Right away let's get this out of the way - even if you don't know what Heroin or Pain Pill looks like, you need to read this post. At some point you or someone you know will be effected by drugs so may as well know a little about it. Information is power and chaos comes from a lack of awareness.
I should probably put that last sentence in a meme or something.
Ok, SUBOXONE! Let me give you a quick skinny from a Mental Health Therapist's point of view...by the way, I've been working in the field of addiction for years so this isn't coming from a completely ignorant point of view. I hear the word Suboxone 5 days a week.
What is Suboxone (often referred to as "Subs")? Great question - and easy to answer on the surface level which is where we're going to keep this blog. Subs are a combination of 2 other drugs combined; Bupenorphine and Nalexone. But before we get into that, let'd do some 'brain talk'. Amongst a few million other things to talk about, our brain has receptors in them. Receptors open and shut allowing for certain feelings to be felt. An "ANTAGONIST" is a chemical that opposes or shuts down a receptor in the brain. An "AGONIST" activates certain receptors in the brain.
Ugh, I know - brain talk is so boring. And this is why I didn't become a brain doctor. Alright, lets talk Buprenophine (often referred to as "bup" pronounced "bupe"). Bup is an opioid derivative (imitation) that’s 25-40 times more potent...and lasts way longer than morphine (also an opioid). BUP is a 'partial' opioid ‘agonist’. This means it ‘partially activates’ the opioid receptors in the brain. If full agonists are like wide open doors – bup is the opioid door only partially open. Same feel, just less…and it waaaay longer.
Next we have Naloxone. Now this stuff is legit. An Opioid ANTagonist It COMPLETELY BLOCKS the opioid receptors. Another term for this is“Narcan” – If you find someone that’s taken more opioids their body can tolerate you give them they go into OD (over-dose) which can cause death. Give them NARCAN and it immediately blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and saves people’s lives...and takes away the HIGH. Bye Bye, High.
Side note – you have to be clean at least 3 of days before taking subs – otherwise you get sick.
What is Suboxone? It's an actual opioid receptor blocker (antagonist) combined with a 'partial' opioid receptor activator (agonist). I know I know, why didn't I just say that in the beginning?
Other things to know about Suboxone - Sub withdrawals PEAK after 6-8 days and can last up to a month or longer! Remember, the BUP is longer lasting so it takes the brain longer to get rid of it vs a heroin detox taking around 4 days to peak and then you're back to life after 7 days. Because of the detox being so significantly LONGER you may be recommended to take a FULL YEAR in order to TAPER from subs by your doctor. AND just like HEROIN, the more you’re doing and the longer you’re on it, the longer it takes to withdraw. And not all dr's can prescribe Suboxone! I'm not positive on this but I think that to start off, a Dr. will only be able to have a very limited amount of clients on suboxone...10 or 15 maybe? Then the next year they can apply and have more allowed and then the next year the number can grow - not sure what it tops out at but when I worked at a suboxone clinic, the Dr. saw people all day long 2 times a week. 15 minute sessions. 250.00 per appointment.
Expect a few hours max to feel ‘normal’ when on subs. After that, you’ll get tired and groggy.
In a lot of ways, you are trading one chain for another chain. It isn’t being ‘clean’ – it’s doing a drug that’s more socially acceptable and less likely to kill you quickly. You can still Over Dose on SUBS.
I’m not here to debate medication use for opioid dependence - I’m here to be honest and reflect what I observe and here’s what I have observed while working in the addiction field for years – and by all means, I AM NOT GIVING MEDICATION ADVICE – just reflecting what I’ve observed like a good therapist.
And here's what I want to be the LOUDEST reflection for you - I’ve witnessed more people go into recovery and STAY in recovery without the use of subs than I have with the use of SUBS. The sub maintenance plan seems to come back more often for more rehab. No Sub Dr. will tell you that. Rather, they'll say that you're LESS likely to remain sober without subs. I've heard it. And it's not what I've seen.
Treat detox like a bandaid - RIP IT OFF! Have support and a good treatment team there to assist when you need but for the love, just get the withdrawals over with so you can start doing the tough stuff...like facing all those emotions you cover up with drugs.
Thanks for reading,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
In the life of blessedness self-reliance is of the utmost importance. If there is to be peace there must be strength; if there is to be security there must be stability; if there is to be lasting joy there must be no leaning on things, which at any moment may be snatched away forever.
A man or woman does not begin to truly live until he or she finds an immovable center within themselves on which to stand, by which to regulate their lives, and from which to draw their peace. If they trust to that which fluctuates, they also fluctuate; if they lean upon that which may be withdrawn they will fall and be bruised; if they look for satisfaction in perishable accumulations, they will starve for happiness in the midst of plenty.
