LOSING TREY: A STORY OF ADDICTION – Flakka, Bath Salts, and Opioid pills

As they used to say on the TV police drama Dragnet, the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed. In this case, however, the pseudonyms are used to protect the survivors…and the memory of “Trey,” a young man in his mid-twenties who is no longer among the living.

“Trey,” a young man in his mid-twenties who is no longer among the living.
“Trey,” a young man in his mid-twenties who is no longer among the living.

We heard Trey’s story from his friend “Jonah,” who came to The Hope Center from his mid-western home state for help in recovering from a heroin addiction—the same addiction that had led to Trey’s death. It was the abrupt and unexpected end to Trey’s life that scared Jonah into seeking help.

Like Trey, Jonah was is in his mid-twenties. The two went to high school together. Their paths separated during their college years, but after graduation, they both returned to their hometown and their friendship with each other.

They also both started experimenting with drugs. Jonah says they dabbled in Flakka, Bath Salts, and Opioid pills before being introduced to, and seduced by, Heroin. The first taste of Heroin for both of them came at a party.

Trey had played football in high school and college, though he didn’t go on to the pros. Some of his old high school teammates invited him to a barbeque one Sunday afternoon, and he brought Jonah along. As the afternoon progressed, a pick-up football game got started: shirts vs skins. It was casual, just for fun, and even Jonah played, though he hadn’t been on the high school team. As dusk approached, and the game came to an end, three of the guys went on a beer run, and the party moved indoors.

Then one of the guys introduced a new “guest” to the party: Heroin.

Then one of the guys introduced a new “guest” to the party: Heroin.
Then one of the guys introduced a new “guest” to the party: Heroin.

Some of the guys indulged. Some didn’t. Neither Trey nor Jonah was a stranger to drugs, though neither had ever tried Heroin before. “There’s a first time for everything,” observed the party’s host as he passed the syringe over to Trey.

Both Trey and Jonah were immediately impressed with the effects of the drug. “Hey, where can I get more of this stuff?” Trey asked. And thus began a habit.

At first Trey and Jonah shot up only on weekends. Jonah had a sales job, while Trey was in management in an office, and both wanted to stay clean and straight during working hours, but heroin is seductive and addictive, and soon they both were using seven days a week.

Jonah didn’t like the effect heroin had on his abilities at work, but he was in the grips of something stronger than his willpower, and he gave in.

It was at another party that Trey met his end, and Jonah found the resolve to quit. Another of Trey’s old high school football teammates was hosting this one, and he also supplied the drugs. There was a smorgasbord of drugs to choose from, and Jonah decided to go for some Opioid pills, but Trey opted for Heroin.

The effects were quick—and deadly. At first, when Trey passed out, the host of the party recommended letting him “sleep it off.” But Jonah noticed that Trey’s breathing was shallow and at times seemed to stop altogether. He wanted to call the paramedics. The host, fearful of legal repercussions, leaned on Jonah to not make the call. By the time Jonah defied him and dialed 911, and the ambulance arrived, it was too late. Trey was gone. Dead from an overdose.

It had been an unusually strong batch of heroin…and Trey, who wanted nothing more than to feel good and enjoy his partying with his friends, lost his chance to ever feel good again…to ever feel anything again…to live.

As for Jonah, he was “scared straight” and, after checking out a number of treatment facilities intentionally far from home, decided on The Hope Center.

Hopefully he will never use again. But there are still plenty of people out there who are hooked on heroin. If you are, or someone you care about is, one of those people, get help now, before it’s too late…before you meet the same fate as Trey.

There is hope. That is why we are called The Hope Center. Reach out to us today. The time is always now.

Girls Only: Stay Sober Through PMS

The hormonal imbalance in females caused by pre-menstruation can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety – both of which are detrimental to maintained sobriety. It is not uncommon for females in early recovery to relapse during PMS, seeing as hormone function is thrown off and unfamiliar or seemingly irrational emotions take over swiftly and without fair warning. For this reason, it is very important for pre-menopausal women to be aware of their own personal cycles, and to take serious heed to the following suggestions of how to stay sober through “that time of the month” every month.

How To Stay Sober Through PMS

  • Stay Rational

I know this one might seem relatively impossible, but what I mean by “staying rational” is simply remembering why it is you are experiencing severe mood swings at crying at every commercial you see on Lifetime. Keep in mind that the severe emotional instability is only temporary, and within a week you will be back in perfect working order.

  • Dark Chocolate

The serotonin-boosting cocoa found in dark chocolate will not only help improve your mood, but also help to satisfy your seemingly insatiable craving for… everything. And try not to be too hard on yourself – it is totally acceptable to eat like a ravenous beast a couple days out of the month, as long as you balance your binging with a little of the below.

  • Exercise

Moderate exercise such as power walking and yoga can help relieve cramps and help keep your mental wellbeing in check. Exercise has also been scientifically proven to reduce cravings, so throw on your jogging shoes and take a little run around the block whenever you start to feel somewhat restless.

  • Girlfriends

Having a solid group of sober girlfriends that can relate to your struggles is always a good idea. It is pretty likely that if you spend enough time together you’ll end up syncing up, so organize a monthly RomCom party and tell everyone to bring a box of tissues and a snack to share.

  • Let Yourself Relax

Take a break! Give yourself a mental health day and stay inside watching guilty pleasure TV shows and eating chocolate chip cookie dough. You deserve a day off, and if your emotions are a little out of whack taking a sick day will probably ultimately do more good than harm. Just remember to take whatever steps necessary to keep yourself sane and sober, and keep in mind – this too shall pass!

