WE CAN FEEL HELPLESS OR HOPEFUL

 

In June it was reported that Heroin is now the leading cause of death in Americans under 50 years old.  The article reported that 144 people will die from accidental overdose today.  When you add that to the statistics regarding suicide: 121 suicides are completed a day, including 22 of our veterans, and also the fact that, for every one suicide completed, 25 are attempted, which equates to 3,025 / day = 3,146 suicides completed or attempted EVERY day in the US. 

For perspective, there are 321.4 million people in the United States.

Regarding drugs, this is not new news — In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared the “war on drugs” – public enemy #1.  Since then, our nation has spent over $1 trillion fighting this war.  We are certainly losing.  In 2009 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem.  Through discussions with our elected officials and research, it is shown that alcohol or drug rehabilitation may only be effective 10 – 30% of the time.  I believe that, consistently trying to get rid of the supply without eliminating demand is never going to stop the war and that this is a continued exercise of futility.

We hear a lot about accidental overdose – I thought it fair to include why people may start using drugs in the first place.  Per Foundation for a Drug Free World, “people take drugs because they want to change something about their lives.  Here are some of the reasons young people have given for taking drugs:  To fit in; To escape or relax; To relieve boredom; To seem grown up; To rebel; To experiment.  They think drugs are a solution. But eventually, the drugs become the problem.”  http://www.drugfreeworld.org/d...ople-take-drugs.html

It is evident that there are 2 categories of people — the ones who absolutely need rehab and recovery and the ones who may be having a negative life experience that haven’t gotten to this point where they will utilize the drugs or attempt suicide — I did write this article, What Do Our People Need: A Sense of Community and Belonging, a few months ago, which discussed the need for emotional connection of our communities:  http://www.timetoplay.com/2016...munity-and-belonging.

There is validity behind the concept of enjoy life communities, a visible, positive and proactive approach.  I continue to find work by others that supports the model, including the most recent by Barbara Fredrickson, PhD who has been researching emotions over 25 years and wrote, “…by creating chains of events that carry positive meaning for others, positive emotions can trigger upward spirals that transform communities into more cohesive, moral and harmonious social organizations.”

One more statistic — as per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population and Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3 and affects more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

It breaks my heart that so many people live their lives in despair.

I believe community support will help in many ways, including helping those who feel depressed or alone or isolated.  We can continue to fight “wars” or we can begin to provide PROACTIVE life and coping skills to use in our lives and our communities which will potentially circumvent the development of a negative life experience and the utilization of self-destructive behaviors.

Again, please again keep in mind that we do have two different groups of people — the ones who need help reactively, and the ones who can proactively be given preventive life and coping skills. I am not saying that we should not help those who need recovery, but we just have to find a better way to help them.

I have many years working in the field of quality improvement.  As I continue to learn and research, it becomes more than evident to me that we are going about helping our people achieve quality of life the wrong way. We are “chasing our tail” instead of providing proactive skills and tools where our people may choose a better option to handling life situations, no matter how horrible they may be, versus utilizing self-destructive options.  It is now evident to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that helping people learn what they need to enjoy life, helping people feel a sense of community, will no-doubtedly help to stop the cycle we are currently experiencing.

The approach to find opportunities to love life, to help people with problem solving and resources so they don’t need to use drugs to self-medicate, may be a better solution.  Just imagine if we bring people together, if we establish pride in our communities, if we focus on the strengths, the positive and the possibilities of our people and our communities instead of the negativity and despair.  Just imagine if we provide opportunities for people to feel purposeful and fulfilled, which will give them reasons to not do drugs.  Just imagine if we bring together people to share their talents – all people in our communities including our veterans, our seniors, and our youth – so no one feels alone.

The benefits of a different approach – the focus on the goal of life enjoyment – the creation of Enjoy Life Communities – the focus on what’s right vs. what’s wrong, may be a better option.  The goals to decrease social isolation and create a purposeful life additionally will, in turn, increase longevity and the quality of life of our people.

It is researched and proven. 