Let a man or woman learn to stand alone, looking to no one for support; expecting no favors, craving no personal advantage; not begging nor complaining, not craving nor regretting, but relying upon the truth within them, deriving their satisfaction and comfort from integrity from their own heart.
As a child learns to walk in order to go about from place to place of itself strong and unaided, so should a man or woman learn to stand alone, to judge and think and act for themselves, and to choose, in the strength of their own mind, the pathway which they shall walk.
James Allen, Standing Alone, "Byways of Blessedness"
Anyone who knows my style of therapy or has ever been my client will recognize the message from James Allen (above) - You are enough. Your worth doesn't stem from anything external (not even family). It's absolutely possible to create happiness with just yourself. It's ok to want something - not need something in order to be ok.
These are not new messages.
As always, comments are welcome...and I don't know about you, but this was JUST what I needed to read today.
Live with meaning,
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Valentines Day... it comes with some emotion even if you're not in a relationship. Why is this day a soft spot for Singles? Because it's a day celebrating 'love' so if you aren't in Love or don't have 'that special someone' you must not be accepted by the Holiday (that's the message, I get). This is kind of a big deal if you ask me! What other Holiday rejects a large portion of the population? None come to mind. To be honest, I would completely do away with this Heart Day nonsense if I had my way - do we really need a special day to celebrate love and BTW, if your partner only feels love from you one day a year; you're really in trouble. Unfortunately, I don't get my way on this and it's here so if you happen to be S.I.N.G.L.E., you're really going to dig the first way to keep a relationship strong...and the other 4 will come in handy, too.
1. Learn to be OK and/or complete – alone. It's natural to 'want' someone - human nature leads us to connect with others. It's not healthy to NEED another person in order to feel OK and/or complete. Personally, I blame 'Disney' or 'Hollywood' for that belief system. So, if you're reading this and are unable to think of a time (year or more) where you weren't in a relationship (emotionally or physically), you're likely in danger of being in the 'need' category.
2. Spend at least 90 minutes a week talking with them - directly - one on one. It's not much, if you think about it (there's 10,080 minutes in a week - surely you can give 90 to the one you profess to love). 90 minutes connecting with them on an emotional level - not making out or levi lovin' or sexin' it up - that's physical connection and that doesn't sustain connection. This 90 minutes can be done laying in bed after the work-day, on a bike ride, in the shower, eating dinner, etc. There are countless ways to create time and where you spend yours will reflect what you prioritize in your life as important. Get off the video games, fellas'. Clock off from the job, Ladies.
3. Have at LEAST 1 date a week - maybe 2. This one is easy when it's 'new love' (NRE Phase) but becomes tricky when the relationship matures into years. Life can have an unbalancing effect if you're not aware and consistent in re-balancing. Remembering what you prioritize with your time will be essential to maintaining a healthy and happy connection with your partner.
4. Beware of RESENTMENT (Ominous music here). If it is there, be curious as to where you are accountable for the behaviors you're upset with. Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Resentment is an off-shoot of being a victim (which we all know isn't really possible) and leads to the famous "4 horsemen of the apocalypse" that John Gottman describes as Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. Any of those alone can be relationship killers which makes sense - in the Bible, the 4 horsemen equate to War, Famine and Death. Don't let any one of them get close.
5. Lastly, when you argue (and you will), make sure to make up afterwards. It's fine (and often WISE) to take a walk and cool down when conflict becomes heated. Often-times, reacting in anger causes more of an issue than the original argument! A good amount of time to 'cool down' is 90 minutes (that number sounds familiar). After that, return and communicate through the issue. When it goes longer than that, you may be toying with the 4th horseman - "Stonewalling". Most of the time after taking a break, people will feel more calm and rational - less impulsive. There's actually brain science to back up the 'right-left' action of walking. Science says that it will help your mind work through negative emotions/thinking errors so when I mention "take a walk", I'm being quite literal. Take a walk. Or a run. Or call me and we'll do some EMDR therapy.
Thanks for reading! I'll be sure to do a 'Jedsays' youtube on this goodness later today. Check that out at www.youtube.com/meaningtolive
Comments are welcome and if you can think of anyone that would benefit from this information - share it. Please for the love, share it. Couples counseling is expensive.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC
Ok, people. I've seen the light. And when I say that - I'm not talking about the glowing light from the cell phone. The cell reference is purposeful because that's what is on my mind right now. It's also literally in my peripheral because heaven knows we don't go far without our phones.