Saying “No” In Recovery

Setting boundaries and saying “no” is often a very difficult skill for addicts and alcoholics to learn, seeing as codependency to some degree frequently goes hand-in-hand with substance dependency. Unfortunately, unless a recovering addict learns to say “no” he or she will be faced with circumstances that may compromise his or her sobriety. If an addict takes on too much responsibility early on and neglects him or herself in any way, the risk for relapse increases significantly. Here are several negative repercussions of being a “yes man”.

Saying “No” Is An Important Skill In Early Recovery

  • Your work will more than likely be poorly executed regardless of what it is – work-work, schoolwork, or work on yourself. Putting only half as much effort into what truly matters will inevitably hurt you in the long run.
  • You may begin to take on the work of others rather than delegating properly. Overwhelming yourself with tasks that are not your responsibility to begin with will cause you to form resentments.
  • If you say yes constantly to commitments you may not want to take on, you are likely to begin sacrificing personal goals.
  • You may begin sacrificing sleep, exercise, and free time spent with friends or on personally fulfilling activities.

Fortunately, learning to say “no” in a polite way is not at all difficult, it only takes a little bit of conviction and an ample amount of sincerity. If you truly have too much on your plate and cannot take on any more responsibility, don’t be afraid to say so. There are kind and effective ways in which to reject people without hurting their feelings or causing any tension within the relationship. Here are several examples:

  • “I really appreciate you thinking of me, unfortunately I am swamped and won’t have any real free time for quite awhile.”
  • Unfortunately because of the point I am at in my own life, I don’t feel that would be the best idea for me right now. Possibly sometime down the line.”
  • “I wish I could – I simply don’t have the time.”

Be sure to avoid apologizing excessively – stand firm in your refusal while remaining polite. Don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping. For instance, don’t say, “I can’t now, but next week…” if you truly do not plan on making time, or sincerely don’t want to make any future commitments. Saying “no” takes practice, but it is a practice that will pay off immensely in the long run!

9 Cliche Tricks to Staying Sober

If you’ve ever been to a 12-step meeting yourself or sought advice from someone who has, you have inevitably heard several well-worn clichés. “One day at a time”, “easy does it”, “stick with the winners”… surely you’ve heard these and many other ancient slogans rattled off by old-timers in meetings, and without question most go over your head with little thought. But when taking a closer look, some of these hackneyed catchphrases can actually prove to be quite helpful. Here are 9 examples of everyday mottos you may stop taking for granted after actually taking them into consideration. Old-timers are old-timers for a reason, after all!

  1. “First Things First”

Well… yeah. Isn’t it always? It seems like a simple message – and that’s really because it is. When AAers remind you that the first things first, they’re really reminding you to stay focused on the day at hand and stop projecting. Stay in the present moment – ground yourself and focus on the task at hand. This slogan also alludes to the fact that sobriety must remain top priority, for, as another saying goes, “everything you put before your sobriety you are going to lose”.

  1. “Easy Does It”

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It isn’t likely that after a week of sobriety you are going to be a happy, healthy, productive member of society. Take it easy – give yourself a break. The slogan also reminds one to avoid trying to force solutions, that sometimes doing nothing is an action in itself. Take a step back and let the universe unfold as it should.

  1. “Live and Let Live”

This slogan simply suggests that one should focus on themselves and their own issues rather than the issues of those surrounding them. Live your life and let other live theirs. When an addict or alcoholic tries to run the show, things tend to end up a lot more complicated than they would have been otherwise.

  1. “One Day at a Time”

This slogan is pretty self-explanatory – and it also a universal trademark of Alcoholics Anonymous and many other 12-step programs across the globe. A major key to staying sober is facing every day as an individual feat. Wake up in the morning and tell yourself, “Today, I will not drink. If I still want to drink tomorrow I can.”

  1. “To Thine Own Self Be True”

So, this one was Shakespeare – we must give credit where credit is due. But AA has essentially adopted the quote and made it their own over the years, adding new significance to the famous words. Essentially, this line advises one to avoid engaging in self-deception. Lying to yourself will only hinder potential progress. Be honest and thorough, if not with anyone else, at least with yourself. And your sponsor.

  1. “Meeting Makers Make It”

This is probably the most straightforward of all AA clichés. If you go to meetings, you won’t get drunk. While regular attendance at meetings does undeniably help one stay sober, it is important that one engages in the meeting, pays attention to speakers, and fellowships before and after the convening to truly get the most out of each experience. So while this statement tends to lean towards true, if you sit in the back with your head in your hands, refusing to ask for help, you may not stay as sober as you’d like.

  1. “Wherever You Go, There You Are”

It is not uncommon for addicts and alcoholics to impulsively pick up and move across the country, believing that a geographic change will help them tame their symptoms. Many realize rather quickly that it isn’t so much the surroundings as it is an internal malady, and are forced to heal from the inside out rather than the outside in.

  1. “My Best Thinking Got Me Drunk”

Essentially, this slogan points out the fact that most addicts and alcoholics are so sick in the head that any thought they have is probably wrong. One of the predominant points of Alcoholics Anonymous is helping other alcoholics – especially when it comes to decision-making. If left to their own accord, most of the sober men and women in the rooms would undoubtedly be drunk. Or dead. If you think something is a good idea, ask! It most likely isn’t.

  1. “I Am Powerless But Not Helpless”

It is important to remember that powerlessness is entirely different than helplessness. While you may be powerless over drugs and alcohol, you are never helpless – it is your choice every day whether or not you pick up. Keep these helpful clichés in mind if you ever start to feel overwhelmed, and remember – stick with the winners!