mental health issues

Is CARA merely a thought balloon?

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image

This is a Call-Up to wake the frock up. We’ve been living in a dream world for too long.

The big news in treatment  and recovery world this month is the passage of CARA -which is the first response to the bloating prescription drug epidemic that has been the root of the 130-something opiate overdoses completely ignored (until now) by our quagmired puppeteer-driven DC leadership. 130-something Americans dying every day while our elected officials squabble about providing funding to address the epidemic. Their  solution  is to bare bones the effort, manage some photo-ops, then make a direct line to dive into the longest summer break in this century’s history. Meanwhile, the 130-something daily American overdose fatalities continue to pile up like floating refuse at a clogged street drain.

although CARA could be an affective first step in rerouting this insanity, it needs to be more than an image of a response to be effective. We need education and reframing on a systemic level if things are to change. This current thought bubble of an effort hardly stands a chance.

Fellow Americans- we need to take a long hard look at what our priorities and values are as a nation. It’s a great time to work for change. Stop calling ourselves Christian and while we ignore our neighbors dying.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) establishes a comprehensive, coordinated, balanced strategy through enhanced grant programs that would expand prevention and education efforts while also promoting treatment and recovery.

The bill passed the U.S. Senate on March 10, 2016, by a vote of 94-1.

Brief Summary of Provisions of CARA

Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations—to prevent the abuse of methamphetamines, opioids and heroin, and to promote treatment and recovery.
Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives.
Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment.
Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and intervention program to expand best practices throughout the country.
Launch a medication assisted treatment and intervention demonstration program.
Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

 

Ring, ring, it’s 7:00 A.M.
Move yourself to go again
Cold water in the face
Brings you back to this awful place
Knuckle merchants and your bankers too
Must get up and learn those rules
Weather man and the crazy chief
One says sun and one says sleet
A.M., the F.M. the P.M. too
Churnin’ out that boogaloo
Gets you up and it gets you out
But how long can you keep it up?
Gimme Honda, gimme Sony
So cheap and real phony
Hong Kong dollar, Indian cents
English pounds and Eskimo pence
You lot, what?
Don’t stop, give it all you got
You lot, what?
Don’t stop, yeah
You lot, what?
Don’t stop, give it all you got
You lot, what?
Don’t stop, yeah
Working for a rise, better my station
Take my baby to sophistication
Seen the ads, she thinks it’s nice
Better work…

 

take me to the river

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I don't know why I love her like I do All the changes you put me through Take my money, my cigarettes I haven't seen the worst of it yet I want to know that you'll tell me I love to stay Take me to the river, drop me in the water Take me to the river, dip me in the water Washing me down, washing me down .....Talking Heads
I don’t know why I love her like I do
All the changes you put me through
Take my money, my cigarettes
I haven’t seen the worst of it yet
I want to know that you’ll tell me
I love to stay
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me down
…..Al Green

life is queer. or at least mine is. the circling and cycling of emotion, perspective, and clarity can be exhausting as well as exhilarating. time is the factor that is the most friendly in this dance. i am often acutely affected by situations that freeze my emotional availability. time is the ingredient that turns the stone to sand and lets the wind swish it away. time gives the gift of perspective and de-escalation. time washes away some of the grime.

i have come to realize that a very unpleasant set of encounters that i have had probably are connected to an unconscious letting go of a toxic pattern. i have gotten to a place in my life that i feel comfortable erecting boundaries around the way i am treated. and there has been depression around this perhaps because i am grieving the old ways. the independence and serenity that accompanies a lack of bullshit takes some getting used to.

i haven’t been immediately clued in to the telling signs of healthy grief, but they are now a bit more familiar. it is sad business to let go of old beliefs and habits. i just hope it doesn’t remain infinitely sad. i am hoping that some joy and room for growth comes into play.


The Eighth Step is not easy; it demands a new kind of honesty about our relations with other people. The Eighth Step starts the procedure of forgiving others and possibly being forgiven by them, forgiving ourselves, and learning how to live in the world. By the time we reach this step, we have become ready to understand rather than to be understood. We can live and let live easier when we know the areas in which we owe amends. It seems hard now, but once we have done it, we will wonder why we did not do it long ago.