In FACT, I was about to go to lunch with Todd, a friend from work when I realized that my cellular life-line wasn't on my person. The knowledge was so uncomfortable that I chose to go back into the building and find it even when we were only going to be gone for 20 minutes. The even wilder part of this was I put that much importance in my phone DIRECTLY AFTER finding some 'time facts' online correlated to cell phone use. Want to know what I discovered?
It's great news, actually. You know how you spend 1/3rd of your life asleep? Well, last year you also spent an ENTIRE MONTH on your phone. And when I say "month", we're talking literal time spent - in other words, you don't get to factor in time eating or sleeping - it's 24 hours a day for an entire month spent on your cell phone.
An entire month - here's the breakdown...google was my source.
This statistic shows the average daily usage of social media worldwide. As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year.
Now before you're super impressed, know that this took me a few hours as math is something I haven't spent a lot of time mastering. ALSO, if I'm off - please let me know so I don't spread false nonesensical stuffs.
135 minutes a day come to 945 MINUTES a week.
945 minutes (1 week) multiplied by 4 is 3780 MINUTES (in a month)
3780 minutes (1 month) multiplied by 12 is 45,360 MINUTES (in a year)
AND there's only 43,800 minutes in a standard month so...yea.
Here's a shorter way to calculate for you smarties out there.
There's 52 weeks in a year. 52 multiplied by 945 comes to 49,140 MINUTES a year.
AND there's only 43,800 minutes in a standard month so...yea.
This hits home with me when it comes to me. Initially my brain wants to go to - HOLY CRAP! IF 'TIME EQUALS LOVE' WHO'S MOST IMPORTANT IN MY LIFE? And the uncomfortable truth is - North Americans are generally putting cell phones/social media over there own Kids, spouse, significant other, education, career, service, etc...all easy go to's. Is it any wonder the rates of depression and anxiety are at all time highs?
And I'm not even going into the chemical or developmental aspects of cell phones. That's a whole other topic entirely.
And now, the fun part - WHAT...WILL...I...DO...NOW?
Hope you enjoyed! If you have any further questions about stuff that'll make you happier - see my "JED SAYS" youtube channel.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC, TIME WASTER?
A lot of you may not remember Mr. Rogers. He was a little before my time, but I actually remember him. First impression wise, he appeared to be a sweater wearing dorky looking middle aged man who was in some weird on-going puppet-skit for kids. As a youngin', I would watch if something better wasn't on - like duck-tales or GI Joe or any cartoon really. Still, I must have watched a lot because I've memorized the 'it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood' jingle. The show obviously made an impression on me and I wasn't alone. The puppets and skits were also used to make an impression with North American culture.
Times were controversial back then. There was a lot going on including segregation of 'black and white' Americans, African Americans on TV with a recurring role, The space shuttle 'challenger' crashing, gun violence, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr., Gay rights, Nuclear War, Divorce and Growing up. Mr. Rogers tackled them all and more with the help of his imagination and puppets. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Peabody Award and was in the Television Hall of Fame. How did a Presbyterian minister get to be a hero for children? How did an average guy with no real history in show business rank 35 in the top 50 of the greatest TV Stars of All time?
How did he do it? I'll tell you. He saw something that needed to be done and he focused his energy into doing something about it. From my perspective, he appears to be honest, genuine, loyal and courageous. Brave enough to tackle difficult and complex challenges in order to help people; particularly the children. He said what he wanted to say in a way that even simple minds could understand - if they wanted to. He possessed integrity and was the same person on and off the screen. From my research, many a reporter attempted to dig up 'dirt' but discovered that Mr. Rogers was the same guy everywhere he went. No hidden agenda's. No secret affairs. He was happy. Funny. People liked to be around him as he lived by the exact moral code that he preached.
Do you live by what you preach? Do I?
Last night...maybe a couple of night ago, my wife and I were in the middle of our usual evening banter when I threw in how I thought of myself as being similar to Mr. Rogers. Natalie laughed initially because Mr. Rogers appeared timid on screen. Passive even, whereas she's witnessed me as a bit confrontational and overly honest to people (if there is such a thing as 'overly honest') to the point that people have taken offense. I've been known to be straight forward and passionate both teaching and defending truths that I believe in and hold close to my heart. So, when it comes to being political with subtlety, I am quite different from Mr. Rogers. He was much better at that than I ever will be. He seemed to have much more patience and cleverness in that area than I. He was a master at using his influence for good in a way that people didn't even realize they were learning anything - they thought they were watching a kids program! I am working towards that but my interest in being subtle is just not there so I'll likely stick to the shotgun approach of honest reflection even when it has consequences that may potentially effect financial livelihood.
