Monday, 25 August 2014

The Power We Possess

The Power We Possess
By: Rose Barbour

You insidious beast,

I want to rip your heart out just like you did with mine but I can’t, and you know it. You reside inside my child who I love more than life itself. To physically destroy you is to physically destroy him. That keeps you safe.

When you first reared your ugly head, we didn’t know anything about opiate addiction. We believed you to be a choice that our son was making, and that when he grew out of the youthful phase of experimentation and risk taking, he would be done with you. We were wrong. We had no idea that you were altering his brain in such a significant way. We underestimated your power.

We tried to help our son who was losing everything to you. Nothing seemed to work. You were in complete control. You brought him to places that we never thought any of our children would go, and you brought us to our knees. We thought he was going to die. We had never endured so much pain. We had never felt so powerless.

You worked our son like a puppet on a string; turning him into a lost soul, barely existing in the world. You were certainly very powerful, and not like anything we’d ever faced before. Our love alone was not going to be enough. We needed to try something new or we were going to lose him. You had claimed so many lives already. We were scared and desperate.

The first thing we did was learn everything that we could about you, our greatest enemy. Like any good Generals going into battle, we needed to know exactly what we were up against. Make no mistake. It was a battle for our child’s life and we could not afford to lose it. In our search for information, we learned a lot.

We discovered that we were not as powerless as we thought we were. We had options that would be helpful and effective. They involved making changes in our lives, not our son’s, though he would eventually benefit. When we figured it all out, we became better at dealing with you.  

I’m sure that you hated the changes that we made, especially when you lost your power to wreak havoc on our emotions. Our decisions about our son became well thought out, not emotionally charged. This helped him, not you.

We learned other things, too, and each one helped to weaken your grip on our son. Eventually, he found recovery and is now enjoying life once again. Our family is one of the lucky ones.

Sadly, many people have lost their loved ones to you despite their best efforts, knowledge and love. I have no idea why some escape your grip while others don’t. I am thankful that our son is alive.  

Of course, we know that you are quietly waiting for the opportunity to resurface. We know how you work. You’ll show up at his weakest moments, trying to tempt him back into your world with all of your false promises. Unfortunately, we can’t stop you from doing that.

If you do happen to succeed in reclaiming our son, we will be there to fight the battle once again, this time knowing from the very beginning the power we possess. We won’t be wasting any energy in trying to control our son this time around. No, we will save all of our energy for you!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

If we don't take a stand, who will?

Addiction is deadly. It kills more people each year than car accidents. Despite the fact that it is considered the leading public health and safety concern, not enough is being done to address it. And, unfortunately, only a small number of people are taking a stand and demanding action. This desperately needs to change. Lives depend on it.

It is a fact that when there is no pressure to do so, governments don’t take action. The evidence of this is clear when it comes to the opiate epidemic in North America that began over a decade ago. After all this time, we are still not meeting the demands for prevention, treatment, education, and after-care programs. As a result, people, most of them under the age of 35, are dying in record numbers and the death toll rises each year. To make matters even worse, young people have never had such easy access to dangerous drugs like today’s generation has. Is it any wonder that we have such a problem!

If another health issue was plaguing our young people and killing them the way addiction is, would people sit idly by and do nothing? I don’t think so! We, the families, have to speak up. If the very people who have been devastated the most by addiction won’t speak up then who will? We can’t wish it away. We can’t pray it away. Action is needed.

We all have our reasons to stay silent. I know that I did. I worried about my son being judged and ruining his life. I worried about our family’s reputation. I worried about my career being negatively affected and/or losing my job. But you know what? I realized one day that none of those things would matter to me in the least if my son died from this disease so why not do something about it now. I was determined to try to give my son and others a fighting chance of survival. I would give them a voice!

I also have other children, grandchildren and nieces growing up in a society plagued with prescription pills and other drugs. I didn’t want them to be the next victims. For all the reasons that I had to stay silent, I had many more important reasons to speak out.

We all know that addiction is misunderstood by the majority of people so why should we care about what they think? Besides, they can’t hurt us any more than we are already hurting with seeing our children slowly dying before our eyes. Why give others such power over us that we would keep silent about something that is killing people, including our children? I, personally, have no room in my life for people who sit back and judge something that they don’t know anything about. I am the one who takes the time to get educated about addiction, they don’t. When it happens to their families they’ll change their tunes just like we all did. I can’t afford to give any of my power away to the people who are ignorant about addiction when my son’s life and many others are on the line. The stakes are too high.    

With an opiate epidemic destroying our homes and communities and the amount of people affected by it, we should be ROARING! Don’t wait until your child is sick with addiction or, God forbid, you have to bury them because of it. Enough people have lost their children. Let`s honour them. Speak up now!  Give it all you’ve got.

This is your chance to turn this experience into something positive. History is filled with people who made the world better because they took a stand for a cause that they believed in despite the possible backlash. It takes courage to do so, especially with the stigma, but it is the only way that things will change. Our children need our voices to be heard. Find a way to be heard! We all say that we would do anything to help our children. What better way than to stand up for them and the many others who suffer from this treatable disease that goes under-treated or untreated in some cases. Silence guarantees the status quo.


Saturday, 9 August 2014

Hell of a Road

Hell of a Road

By: Rose Barbour

It’s been one hell of a road
Dealing with addiction all these years
A life she didn’t ask for
Filled with heartbreak and tears.

Experts say it is a disease
That needs to be treated as such
Others say it isn’t
And they don’t like her son very much.

Many look down on him
As if he is a waste of space
Let him die if he wants to
Make the world a better place.

How would the world be better
If her son’s beautiful soul was gone
While the people with hate in their hearts
Are still carrying on?

Today, is a new day, though
As she drives to pick him up
At the local treatment centre
Where he’s spent the past month.

It’s been a while since she’s seen him
So full of promise and hope
But the power of addiction is strong
She hopes he can cope.

She is happy but guarded
Knowing that only time will tell
She never wants them to go back
To that life of hell.

A few weeks pass
He is making great strides
She encourages his new lifestyle
With a heart full of pride.

He started a new job
Has money to spend
Is thinking about his future
And making healthy friends.

She has just begun to feel hopeful
But now she’s seeing signs
Her boy has relapsed
She is going out of her mind.

Damn the disease
That has stole her child
Will he ever break free?
Her emotions run wild.

With a heavy heart
She has a good cry
The disease can’t win
The stakes are too high.

She’ll try to talk to him
That’s all she can do
There are no guarantees
And that’s the cold hard truth.

Written by: Rose Barbour