…The final difficulty in working the Eighth Step is separating it from the Ninth Step. Projecting about actually making amends can be a major obstacle both in making the list and in becoming willing. We do this step as if there were no Ninth Step. We do not even think about making the amends but just concentrate on exactly what the Eighth Step says which is to make a list and to become willing. The main thing this step does for us is to help build an awareness that, little by little, we are gaining new attitudes about ourselves and how we deal with other people.
– Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 8

epiphany

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Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.
Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things…Buddha

unless i’m mistaken, life has shown me a curious mental twist that i may inhabit. there is an underlying and primal urge to blow into the face of calm. this probably stems from a history of trauma and drama. mebbe i feel more at home with chaos than with serenity. this sounds insane. i understand however that this is a coping strategy. better to create chaos than fall into it while i am looking at the stars.

although depression is not the force majeur, i am now led to believe that it could be possible to rewrite the program. there is definitely an “ugh” beyond this “aha”. but beyond this “ugh” there is hope.

for this long term survivor, hope is not always in abundance. gratitude yes- hope- well not so much. the train has left the station is a mask i wear frequently. fear not here. there is no magic in this. i am naive, but not to the level that i might believe knowing a thing is the same at all as living and breathing a thing. i have to inhabit this idea of rewriting my emotional program now. for the last few years i have spent much time recognizing it- and some would say still working on it.

the break of dawn here is that moving forward may have opportunity. not just to recognize, but to galvanize and reappropriate and redistribute. hella lotta work. something worth working for, i’d say.

 

rewriting your emotional program (click here)

 

Well, I’m hiding my eyes from the morning sun
And I keep on working till the work is all done
But a voice in my head keeps ticking away
As the sweat’s hosed down from yet another day

Well, he works hard
And he lives hard
And he breaks his back without nothing to gain
While the boss man sits around and drinks champagne

All day
In life, there’s just one transition
All day
In life, there’s just one decision

Well, I’m peeling the blisters off a working hand
Is that what it takes to make you understand?
That it’s something you read, not something you meant
To be slaving away without a shred of integrity

He worked hard
Oh, and he lived hard
And he broke his back without nothing to say
While the man in control was just laughing away

All day
In life, there’s just one transition
All day
In life, there’s just one decision

In life, there’s just one transition

Was it something you read?
Was it something you meant?
Was it something you said?
Or was it Heaven sent?????

 … Al Jourgensen

 

is that all there is???

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I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire. I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he gathered me up In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement. I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames. And when it was all over I said to myself, "Is that all there is to a fire?"... peggy lee
I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire.
I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement.
I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames.
And when it was all over I said to myself,
“Is that all there is to a fire?”… peggy lee

am trying to reconcile the events of the last 2 months. had been working on a program for a couple of years and giving a big slice of my time and energy. shifts in philosophy at the workplace brought disenchantment on my part and lifted the veil on a sense of futility i’m a survivor but not a fighter. after about 6 months of realizing that the program in question was merely a photo-shopped image in a frame meant to allude to a scope of success that wasn’t real. it is like the cory gardner tv political ads showing him with his grandmother, in a local diner, and hiking in some “dick’s sporting goods” couture silently infers that he is simple folk. he is a social climber first, mountain climber last. so it was with my last project. it was treatment compliance first, recovery much much later ( if ever it might seem)

this revelation shattered my orbit. and i responded as i repeatedly do. i walked away. ready to start over. as is my experience. as is my modus operandi. this character defect may very well need to be examined or no doubt it will rear its howling head.

the next move taken seemed effortless. it required no thought or real energy and provided a six-week vacation which was both fulfilling and draining at the same time. turns out that living without a connection to inspiration is harder than working an 80 hour week. and it turns out that the easy button remains a ghost ideal in my story. very little of any real value will fall gently upon my desk. the value in living accompanies the game, the strategy, the problem solving, and most importantly the motivation. swimming in a sea of malcontent clogs the pores of inspiration. and creativity doesn’t respond well to regulary fired dismissives. it’s like a dog that continually urinates on a patch of the lawn until its dead.

without buy-in, my life is just a read-through and frankly, there’s not that much life yet to waste.