I am an enjoy life ambassador and an advocate that we all have the ability to enjoy life.  I focus on the excitement of what is possible.

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David Dooley posted:

Your work is commendable and necessary, but I think it is still riverwork.  If you want to be truly proactive... consider bridgework.  If you're unfamiliar with the riverwork/bridgework allegory visit advancingparenting.org and click on Riverwork vs. Bridgework.

Good morning, David.  We are Bridgework.  The PREinvent YOUR Life(r) program is intended to be prenatal education.  I would be most excited to learn more about you and your work and opportunities to collaborate.  I have attached a "programs at a glance" information sheet for the Time to Play Foundation.  My cell is 631-275-5912 if you would like to call.  We're having a snow day here on Long Island and I'm not at my office

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Karen Clemmer posted:

Doreen, Oh, I hope you'll share more about your role as "an enjoy life ambassador and an advocate"!  From your blog ... Just imagine ...

Just imagine if we bring people together, if we establish pride in our communities, if we focus on the strengths, the positive and the possibilities of our people and our communities instead of the negativity and despair.  Just imagine if we provide opportunities for people to feel purposeful and fulfilled, which will give them reasons to not do drugs.  Just imagine if we bring together people to share their talents – all people in our communities including our veterans, our seniors, and our youth – so no one feels alone.

So dreamy!!  I want to hear more!
Karen

Good morning Karen!  I have a protocol for an enjoy life community(r) that can be adapted to a neighborhood, a workplace (70% of workers hate their workplaces), or a school community, where we can provide the life and coping skills the kids need as well as shift the culture to the positive and possibilities.  To me, it is absolutely evident that the power of the people can stop all the "wars" we are fighting against, and, instead, refocus us to recognize that we can fight "for" life enjoyment.  I put out a "interested in collaborating" post a few days ago and actually had a few people interested.  We are all doing amazing things in our communities.  Together, combining our positive momentum, we can facilitate the change we all envision.  I attached some additional information about the work of the Time to Play Foundation.  My cell is 631-275-5912.  You are welcome to call if you have time.

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Doreen, Oh, I hope you'll share more about your role as "an enjoy life ambassador and an advocate"!  From your blog ... Just imagine ...

Just imagine if we bring people together, if we establish pride in our communities, if we focus on the strengths, the positive and the possibilities of our people and our communities instead of the negativity and despair.  Just imagine if we provide opportunities for people to feel purposeful and fulfilled, which will give them reasons to not do drugs.  Just imagine if we bring together people to share their talents – all people in our communities including our veterans, our seniors, and our youth – so no one feels alone.

So dreamy!!  I want to hear more!
Karen

Your work is commendable and necessary, but I think it is still riverwork.  If you want to be truly proactive... consider bridgework.  If you're unfamiliar with the riverwork/bridgework allegory visit advancingparenting.org and click on Riverwork vs. Bridgework.

Dana, I would love to share the work I have been researching over the last almost 8 years.  Seeing your background, there may be opportunity.  I did post a few days ago that I am looking for like-minded people to work with.  Perhaps there is an opportunity.  There is more information about the project at www.timetoplayfoundation.org.  You may call me at 631-331-2675 if you would like to talk.  I'm old school and do prefer conversation

Thank you, Doreen, thank you for your post! Curious, please share more about Enjoy Life Communities. Is this an organization initiating change? Love the name and concept.

Thank you too for sharing the links to the research in your blog. To realize heroin is the leading cause of death for individuals in our nation under 50 is staggering. With the opioid epidemic and war on drugs escalating the suffering of our children, youth, and families across the lifespan, our nation needs to reverse the course we've established with more preventative measures and community-driven solutions.

What's adaptive becomes maladaptive. The healing solutions and safe environments in our schools, service providers, systems, and communities highlighted on ACEs Connection and myriad platforms are uplifting, inspiring, and transformational. We know what works. We know our brain is plastic and our bodies want to heal.

Looking forward to your future posts, Doreen. Thank you for sharing.

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