Getting Personal #244: April Goals Recap

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of April:

  1. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2021. — Accomplished!
  2. Finish the first draft of my second novel. — Semi-Achieved.
  3. Donate blood. — Accomplished!
  4. Celebrate Dad’s birthday! — Accomplished!
  5. Hang at least three items on my office walls. — Did not accomplish yet.
  6. Publish at least one Commentary post. — Accomplished!
  7. Renew my library card. — Accomplished!
  8. Publish at least two Book Review posts. — Did not accomplish yet.
  9. Publish my quarterly TBR Recap post. — Accomplished!
  10. Finish reviewing my friend’s first draft of their novel. — Did not accomplish yet.

I had a great writing month – Look for a Camp NaNoWriMo recap post, coming soon! I’m almost finished with the first draft of my second novel. I’m really proud of myself.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #114: Viewpoints on Health – A Conversation with David Sheff

David Sheff, right, and his son, Nic. Image Credit: The New York Times

I had the opportunity to participate in a live-stream with the James Madison University (JMU) College of Health and Behavioral Studies and Mr. David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and the new book, Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy. This was presented in collaboration with Sentara Healthcare, and I learned about this opportunity as a Sentara employee. It was open to everyone, and was presented through Facebook and YouTube.

The structure of the event was a conversation between one of the JMU staff members and David Sheff. Before it started, the JMU staff members commented that “Sheff will share about his family’s experience with addiction. He will also report on findings from the years he spent investigating the disease of addiction and America’s drug problem.”


With David, his family’s experience with addiction was with his son, Nic. He was plagued with anxiety and depression. He was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, Nic’s first experience with drugs was marijuana at age 11.

Sheff emphasized that parents can’t do it all. They aren’t their child’s social worker, psychologist, counselor, etc. The sooner that parents intervene, the better.

One topic that came up was “tough love,” Sheff and his wife did not go that route with Nic. Sometimes, it’s successful, but a lot of times, it’s not successful.

Family also sometimes adds to the problem.

One of the best things that parents can do is ask for help, whether that be from a counselor, coach, teacher, or doctor. There are a lot of support groups online, too.


What is Addiction?

“Addiction is the only disease that lets our family members hit rock bottom.”

Addiction is a health problem, not a problem of morals. It’s not bad behavior, either.

It’s a brain disease. We don’t want people to get worse.

Sheff said, “I didn’t know rock bottom had a basement.”

Using the term “bottom” is dangerous.

There are alternatives that work.

For healthcare providers – People don’t want to be addicted. We need more people to be trained to recognize the warning signs. And it’s not just a need for healthcare providers. So many others should be trained as well – Coaches, clergy, teachers, counselors, parents, guardians, and more.


How to Help or Get Help

Early warning signs include isolation, sadness, depression.

Don’t talk to your child or children – LISTEN to them.

There’s also a great, significant need for psychological testing in the substance abuse treatment system. For Nic, he had not had any psychological testing in the 10 years that he’d been in treatment, and that was years ago. After he had the proper psychological testing, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and, more importantly, he hasn’t relapsed since then.

In terms of a healthcare system that treats disease, there simply aren’t enough providers.

“Diseases of despair”

There was a study conducted of pediatricians not too long ago. Nearly 70 percent of them couldn’t recognize a drug problem in a child.

In 2020, 80,000 people died from drug overdose.

Sharp increase: Isolation from lockdown. Also, drugs have normally/usually been social gatherings. Because of the isolation, no one was with them to call 911.

Money has been diverted form support programs to help with COVID-19.

Pharmacological: Brain disease, chemical issues.

Opioid addiction: Meds lower cravings.

Methadone and suboxone – These drugs help people function! It’s almost equivalent to cancer drugs.

Replace shame and guilty with knowledge and hope.

Irresponsible prescribing needs to stop. Educating professionals needs to increase. Not leaving people alone.

Medications must be monitored.

Teenagers: Opioids must commonly found / used in home medicine cabinets.

Identify stressors: It takes a village, support for everyone

Mental illnesses often go undiagnosed or not properly diagnosed, sometimes for years or decades.

Societal problems: No money, no food – Those things, and others, lead to violence. Also consider unemployment and abuse.

Be relentless: Make a million phone calls if you have to.

There have been successful Nurse-Family Partnerships, where a nurse is in consistent contact and communication with a family, offering support and medical assistance.

Teenage pregnancy is a significant factor, too.

A team that works together can help: Write resume, job interviews, proper nutrition, staying at a job.

Support includes making appointments, going to counseling sessions.