odd turn of events just now though. had submitted resumes to 3 organizations and just today received a call for an interview.  drawing conclusions, making assumptions about future events is not my strong suit. starting over is well within my skill set. probably one of my sharpest tools. but the same old same old does not feel as comfortable as it has before. is it ennui? i it melancholy? is that all there is?

mebbe this post can be viewed as an affirmation. with regard to personal growth, it would be an adventure to not repeat my routine.

on another melancholy note… i remember seeing peggy lee live at the drury lane theater in chicago in the late 70’s during my short stint as a cosmetology student at ippilito’s school in the suburbs. the stage had oxygen blowing directly on her because her COPD was so advanced. the show was sublime and that is another show whose memory i will covet until the end.

 

budapest- a labyrinth of friendships, spirals, and touchstones

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“In the past, when gays were very flamboyant as drag queens or as leather queens or whatever, that just amused people. And most of the people that come and watch the gay Halloween parade, where all those excesses are on display, those are straight families, and they think it's funny. But what people don't think is so funny is when two middle-aged lawyers who are married to each other move in next door to you and your wife and they have adopted a Korean girl and they want to send her to school with your children and they want to socialize with you and share a drink over the backyard fence. That creeps people out, especially Christians. So, I don't think gay marriage is a conservative issue. I think it's a radical issue.”  ― Edmund White
“In the past, when gays were very flamboyant as drag queens or as leather queens or whatever, that just amused people. And most of the people that come and watch the gay Halloween parade, where all those excesses are on display, those are straight families, and they think it’s funny. But what people don’t think is so funny is when two middle-aged lawyers who are married to each other move in next door to you and your wife and they have adopted a Korean girl and they want to send her to school with your children and they want to socialize with you and share a drink over the backyard fence. That creeps people out, especially Christians. So, I don’t think gay marriage is a conservative issue. I think it’s a radical issue.”
― Edmund White

 

realizing that i have conducted a “lean” process in my life and changed my workload drastically, it is advised that i make contact with friends and support as much as possible in the near future to buffer the transition. i have been actively making this adjustment.

today was a quick and delightful lunch with my oldest and intimate friend. we’ve known each other over 50 years and there is very little need for back story or for validation it’s already embedded. found myself working out the choreography of my next main event. it was comforting as much as it was directional. being an established survivor, i became clear that the skill set survivorship requires needs to be included in the next portfolio. while the value of crunching numbers and coloring within the lines bears credo, resiliency and adaptability remain the legend that defines this journey’s topography.

the life lessons that emerge from daily encounters routinely seem as obfuscated as the sunday nyt jigsaw clues. the answers are there, but do not bubble up with the initial introduction. time, spirals, and steeping in the juices of trial an error are required for a rich and flavorful brew. perhaps the morning cuppa is directly related to the ongoing task of distilling the ever-changing landscape of perspective.

friendships are like touchstones. they provide memory and spiritual connection in almost any brief exchange. today’s  lunch excursion did not disappoint. a reminder of a connecting thread beyond the recent employer side-show grounded me from regret and tethered me from rising into the fog of self-doubt.

as i watched a recent episode of norton graham, i became enchanted with a singer-songwriter george ezra. he has received accolades about a tune he penned by the name of “budapest”. some personal experience parallels  his claim that the song has nothing to do with the city of budapest other than his inability to complete his plans to travel there because he missed his train. this resonates and is totally relate-able to me. i remember itention of going places and have repeatedly found myself not there at all.

go figure

. not knowing is a radical issue and requires divining some radical acceptance.

Give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

Give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

My house in Budapest
My, my hidden treasure chest,
Golden grand piano
My beautiful Castillo…. george ezra

slam dancing redux

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If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!!!!.... Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!!!!…. Rudyard Kipling

“i don’t feel as if im set up to succeed here. i have a brief manual to go by, but i don’t feel comfortable asking you questions because when i do,  i feel shamed  with your responses.”

shame is your word. i understand that there are many components to your job. it’s 12 pages after all. but everything is written down. the people you have interacted with are very happy and feel very good with the style you work with. but we are not a counseling agency. the other employee has made herself available to answer your questions. but i just don’t see an effort from you. 

