Drug Addicts – Who Do We Blame?

drugsI was about 19 the first, and only time I was offered cocaine. I was at a friend’s apartment sitting at her kitchen table catching up when her two friends asked for a mirror and a spoon. I was confused. What could they want these things for? Then one of the girls pulled out a little capped bottle. She unscrewed the cap and started pouring coke on the mirror. I was FREAKED. What on earth were they doing? I immediately got up and said I had to leave. I rushed out of there with no explanation.


I was not a sheltered teen. I honestly can’t tell you what made me run out of the apartment that day other than I knew I didn’t want to be there. My parents never really had a drug talk with me that I can remember. I didn’t even think about how my parents would react if I did stay or do drugs. I was 19. I was in college. I liked to have fun. But cocaine was off-limits in my mind. It wasn’t something I had ever thought about prior to this day. There was just something inside me that told me this was bad news. I know that if it would have been heroin on that table, next to a needle, I would have probably run out screaming. Or maybe I would have just passed out right there at the idea. My insides would have been screaming more than this is bad news. So why do some of us have that inside of us and others don’t?

Someone told me today that society needs to stop making drugs look cool. I have talked to a few addicts in my life and none of them have ever said that they did heroin to be cool. I don’t think there is anything cool about wrapping a band or a belt around your arm and shooting a needle full of muddy looking drugs in your veins.

I’ve heard people blame the parents of the addict. They insist it must have been a bad upbringing. The parents were too strict or not strict enough. The parents weren’t around or they didn’t give the child the right opportunities. I don’t agree with this at all.

Someone very close to me grew up in a very crazy home. I won’t go into a lot of details but based on her upbringing, she should be in prison for drug dealing or living on the streets. Instead, she decided she wasn’t going to let her childhood define her. She got a college degree, found a good job, owns a home and is doing very well for herself. My boyfriend’s nephew, who passed away last month from an accidental overdose, grew up in a prominent city, attended the number one high school in the state, had a strong Christian background and a large, close family. I know another family with five children. One of the five is addicted to heroin. The other four kids had the same family life and they are doing well for themselves.

So what is it that makes some of us want to run but others stick around and do drugs?

Mental/emotional Illness maybe? Now hear me out. Is it possible that the person is dealing with depression, anxiety or some type of chemical imbalance decides to take a drug out of desperation? They so bad want to feel “normal” or forget whatever is going on in their head that they turn to drugs. They think they have it under control but after a while it becomes an addiction. It becomes their “normal” and they are hooked. Eventually they will lie, steal and do whatever it takes to get their drug.

Is it possible that I’m somewhat “normal” and that’s why I know to run? Hmmm… me normal? But seriously, what do you think it is that makes some of us just say no and others say yes? I want to know so I can hopefully instill the instinct to run in my own children!

Check this site out or this Facebook page to learn more about heroin.

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Peer Pressure Does Not = a Needle in the Veins

A mom recently told me that heroin has her scared for her child’s future and that she just has to instill over and over to say no to drugs. Yes, we need to tell our kids that but come on people… Would you have ever stuck a needle in your veins because of peer pressure? A needle full of some black tar looking crazy drug that you hear kills people all the time? It’s not like saying “come on try this beer. It will be fun.” Or “you’ll love the way you feel after smoking a joint. You’ll be all relaxed.” It’s a NEEDLE full of deadly drugs! And chances are, it’s a dirty needle. So why do so many people do it? Why is it an epidemic in Northern Kentucky?

Probably because we only teach our kids to say no to drugs. We don’t explain why, other than the stuff they don’t really understand or care about. We don’t teach our children from a young age how to cope with the everyday stress of life. We put a stigma on seeing a counselor making it as if it’s a horrible thing that only crazy people do. Our health care makes counseling extremely expensive, causing it to be a financial burden for families so they just don’t go.


Someone told me that life was hard when we were growing up and we didn’t turn to heroin. In fact heroin was the off-limits icky drug. But heroin was also extremely expensive then. The fact that it is so cheap is one of the reasons it’s so popular. You can get high for $5.

I will admit I have been to counseling many times in my adult life. I usually go to just a few sessions for a particular issue but it helps. It helps so much that I have never popped a pill or stuck a needle in my arm for fun. But I’m lucky. Part of my benefit package through work allows for free counseling through a program called Emergency Professional Assistance offered at a local hospital. I can only go eight times a year but I usually only need a session or two to work something out.

I introduced my children to counseling at a young age. I think they both realize that it is okay to ask for help. They know that sometime talking it out with someone who has no personal interest in the situation is just what they need. They know they can talk to me about anything but they also know that I am going to be emotionally involved so sometimes they will say “hey mom, I got something going on I want to talk to the counselor about. Can you make an appointment?” and that is totally fine.

My close friends, boyfriend and family members have also made it clear to the kids that they can go to them as well. Our deal is as long as the kids aren’t in danger in any way, they will keep the conversation private from me if that’s what the kids wish. Yes, it can be tempting to say “what did they say?” but I’m just relieved they are talking to someone.

I have also tried to give the kids tools to work through things themselves and not make everything a bigger deal than it is. They have to assess the situation, decide if it is something to worry about or not, come up with an action plan and go from there. And sometimes the action plan is to say the Serenity prayer over and over.

Now I know this does not mean my children are immune from drugs or even heroin. But at least I know I have done more than told them “just say no to drugs” because it really just doesn’t work that way. Don’t get me wrong, I realize peer pressure may play a role sometimes but I don’t think that the people would be pressured into it if they were dealing with life in a healthy way in the first place.

