was crying inside and outside the whole time you sisters child...."

- A student asks, "Can you help me? What should I do to help my sister"

- A student listens to the presentation with a very stressed look on her face. Eyes not even blinking the whole time.

- A student begins to cry in class. I ask the teacher if she can help and they leave the room together.

- A student tells me that is exactly what it is like when you have an addict in the family.

- A student comes to me after class shakes my hand vigorously, saying thank you, thank you over and over.

- Two different classes ask to hear the story again. Even though they had heard it 2 years ago.

- A teacher finds out I am speaking and he asks the scheduling teacher, can I open the classroom so my students can hear too?

- A student during my entire speech making comments and asking questions but I can see him doing something pencil on paper. After class he gives me a very good pencil sketch of me speaking.

- Students come into the classroom during the off period. They are talking to the teacher and all of a sudden one student, "I know you. You spoke to us 2 years ago." They begin repeating my story back to me.

- A ten minute conversation with a student going to rehab.

- The smiles on students faces when I tell them about my son's life today clear and sober. I can feel the love from them and sincere happiness he is where he is today.

- Students in a class planning to enter the medical profession. Spending 3 hours intently listening and talking to me about addiction and recovery

So many experiences that provide the reward for doing something like this that may sound simple and routine after eight years. There is nothing about this that is simple and routine. With every presentation I give each person a piece of me. I do it willingly. I feel honored every time they accept that piece.

The week after Thanksgiving I will be back at it again. I have two presentations at the Johnson County Resort. I will be speaking to juveniles again at the Johnson County Detention Center.....Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Busy Week, It Ain't Over

It's Thursday and I just finished 3 presentations today to students at Basehor Linwood High School. On Wednesday I did one presentation there. On Tuesday I was at Shawnee Mission East High School all day with hourly presentations. On Monday I was at the Climax Springs School District in Climax Springs, MO and did two presentations, one to grades 10-12 and one to grades 7-9. I usually tone down my presentation for the younger students.

I'll be back at it again tomorrow. On Friday it will be a new experience and different presentation. The students I am speaking with tomorrow have already heard my stock presentation. A new teacher that is an RN is teaching a new class to students interested careers in the health field. They are studying addiction and because her students have heard my first talk we put our heads together and came up with a different game plan.

The study plan for tomorrow is a group discussion. I provided a number of terms related to addiction and recovery and the teacher created student teams to research the terms and we are having a group discussion about what they have learned. My role is to provide advocate or devils advocate in these discussions. Students are to talk, listen and think deeply about addiction and recovery from a medical perspective.

Here is the list of terms I provided and they have been researching:

a)  12 step programs, AA, NA, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon

b)  Harm reduction programs

c)  Tough love

d)  Chemical recovery agents

e)  Medically supervised detox vs. detox

f)  Suboxone, Vivitrol, Methadone, Antiabuse

g)  Narcan, is it good or enabling?

h) CRAFT, Community Reinforcement and Family Training

i)  Rehab models, ie. 12 step, boot camp, wilderness, etc

j)  Legal and illegal drug models. is the war on drugs working or do we make them all legal and treat addiction

This what I provided the teacher and tomorrow we will see how much I learn. I'm suppose to be the resident expert and that makes me REAL nervous. Feel free to provide me any thoughts, I'm going to need them. I'll be with some pretty smart students.