Category Archives: How addiction affects family

Forgiveness and recovery

ALWAYS HOPE – FORGIVENESS

Forgiving is difficult, but perhaps we make it more difficult to forgive ourselves or others because we don’t understand the task. It is not necessarily to bring ourselves to the point that we can agree with the person whom we feel injured by, or to say that what we experienced was really alright, or that the other person did not make a mistake, or injure us in one way or another.

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Forgiveness is really freeing ourselves of bitterness and resentment, and thus allowing ourselves to cultivate our best impulses as well as the best impulses in others.

Forgiveness is a “letting go”. It feels like a relief, a new serenity, and a sense of spiritual power that assists us to deal with emotions that poison our own personalities and relationships.

To “let go” doesn’t mean to stop caring but to realize what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for. I am responsible for my own thoughts, actions, attitudes and feelings. I am not responsible for anyone else’s thoughts, actions, attitudes and feelings. It is only when I realize this truth that I am able to respond to others in a truthful and responsible manner.

I cannot learn for another, or control another and it doesn’t help me to blame another, or try to force another to change. My attempts to fix another’s problems will end in failure and it doesn’t help me to sit in judgment upon another, or to deny another’s reality. Destructive criticism, nagging, scolding or arguing never serves to heal my own or others’ hurts.

Letting Go

Letting go often means allowing others, as well as myself to learn from the natural consequences of actions. If I can accept reality, recognizing that being human means being imperfect, I may find that I can be supportive and encouraging to another person, even if I am unable to understand their actions. If I can see my own weakness and strength then Ican be more tolerant of others shortcomings and more appreciative of their strengths.

There is evil in this world. It is not possible to be aware of myself without recognizing the things that are destructive to human society, and that often affect me or someone I care about in a personal way. If I hold bitterness and resentment I contribute to this destructiveness, and have less, if any, positive influence on my world.

If I can let go of my past disappointments and hurts, and begin to live for my present moment I can, by invitation, have some influence, however small, on the future of the human race.

Forgiving is hard work and it requires us to search ourselves, honestly, but gently. It takes some time, but needn’t take a whole life time. It begins with a decision to make the effort, and it requires that we forgive ourselves first. Guilt-ridden people are not able to be very flexible or receptive to new ideas. Human growth requires an open mind, a flexible attitude and a belief in the ultimate possibility of goodness. This, in essence, is what love stands for. Love does not eliminate sadness from our lives, but neither does sadness interfere with joy. These two emotions can abide within us side by side, and still allow us to experience the fulfillment that comes with a purposeful life.

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Forgiving is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt!

There is a line in “The Prayer of St. Francis” that goes like this “In order to be forgiven we must forgive”

Willingness and Hitting Rock Bottom

Importance of Willingness in Recovery Determination to Stay Sober:

If people do not have a strong desire for sobriety, it will be hard for them to maintain it. It is possible for the individual to get sober to please other people, but such recoveries tend to be short-lived. This is because staying away from alcohol and drugs is hard if people are not fully willing to do all that it takes. In order to build a successful life away from alcohol and drugs, the individual needs to be prepared to put in a great deal of effort. Those who lack willingness will not be able to summon the necessary determination. My personal experience is that willingness was key.

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Willingness Defined:

Willingness can be defined as being eagerly compliant. It means doing something out of choice and not because of coercion. When people become willing to do something, it means their minds become more open and receptive. They may consider doing things that in the past may have appeared objectionable. Willingness means embracing change rather than fighting it.

Lack of Willingness and Recovery:

It is not possible for people to find success in recovery unless they are willing to put in the necessary effort. This is because such personal change will not occur unless the individual gives their permission for it to happen. Addiction is driven by a strong urge to escape reality and hide in chemical numbness. In order for recovery to take hold, there needs to be a powerful driving force supporting it. This power is provided by the willingness to change.

Reasons for Lack of Willingness in Recovery:

There are a number of reasons for why the individual may lack the willingness to stay sober:

Some people will enter recovery because they feel coerced in some way. They may have decided to accept help because of pressure from family and friends and not because they really want to be sober. This usually means that this individual will be using recovery as a way to buy time. As soon as they feel that it is safe for them to return to their addiction they will do so.