There needs to be an increase in and acceptance of harm reduction programs, community resources, needle exchanges.

There’s a JMU graduate who works for a needle exchange program in Tacoma, Washington.


I have not yet read either of Sheff’s books, but I plan to. See the links below for more information.


Resources

FRONTLINE | Chasing Heroin (2016) – Exploring what happens when addiction is treated like a public health issue, not a crime.

At George Floyd’s Treatment Center, Recovering Clients See Racism in Addiction Assumptions | FRONTLINE (2021)

Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) FAQs | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Methadone | MedlinePlus

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

What is Addiction? | American Psychiatric Association

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #251: “50 Masterpieces You Have to Read Before You Die, Volume 1” (Book 1 – “Little Women”)

Image Credit: Amazon

Welcome back!


The first book on the list was Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Originally, I was excited. The first and last time I read Little Women was for one of my first presentations / projects in Mr. Degnan’s ninth grade English class, circa fall 2003.

However, now, I don’t quite understand how I remember enjoying Little Women back then. This was a tough read, even with the illustrated version! Nothing against Alcott, but the writing style threw me off almost immediately. I got through the first 60 pages, and found myself setting it aside. I picked it up again, and slowly made my way to the end. But it was painful.

I do enjoy the relationships among the March women, especially during the time period of the Civil War. They all miss their father. But, they also enjoy their lives as best they can. It was fun to watch these girls become “little women” over time. As an only child, this book made think of what it would be like to be in a bigger family.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Kimberly and I are ready to move on to Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.


Have you read Little Women?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Hot Topic #32: Justice for George Floyd (Chauvin Guilty on All Counts)

Image Credit: Republic World

My hands are shaking as I write this post. I’m in disbelief. I never thought I would see and hear these words, live-streamed for all the world to witness:

Count I – Second-degree unintentional murder, GUILTY

Count II – Third-degree murder, GUILTY

Count III – Second-degree manslaughter, GUILTY

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on all charges in the death, the murder, of George Floyd that occurred on May 25, 2020.

I prayed before the verdict was read, feeling tears spring to my eyes. I couldn’t believe it when the first “Guilty” was read, I was stunned. And then I cheered. And then I cried. And I prayed again.

Chauvin’s bond was immediately revoked, and he was taken into custody.


I reflected on this in my post, Hot Topic #30, on June 4, 2020. Thankfully, less than a year later, I’m writing a post in relief and happiness that this verdict was actually reached.


With all that said, there is still more work to be done.

“The healing work begins,” spoken over and over in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis this afternoon.

Black Lives Matter.


Resources

The BIPOC Project

Black Lives Matter

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

BIPOC-Owned Businesses to Support Today and Everyday


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #243: Eighteenth TBR Recap

Image Credit: Good Housekeeping

Welcome back!

Here’s what I’ve read since my last TBR Recap:

  1. Alcott, Louisa May, Little Women: The Original, Classic Novel (Illustrated, Unabridged) — Writing prompt post coming soon!
  2. Atkinson, Deanna, Be Still and Know: A Month of Meditation — Review coming soon!
  3. Elliott, T.E., Loved By The Beast: A Historical Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
  4. Harr, Jonathan, A Civil Action *Re-Read* — Review coming soon!
  5. Hertz, Kellen, Courtney Changes The Game
  6. Hertz, Kellen, Courtney: Friendship Superhero
  7. Kotb, Hoda, This Just Speaks to Me: Words to Live By Every Day — Review coming soon!

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR

  1. Rose, Rebecca, Love, Politics, and Survival: A Whitefield Family Narrative Book One

Keep & Re-Classify – Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Hakesley, Faith, Glimmers of Grace: Moments of Peace and Healing Following Sexual Abuse
  2. Oviatt, Didi, Sketch
  3. Thomas, Angie, The Hate U Give

Adding to the TBR

  1. Johnson, Maureen, Truly Devious: A Mystery
  2. Rosen, L.C., Camp

So, my current TBR is five (5) books.

Do you have a TBR?

What are you looking forward to reading next?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 

Getting Personal #242: April Goals

Image Credit: Maria Estes Photography

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of April:

  1. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2021.
  2. Finish the first draft of my second novel.
  3. Donate blood.
  4. Celebrate Dad’s birthday!
  5. Hang at least three items on my office walls.
  6. Publish at least one Commentary post.
  7. Renew my library card.
  8. Publish at least two Book Review posts.
  9. Publish my quarterly TBR Recap post.
  10. Finish reviewing my friend’s first draft of their novel.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of April?

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