Some clients choose not to return to therapy because with awareness comes accountability. And taking accountability can be a very uncomfortable place. Especially when it comes to a behavior that may not be judged as being appropriate.
Being uncomfortable is...uncomfortable. And it's great. I had a wonderful experience a long ago in a galaxy far away that involved an accusation. I was accused of being a __________ friend (the exact term isn't even coming to mind right now...maybe by the end). Initially I didn't even understand the term as I've never heard it before. You may not have heard it either so another way to think of it is the more used term 'frenemy'. Or, someone who pretends to be your friend but then tries to cut you down at especially vulnerable moments in front of you or behind your back. It's especially confusing because you think this person is your friend so the behaviors are surprising and we don't want to believe that it's actually happening because...well, they're your friend.
The accusation was backed with an example of something that I said at a party during a white elephant gift exchange weeks prior. During the confrontation, I was very genuinely surprised. It came out of left field for me...still, I wanted to be open and take accountability where possible so I expressed my apologies saying that I sincerely didn't mean anything offensive and had no ill-feelings or wishes towards the person. And that was that. I had cleaned up something that appeared on my side of the street...but it wasn't cleaned on on their side which resulted in me being asked repeatedly to take accountability of being a 'frenemy' even a week after being accused. "I just want you to acknowledge it" they said, but I couldn't because it just wasn't accurate. Still, it felt good knowing that I wasn't hiding anything. It felt good being honest. My heart rate didn't rise. My emotions didn't escalate. I was being the same person in that room as I am outside of that room.
Has anyone felt this way? Pressured by someone else to take accountability for something that they didn't do? Feels like a manipulation to me. Like, if I did 'admit' to it, they would feel better about it somehow. And I still can't remember the exact term it's called so we'll stick with 'frenemy'. Wait...it's coming to me - "ambivalent"! Ambivalent Friend. That's the term. I had to youtube it and as I watched, I couldn't help but that the whole concept sounded 'victimy' and found myself wondering, "if I thought strongly that someone was trying to hurt me while pretending to be my friend, I don't think I'd continue in that relationship...so if someone CHOOSES to continue in that risky relationship - well, that sounds like that'd be on them - not the person they chose to be friends with."
Why would you choose to be close to someone that you know is trying to hurt you?
I am living the exact code that I preach. I. Am. Mr. Rogers. Except, I don't wear a sweater and rather than work with children, choose to focus on adults largely in the field of addiction, depression and anxiety (any negative emotions, really). Instead of puppets and catchy jingles, I use a blog and youtube....and therapy. Yes, I still need to work on the subtle piece...but for now will go with the famous words of Joe Rogan, "It's better to have honest conflict than dishonest harmony."
Till next time, live well.
Jed Thorpe, CMHC.
Wrote this poem in 1999. The cadence is different - quick...but it works. Enjoy!
Let me tell you of a fact
Of "oh, look there! The Acrobat"
They jump, glide and fly at will
They turn and spin, they're never still
But on and away, they're the baton that leads
And they're the joyful song
That makes me smile and gasp intake
With laughter, silence - no mistakes
For peril follows any move
That doesn't match the perfect groove
Just watch; the timing, movement, grace
The pressure shows not on their face
Or in their thoughts, not anywhere
Slow down your fears
Hush, hush - there, there.
Let not this show you view called life
Affect you so, or cause you strife
But always keep this thought in mind
"In time that fall will be behind"
Meander not for worries sake
Child, rush for life! On to the next take
Of one, two, three or however need be
Just don't stop moving, progressing, improving
On to the next leap, roll, feign can't you see
That all of us are Acrobats: We?
From the starting of time
That cannot be thought
Impressed with a spirit
ALL ACROBATS FOUGHT
For a scene in the circus
A roar from the crowd
We lived for the moment
For learning the nows and hows and wow
I wonder, could it be
That all of that cheering...is for me?
And though we fall and trip - a lot
The roar from before, it never stops
But urges me on and off of my seat
With a tuck and a leap, I'm THROUGH that feat.
And there's where we learn
And that's when we feel
The thought from inside
"Now child, don't be still"
Did you make it through the whole poem? I've no idea how it got that long. In any case, the poem reminds me of a few principles that I live by and teach today.
1. We are priceless. All of us. Not 'special' but 'unique'.
2. We are all the same. We're all 'acrobats'...sometimes we just forget.
3. With every 'fall' we learn and grow. We progress no matter what.
4. We are eternal. Limitless. Priceless.
5. Keep going. So you fell again - it happened. Get up and get moving.