Many addicts suffer from ambivalence.  This means that they have feelings, thoughts and attitudes that are contradictory. They may have a strong desire to enter recovery and escape the pain of addiction while at the same time having a strong desire to continue with the alcohol or drug abuse. Until this ambivalence towards substance abuse is resolved, it will be difficult for the individual to summon enough resolve to finally quit their addiction.

Some individuals have un-realistically high expectations of their recovery, and they become disappointed when things do not happen as expected. This disappointment may mean that their willingness to stay sober begins to wane. It takes time to rebuild a life away from alcohol and drugs, and if people have expectations that are too high, they will be let down.

The individual can become stuck in their recovery, and this is a drain on their willingness. The usual reason for why people become stuck is that they are faced with a problem that they do not want to deal with. Until they face this challenge, there can be no further progress. Instead the individual either relapses or becomes a dry drunk.

Sometimes, people in recovery will start off with a great deal of determination, but then run out of steam. This can occur if they develop the “pink cloud syndrome”. What happens is that people can become so joyful at escaping their addiction that they lost touch with reality. Staying sober begins to feel effortless, so the individual begins to take it for granted. When the pink cloud ends, and people are once again faced with reality, they can find it hard to summon up the willingness to get back on track. If the individual has expectations of recovery that are too low, they may be willing to settle for very little. This is a real shame because sobriety offers some wonderful opportunities for those people who have enough willingness and determination.

Memory can be a treacherous thing sometimes. People can forget how miserable things were at the end of their addiction. They can start to think back to those days when it felt like alcohol or drugs brought them pleasure. This is known as romancing the drinking or drugging, and it can sap the willingness to stay sober if it is allowed to continue unchecked.

Some individuals will have other mental health problems as well as their addiction. If people have untreated depression or another dual diagnosis, they will find it difficult to maintain their willingness to stay sober. This is because this other condition will make recovery unsatisfying and prevent progress.

Willingness and Hitting Rock Bottom

Rock bottom is sometimes described as reaching a point where the individual is, sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. There is no reason for why people need to lose everything in order to hit their rock bottom. They just need to reach a point where they have had enough. Some individuals will hit their rock bottom without losing very much at all. It is like going down in an elevator. It is up to the passenger to decide where they want to get off. There is absolutely no benefit from staying in the lift all the way to the bottom, because this means death.

Once the individual has fully decided that they have had enough of addiction they will have be willing to do what it takes to escape. This willingness is a force that provides them with the energy to take the correct steps to end the addiction. It means that they will be ready to make use of available resources such as rehab, therapists or addiction fellowships.

Willingness and the 12 Steps

In 12 Step groups such as A.A., N.A., or C.A, they emphasize that the member needs to be willing to go to any lengths to stay clean and/or sober. It is not possible for the individual to complete the 12 steps unless they have a high degree of willingness. This is because it involves taking action that the addicted mind would rebel against. The member never graduates from these 12 Step programs, so this willingness will need to be something they are able to maintain indefinitely.

Willingness and HOW, HOW is an acronym for what is needed to find success when using a self-help group. The acronym stands for:

  • Honesty
  • Open-mindedness
  • Willingness

Here, willingness is viewed as being ready to change and take risks in order to find happiness.

The Key to Willingness in Recovery

Willingness can insure success in recovery from addiction. These are its major components:

If the individual is truly willing to escape their addiction they will do whatever it takes. It involves having an open mind about any potential resource that can help them. Those who are truly willing do not have a long list of recovery options that they are not even prepared to consider.

Willingness involves a degree of humility. The individual no longer believes that they have all the answers. They are prepared to listen and learn from the experiences of other people.

If the individual is willing to stay sober, they will make this their number-one priority in life. This is because they realize that making a life away from addiction requires a great deal of effort. It will not be achieved overnight. The willing individual will be prepared to devote however long it takes to rebuilding their life.

Those who are willing to escape addiction will want to make the best use of all the available resources that can help them. They will take responsibility for their own recovery and see addiction specialists as partners there to help them. The willing individual does not passively wait for other people to fix them. They take action to make this happen.

Willingness does not mean becoming passive. The individual still needs to question things and make decisions. It does usually mean being a bit more open-minded about possible solutions.