“i feel good about the job and the many different aspects of it. but this (hand motioning towards one then the other) doesn’t feel good to me. i am considering what to do. you need to let me know how much time you need if i decide to move on.  it would be better to leave this in as positive a light as possible.” 

this parceled jumble tosses round and round in my head. the string of it that remains tethered to my soul is best described by the concept that i talk with someone in an authority role about my feelings and i receive a hybrid of criticism, discount, and blame for expressing them. let me be clear here- lives do not depend upon my decisions. the actions which affect the direct quality of life would be those that i am interacting with outside the confines of the office. no- the actions i speak of are documenting and reporting issues. and i’m certain you can deduce from my description that these aspects of the workload do not come before people in my mind.

i honestly cannot decipher whether this is real or a reduction of my own personal drama or simply my truth which i must shoulder.  in any case, i recognize these dance moves through cellular memory. i have promised myself that i don’t need to live within the confines of this brand of oppression and dismissal. i can do the waltz or a slow dance. i can dance by myself or be still.  i deserve more. and so i seek more.

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us; it’s no use!

Society’s arms of control
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
Think they’re smart; can’t think for themselves
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
Laugh at us behind our backs
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
I find satisfaction in what they lack
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us; it’s no use!

We are tired of your abuse

Try to stop us; it’s no use!

We are born with a chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
I am gonna have my chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
We are born with a chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
And I am gonna have my chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!!!.. black flag

come in from the rain

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"We should find perfect existence through imperfect existence. We should find perfection in imperfection. For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence. In Buddhism it is a heretical view to expect something outside this world. We do not seek for something besides ourselves. We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering. This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. Pleasure is not different from difficulty. Good is not different from bad. Bad is good; good is bad. They are two sides of one coin. So enlightenment should be in practice. That is the right understanding of practice, and the right understanding of our life. So to find pleasure in suffering is the only way to accept the truth of transiency. Without realizing how to accept this truth you cannot live in this world. Even though you try to escape from it, your effort will be in vain. If you think there is some other way to accept the eternal truth that everything changes, that is your delusion. This is the basic teaching of how to live in this world. Whatever you may feel about it, you have to accept it." - Shunryu Suzuki
“We should find perfect existence through imperfect existence. We should find perfection in imperfection. For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence. In Buddhism it is a heretical view to expect something outside this world. We do not seek for something besides ourselves. We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering. This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. Pleasure is not different from difficulty. Good is not different from bad. Bad is good; good is bad. They are two sides of one coin. So enlightenment should be in practice. That is the right understanding of practice, and the right understanding of our life. So to find pleasure in suffering is the only way to accept the truth of transiency. Without realizing how to accept this truth you cannot live in this world. Even though you try to escape from it, your effort will be in vain. If you think there is some other way to accept the eternal truth that everything changes, that is your delusion. This is the basic teaching of how to live in this world. Whatever you may feel about it, you have to accept it.” – Shunryu Suzuki

our nature is simply our nature. it is often said “don’t play in a lightning storm” yet so many of us do exactly that. i have been doing something very near anyway. my supervisions these last 2 months have been charged with condescension, passive aggresive projection, posturing, and hyper i’m-right-edness. needless to say it has been equally toxic and exhaustive.today i decided to take cover.it hur no more dancing in a lightning storm. it hurts too much. it just hurts too damn much.

taking chances has a way of becoming just that- chance. probablility and outcome influence my every move. i took a chance. and i am tumbling. i got burnt. gave me a boo boo. now what to do.

come in from the rain.

and then what?

Well, hello there
Good old friend of mine
You’ve been reaching for yourself
For such a long time
There’s so much to say
No need to explain
Just an open door for you
To come in from the rain

It’s a long road
When you’re all alone
And someone like you
Will always take the long way home
There’s no right or wrong
I’m not here to blame
I just want to be the one
Who keep you from the rain
From the rain

And it looks like sunny skies
Now that I know you’re alright
Time has left us
Older
And wiser
I know I am

‘Cause I think of us
Like an old cliche
But it doesn’t matter
‘Cause I love you anyway
Come in from the rain

And it looks like sunny skies
Now that I know you’re alright
Time has left us
Older
But Wiser
I know I am