So what now? First step would be to talk to your loved ones about coping with life’s issues without numbing the pain with drugs. Discuss counseling, talking with friends and family, etc… Let them know you know life can be hard at times and you are there for them. Second step is to visit http://www.nkyhatesheroin.com. This website was created by the family of Nicholas Specht to be the go-to spot for education and resources regarding heroin.

counseling help

High School V. Middle School

I have been writing about a lot of intense stuff lately – Heroin, Histio, Heroin, Histio… To be honest, I need a break and I think you do too. So let’s talk about what else has been going on in my house since August 20. Andi and Joey are back in school!! Wohoo! Oops, did I type that. 🙂 They are both at new schools. Joey has started middle school and Andi has started high school. Big steps!

first day of school andifirst day of school joey










Seriously, how cute are they?

I wrote a post in January, while choosing Andi’s high school classes, called Transitioning to High School. Andi saw this post and decided to write her own response, which is a must read. Andi states in her post “I am taking Spanish which I think will be easy ‘cuz lamp is just like el lampo and phone is just like el phono.” Well she has quickly figured out that Spanish is not that easy. She has to study words like “el lampo” at least 30 minutes every night. Neither Nick or I know Spanish. Well I can count to 10 and ask you what’s up. Que Pasa? But that is about it.

spanishShe was super frustrated over the weekend that neither of us could ask her questions in Spanish. “All you have to do is read what it says and I’ll answer in Spanish.” Well how on earth would I know what it says? I can try to pronounce it but seriously, it’s a foreign language. She totally lucked out though. Her younger brother, you know… the one she picks on and gives a hard time… the cute blonde boy pictured above… yes Joey… he knows Spanish! Well he knows it better than any of us. The elementary school implemented a Spanish program (after Andi of course) so Joey has been learning for years. He is able to study with her. He can actually read the words the way they are supposed to be said and he understands Andi when she answers. Thank goodness for little brothers – right Andi?

She does seem to like her journalism class even though she is one of only four or five freshman in the class. I think she’s happy she passed on AP Geography even though she was back and forth a hundred times (see her own response above). Physics seems to be kicking her butt but she knows we’ll get a tutor if needed.

I’m guessing that being able to leave campus for lunch is her favorite part of high school.

Now let’s talk about my Super Joey! That boy cracks me up. He’s loving middle school. His elementary class had about 100 kids – only about 20 were boys. I guess the odds were good if you wanted a date in the fifth grade but I think he is excited to meet more boys this year. He’s already made a few new friends. He is enjoying going to football games, kickoff parties and having a  variety of classes.

It’s funny how different my kids personalities are. I found out that Joey was front and center dancing and playing games at the middle school kickoff. He’s a true extrovert. Andi on the other hand likes to sit back and observe. They are both amazing kids and I am excited about the next few years of their lives. I’d just like them to slow down! 🙂

Well, have to sign off and go shopping for an el lampo! Let me know how the school year is going for your kids!

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Histio Awareness Month; Find a Cure for Super Joey

histio ribbonMost people never get to meet their hero. I was lucky enough to give birth to mine. My 11-year-old son Joey is an amazing young man. His white blood cells attacked and ate his hip bone away causing him to need a bone graft when he was only 10-years-old. He spent months in a wheel chair, then a year of physical therapy and in and out of Children’s Medical Center for a year. Eighteen months after diagnosis, he is training for a 6 mile hike to raise awareness and money for research for Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis.

Histio Hike Ohio takes place Sept. 27-29 at Shawnee Park in Ohio. Team Super Joey is made up of nine friends and family members. We are all looking forward to meeting other families who deal with LCH. It is only diagnosed in about five in a million so we don’t get to meet many other families who are dealing with Histio.

joey super hero

The other night I was tucking Joey in. He was wearing his Team Super Joey T-shirt. I’m not sure how we got on this topic but he said to me “mom, I’m not normal. I’m wearing this shirt because I’m not normal.” It broke my heart to hear that. I told him that no one is really “normal.” Everyone has something unique about him. I reminded him that he has beat this disease so far (it can strike again at any time) and that his courage can help other kids. He decided to do this hike to help other children. To make them realize that they can fight Histio with the right doctors, determination, and courage. I reminded him how he will be meeting others with his disease later this month. He smiled. He remembered that so far he has been one of the lucky ones. Others have lost their lives to this disease but Joey has been lucky enough to only lose a hip bone.

He then told me how he couldn’t wait to go to the hike and meet other kids, and adults, who understand what he has been through. He wants to tell other children they can get through this too. Joey wants to reach out to children at Children’s Hospital who have been diagnosed with Histio. He knows he was lucky enough to live near Cincinnati Children’s (one of the few hospitals that specializes in Histio) and to have his support system so close so he wants to give support to others who aren’t as lucky as him. He truly is an amazing kid.

histio hero

I’ve had other heroes in my life… There have been historical figures, athletes, actors, activists and others who I never met. Honestly, I never thought I’d meet any of my heroes. But now, I’ve been lucky enough to give birth to my hero. My son’s courage is amazing. He builds me up and gives me strength everyday.

I am asking you to show my hero your support by donating any amount in Joey’s name to the hike and help us find a cure for this cancer-like disease. You can also help spread the word about Histio by sharing the picture below and this post via email and Facebook since September is Histio Awareness Month.


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