Denial and Addiction

ALWAYS HOPE DENIAL

One of the most frustrating factors in dealing with alcoholism and/or addiction, as a relative, friend or professional, is it is almost always accompanied by a phenomenon known as “denial”.  In the long path the addict/alcoholic takes toward mental, physical and moral decline, usually the first thing to go is honesty. He or she simply lies about his drinking. These may be little lies at first, but they grow fast. How many times have you said something like  “I only had two … I haven’t drank (or drugged) in a week… I don’t drink as much as others do…” these are our ways to keep using, it give us permission!

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As we, the addicts or alcoholics begin to use more drugs and drink more alcohol, and maybe more often, we begin to hide this fact from those around us. Depending upon our circumstances we may drink or use openly, but usually we will conceal the amount we use or drink, or not using or drinking around those who are close to us and lie when or if we are asked about it.

If someone tries to discuss his drinking with us, we simply refuse to talk about it, or dismiss it as not a real problem.  After all, we are adults now and we can drink or use if we want to, it’s nobody else’s business, what I do, it’s not hurting anyone but me and it’s not as bad as everyone thinks it is.

Clues to a Problem

But these simple acts of denial, lying about our drinking/using or refusing to discuss it, are clues to us that deep down inside we know that we have a problem.

If it’s not a problem, why do we lie about it to anyone? Are we protecting the ones we love, or work for, or associate with?  But as true addict/alcoholics, we know there is something wrong, we may not know it is a disease, but we feel that there is something different about us.  We cover up and deny our using or drinking out of our own feelings that there is something different or “wrong” about it or maybe there is something wrong with us. Somewhere inside we realize that our drinking or using means more to us than we are willing to admit.

Even though our sprees have gotten us into some real trouble, we still deny that it has anything to do with us.  Some say this is purely a defense mechanism. How is this possible? Usually by the time the disease has gotten to the crisis point, we have developed a support system of family and friends who unwittingly enable us to continue in our denial.

Because they love us, they act to protect us by covering for us, doing the work that we don’t get done, paying our bills that we don’t pay, rescuing us from scrapes with the law, and generally taking up the responsibilities that we have abandoned.

Protecting the Addict/Alcoholic

Have your loved ones ever lied for you such as “__________ can’t come in to work today, They have a virus” or “We’ve got to get him/her out of jail, he’ll lose his/her job! Then what will we do” or even “It was my fault, officer, I said some things I should not have said”

By doing these things, our loved ones are protecting the addict/alcoholic from the consequences of their own actions. We never have to feel the real pain caused by using and drinking. They rush in to put “pillows” under us so we doesn’t hurt ourselves in the fall. Consequently, we alcoholics and addicts never find out how much it hurts or feels to fall, and thereby never feel empowered to make it right either.

Although our drugging and/or drinking has placed us in a helpless and dependent position, we can continue to believe we are still independent because we have been rescued from our troubles by our well-meaning family, friends, co-workers, employers and sometimes clergymen and counsellors.

The roles these enablers play to “help” the alcoholic can be just as hurtful and harmful as the addicts/alcoholics behaviour, but that is a story for another day.

With these enabling devices in place, we addicts/alcoholics are free to continue in the progression of our disease, with our denial intact, until we perhaps reach the point of hitting our bottom, at which point even the most dedicated drug user or drinker must finally admit there is a problem. But there is no way for us to ever hit bottom when it’s always covered with pillows.

Are you willing to admit that that you are struggling and willing to receive help so you can stop hurting yourself and those around you? parents, children, friends, co-workers and anyone else who is affected by your destructive behaviours? If the answer is yes we at Always Hope can help. Call or message 1-829-932-0123 today.



King baby syndrome

The King (or Queen) Baby Syndrome is explained as a condition that relates to emotional development delays usually stemming from abuse, trauma or early drug use.  Fear of loss of control is the hallmark of this condition.  This syndrome is common with addicts and alcoholics and can create attitudes and actions that can become ingrained patterns over time.  King Baby Syndrome is characterized by:

  • You believe that your needs come first and foremost without or with little concerns of others.
  • Having blinders on when it come to the perspectives of others.
  • “My way or the highway” attitudes.
  • Extreme arrogance.
  • Dependency, but wanting to appear fiercely independent.
  • Acquisition of money or possessions to prove their worth to others (outside looks good).
  • The need for continual validation, from loved ones, friends or even strangers.
  • Castastophizing events, no matter how small (making a big deal out of small things).
  • Feelings of being misjudged and underappreciated (want credit for doing even little things).
  • Expression of superiority that masks their true insecurities (comparing yourself to others).
  • Jumping to conclusions.
  • Egotistical pride.
  • Lack of trust in yourself or others.
  • Entitlement.
  • Expecting to be treated with unearned respect and others to treat you special.
  • Thinking you can read the minds or behaviour of others (usually negatively).

This sense of entitlement impacts every relationship, as those who are close to people who exhibit these attitudes and behaviours will attest.  At home it may appear as if this person is tyrannical, ruling with a heavy hand that has family members quivering in fear.  In the workplace, it could show up as a controlling boss who leaves no room for employees to think for themselves or act independently and takes credit for their work, or an employee that is always sabotaging others good work any chance they get thereby looking better then they really are.  In friendship, it may look like gathering loyal followers and favouring those who model themselves after him or her, while rejecting those who don’t.

Healing begins with Awareness and Willingness

In order to treat King Baby Syndrome, it benefits those who see some of these characteristics in themselves.  A person with this syndrome will have to learn that all their needs will not be met immediately without some work put in to the process by them.  Since the desire for immediate gratification is a big part of the addiction cycle, this can be particularly challenging.  An addict can ask themselves “What is it that I fear most if I cannot get what I want when I want it?”  This question could help the addict look for alternatives to the drug using, such as some physical or mental activity to take the place of getting high.  For some they may feel that they are a helpless child, crying in the crib, waiting for their caregiver, who may arrive to meet all their needs, or perhaps not show up at all, or may come but be abusive or pain giving rather than relief.  For others, it may be fear of emotional or physical obliteration (destruction) or abandonment.

In treatment these issues can be addressed successfully if there is a willingness to be honest about it and move beyond it.  Learning self-acceptance, as well as seeing oneself as whole and complete with the excessive need for outside validation and doing an inventory that addresses the ways in which these attitudes and behaviours both serve and sabotage their lives, are among the keys to the castle that may help them to leave safely without falling into the moat of addiction.

As frightening as it may seem to take off the crown and hand over the sceptre, it allows us to all recognize that the emperor does have no clothes and beneath it all, we all have our wounds that call out for healing and relief.

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Recovery, My Loved Ones Perspective

In  the past seven plus years since Roger has been in recovery from his addiction to pain medication, I (his wife) have noticed such a positive change in his overall character and personality. This is my testimony or testimonial into how life has changed and this program works.

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First of all, especially in the five years and since we have moved to the Dominican, he portrays a scene of calmness about him. Very laid back and so easy to talk too. Even participants who spend their time with us, will sit and talk with him about anything and since he can relate they seem to be comfortable around him.

He has a certain peace about himself, a quiet content spirit that is very welcoming. Almost like he has reorganized on the inside.

Another big change in our family life is that Roger is more available as a husband and a Father. Emotionally and physically he gives more of himself. Emotionally his patience has returned, willing to listen and communicate with us.

Physically he works out with our son and I, also playing basketball and street hockey with local friends as well as our boys. And doesn’t hesitate to help around the house a lot more to make my job easier. Our lifestyle change as well as his recovery has played a big part in that. 

recovery
recovery

The ambition I see in him is unbelievable, My husband got his spark back, everyday we grow closer as a couple as well as a family. Our relationship is the strongest it has ever been. The trust between us took years to replenish but I now I give him a huge amount of respect for what he has given us as a family, after coming back from the ultimate rock bottom.

They say the strongest men come from the darkest places and I believe to be true, that if you can turn your life around and rise, after being at the bottom you can conquer anything.

Recovery Boys: Video Review about Opiate Addiction

Recovery Boys: Video Review about Opiate Addiction

 
Recovery Boys on Netflix just came out on video and follows the journey of a few opiate addicts as they progress from active addiction to rehab and then life after. From my own personal experience with an addiction to opiates this movie provides a realistic view of the struggles to maintain sobriety and become a productive member of society.
They start by entering a non-traditional farm rehab in West Virginia called Jacobs Ladder. It takes some of the similar approaches such as counselling, 12 steps that many rehabs employ, but it’s facilities allows the Recovery Boys to engage in more real-world activities during their stay. I personally feel the non-institutional environment is advantageous to help transition people from active addiction into society and is the basis of our program at Always Hope. 

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Too many addiction related movies or documentaries imply that rehabs have to be hospital like and this is a scary proposition for people. I like that Recovery Boys shows raw emotion and struggles, it shows that not all rehabs have to feel like a jail or hospital and it portrays realistic outcomes. Unfortunately not everyone succeeds and recovers but whether it takes 1 attempt or 10+ attempts at rehab or recovery, I believe people make mistakes and need to be given a chance to change.

I’m grateful for the chances I was given to change and hope more people will take the help available to recover. If you or a loved one is interested in our program at Always Hope we can help.

 

Insight into Requesting Addiction Help

Insight into Requesting Addiction Help

As I’m the one who answers the phone and returns emails and texts I’ve gained some insight into what people are requesting in their time of need. I’ve been lucky to speak with hundreds if not thousands of people about addiction and thought it might be of interest to reflect on some of what I’ve learned and heard, so far in no particular order:

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  1. Loved ones often notice the problem long before the individual who’s suffering directly with the addiction.  I believe over half of those that contact me for assistance are family or friends.
  2. Those struggling with substance-use disorders or alcoholism often have very little awareness of what options or support is available.
  3. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step groups attract huge stigma, I used to think the same. In my case it was ignorance to what the program entailed and I didn’t want that label attached to me. Once I learned more about AA I realized it was a blueprint for living life on life’s terms.
  4. People tend to reach out at a point of crisis.  Our phone rings when the consequences of someone’s drinking, using or behavior start to have a drastic impact on their life (loss of job, driving license, relationship breakdown, health issues and so forth).  How can ‘we’ help earlier?  What education is available around addiction? (We go talk to students and allow them to drive the conversation and ask anything in regards to addiction) How do we prevent so many from the slippery slope from socially acceptable drinking to problem drinking to dependency or cross addiction into other drugs?
  5. More employers are reaching out to us, which is really positive, they care about their employees and want the best for them.
  6. Some callers are skeptical that rehab can help, and many believe that it will feel like a jail or hospital. Although many rehabs are like that, we and others provide a different option for rehab. You are treated like a guest on a learning retreat. Plenty of 1-1 counselling and homework but also lots outings and moments spent enjoying the gifts of recovery. (Beach outings, hikes, sports or just sitting reading a good book or watching a movie)
  7. The most serious and determined to get help call my phone 1-829-932-0123 , those that are semi interested might text and those that may be only seeing what options are out there usually email.
  8. Addiction and alcoholism does not discriminate and we hear from all ages, nationalities and demographics.
  9. When I share bits of my struggles with addiction in the past they feel a huge relief. For many, knowing that I’ve lived through a similar hell and found a way to recover gives hope that recovery is possible.
  10.  Many are so thankful that someone would listen, too many help lines go unanswered. Wether it’s the middle of the night or if I’m in a meeting or family commitment I answer the call. Giving someone my time and letting them now there is hope also helps me remember when I was in their shoes and I never want to be in that position again.

These are just a few insights I’ve gathered after years of trying to help people recover from their addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling call now, we can help.

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Society Craves 1000mg “NUMB ME NOW!” Pills

1000mg “NUMB ME NOW!” Pills

Wether it’s just an acute (not chronic) case of insomnia, sadness, grief, depression or pain; the answer seems to be to get some form of 100mg “NUMB ME NOW” pills. I know! That was me in the past and I had dappled in anything that would stop me from feeling. If it was prescribed by my doctor or something I bought off the street was of no concern to me, I just wanted something to numb me. It doesn’t specifically matter what the symptoms are and the substance of choice is irrelevant. It just seems socially acceptable now a days to either get drunk or pop some pills to try and get some reprieve from the stresses of life.

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NUMB ME NOWSociety is moving towards an attitude of instant gratification and “a pill for all ills”. It is becoming far more important for all to become educated on “what and why” we are putting into our bodies and what the long and short term consequences will be. It is inconsequential what the substance is; it could be alcohol, street drugs or whatever 1000mg “NUMB ME NOW” pills your doctor prescribed. Any of the above can lead you astray and down a slippery slope that may eventually lead you to become dependent and addicted.

I’m not trying to say that prescription meds aren’t effective, but more often than not there is a healthier way to deal with life’s ups and downs and also pain, depression, anxiety etc. There is no “one size fits all” remedy for dealing with these obstacles and challenges but there are many options. The multitude of self-help books and websites on the internet should provide some insight into possible healthy solutions. These can range from natural homeopathic treatments, exercise, meditation etc.

These healthy alternatives may not give immediate relief and will take time to get the desired results, but the long term effects won’t be detrimental to your mind and body. Please think twice before running to a doctor to get some 1000mg “NUMB ME NOW” pills.

Codependency and Family Program

Codependency and Family Program

Due to the increase in calls and requests in regards to codependency issues and a family program we have adjusted our addiction program to address this. It is very common that family members develop codependency issues as a result of the unhealthy relationship created by the addict or alcoholic. We have also developed a family program that can help them understand the 12 step process and to give them the tools and insight necessary to help their loved ones recover.

The codependency program can be completed in 3 weeks. It will include daily 1-1 counselling and will include much of the same material that is covered in the 4 week addiction treatment program, but the focus will be on how the unhealthy relationship is making life unmanageable. The program will provide you with the tools necessary to start healing and help yourself recover.

At Always Hope we also feel that it is important to help the family understand what the alcoholic or addict has gone through. Our 2 week family program is designed for loved ones that want to gain a better understanding of what the addict or alcoholic has gone through in the past, the 12 steps, the process of rehab and the steps necessary to prevent a relapse. We believe that by having the knowledge to aid in your loved ones recovery you will be more likely to help them heal instead of enabling them to continue in their destructive behavior.

For more information on the details of the programs

please call 1-829-932-0123 today.

Price of the program is similar to what an all-inclusive vacation would cost but includes the benefit of learning life skills that will help you enjoy a better quality of life in the future. Private rooms, beach trips and cool outings are also included.

codependency

Exercise or Sports and Addiction

Exercise or Sports and Addiction

Exercise or sports is an important part of any rehabilitation program, and is a key component in helping someone to recover from their addiction from drugs or alcohol. The endorphins and dopamine produced in the body when someone is engaged in exercise or sports are beneficial in creating a natural high and can decrease the chance of someone reverting back to other stimulants in their search to get “high”. There is only really one downside and it is the possibility of injury and being prescribed pain-pills.

Keeping the body physically healthy can help those struggling to recover from their addiction. The feeling of accomplishment from a run, yoga, a workout or playing sports helps one feel better about themselves and also can keep them connected socially to like-minded individuals. At Always Hope we encourage our guests to take time daily to work on their physical health. We make sure there is time each day to swim, walk, workout or join in on sporting activities such as basketball, volleyball or street hockey etc.

Personally I found that sports were a huge incentive and motivator to keep me on the right path. I had given up all exercise and sports for almost 15 years. Once I removed pain-pills from my life I enjoyed the sports that I used to play in my youth. At first working out and snowboarding were my go-to activities and it was amazing how much I enjoyed them again. Now living in the Caribbean (no more snow) I get to play basketball a few times a week and that was a sport that I hadn’t played since high-school. I used to waste so much time and money self-medicating that I had forgotten how great it felt to exercise and play. I now get to enjoy the natural high that is freely available by treating my body right.

The only downside with exercise or sports these days is the increased risk of a doctor prescribing pain-pills when minor injuries occur. I realize that major injuries may need to be treated with something stronger than an over-the-counter pain reliever but in the past many doctors have been too quick to prescribe something stronger than necessary. There have been many people that end up liking the narcotic pain-pills too much and become addicted after sampling the euphoria these medications provide. We need to be vigilant and fully conscious of the power of these medicines and the after affects.

Call 1-829-932-0123 today and we can help you on your journey to recovery.