Saturday, November 1, 2014

Guest Poems from Recovering Alcoholic Charlie

Charlie shared these two poems in my DUI class today and gave me permission to post on this blog. 

Charlie about his Step 12 AA:


All my life from God I've run
And never have I good things done
When I was the worst that I could be
He blessed my life and protected me
Trading a good and righteous Son
For me a no-good-rotten one
The price for me that Jesus paid
For Him I would have never made
How is it LORD that I, not He,
Escaped that cross at calvary!



For all the men and women 
who dedicated their lives helping others in
a substance abuse programs from Charlie: 

I didn't know that you would come
But called on God--you came
And by His Spirit encouraged some
While from His Word hope gave.
Thank You LORD for faithful servants
Their gifts made room for Thee
Behind prison walls and jail house bars,
The soul you saved was me!  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Guest Post: Medical Marijuana


The Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Guest Blogger:
Syrrant Henry




As marijuana becomes a more broadly accept part of our lifestyles, the question of how using it can affect our health becomes more relevant. It’s a question that doctors and scientists are still exploring. The most powerful and successful argument that marijuana advocates have made so far is that it can be considered a medicinal drug as well as a recreational one. A combination of scientific and anecdotal evidence indicate that marijuana has an ameliorative effect on a wide range of ailments.

Marijuana is one of the most beneficial and therapeutically active substances known to man. Medical Cannabis refers to the use of the drug cannabis as a physician-recommended herbal therapy, most notably as an antiemetic. Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for approximately 4,000 years. Writings from ancient India confirm that its psychoactive properties were recognized, and doctors used it for a variety of illnesses and ailments. These included a whole host of gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, headaches and as a pain reliever frequently used in childbirth.

In the 1970s, a synthetic version of THC, the primary active ingredient in cannabis, was synthesized to make the drug Marinol, which is available through prescription. It comes in the form of a pill and is also being studied by researchers for suitability via other delivery methods, such as an inhaler or patch. Marinol offers a wide variety of therapeutic applications just to list a few:
  • ·       Hypertension, insomnia
  • ·       Relief of muscle spasms
  • ·       Relief of chronic pain
  • ·       Reduction in interlobular pressure inside the eye
  • ·       Suppression of nausea
  • ·       Weight loss—increase and restore metabolism
  • ·       Constipation and alcohol hangovers

Other uses include:
  • ·       AIDS—Marijuana can reduce the nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting from the condition itself and the medications as well.
  • ·       Glaucoma—Marijuana relieves the internal eye pressure of glaucoma, and therefore relieving the pain and slowing or even stopping the condition.
  • ·       Cancer—Many side effects of the medication to stop cancer can be relieved with Marijuana. Some studies suggest that marijuana tends to slow down the progress of some types of cancer.
  • ·       Multiple Sclerosis—Muscle pain, spasticity, tremors and unsteadiness are some of the effects caused by the disease that can be relieved by Marijuana.
  • ·       Epilepsy—In some patients, epileptic seizures can be prevented with marijuana use.
  • ·       Chronic pain—Marijuana helps to alleviate the pain caused from many types of injuries and disorders.
  • ·       Anxiety, depression or obsession—Even though mild anxiety is a common side effect in some users, cannabis can elevate your mood and expand the mind and be beneficial for mental health issues such as port traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
  • ·       Physical addictions—There have been testimonies from opiate users that report an easing of addiction cravings. Some cannabinoids in cannabis are believed to have similar effects as ibogaine, a medication used to treat heroin addiction.

The cannabinoids (chemicals unique to marijuana) mimic the healing effects of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain called Anandimide. However, this naturally occurring cannabinoid also produces the negative effects that one would experience from high concentrations of cannabinoids in marijuana.

Medical marijuana can also benefit you psychologically and spiritually. The herb tends to reveal you true self. It uncovers inner confusion and reals your true direction—if you let it. Marijuana offers an effect that is both energizing and relaxing at the same time. This balanced effect will help some to think more clearly and more efficiently afterwards.


California became the first state to allow the medical use of marijuana in 1996. Many states require a doctor’s approval and all but Washington state require an ID card to be shown at the dispensary or enrollment in a patient registry. Many of the states that allow medical marijuana have an online application process. In most states, patients need to fill out the application, pay a fee and provide identification information. To successfully receive an ID card in most states, patients need a signed statement from a doctor diagnosing the condition and a document stating that medical marijuana is the treatment recommended for the patients’ particular condition and situation. Most of the laws allow dispensaries and outline specific conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed. These restrictions always vary by state as to the format and amount of medical cannabis that can be obtained at each visit for personal use.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Defeat Florida's Amendment Two

I was privileged to attend the DON'T LET FLORIDA GO TO POT Drug Summit Tuesday, presented by The Coalition Partnership of Hardee, Highlands and Polk Counties. Excellent speakers included: Dr. Bertha Madras, Professor of Psychobiology at the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Polk's own Sheriff Grady Judd, and Sergeant Dale Quigley from Colorado which passed the similar Amendment that Florida is considering. Here are a few points from the conference.

The FDA is being circumvented by the ballot box and politics. Since when have we voted on what can easily become an addiction?  Real medicine is not determined by popular vote, says Grady Judd. 

States who have tried medical marijuana have interesting consequences--doctors flying in to prescribe in Montana for their own profit, for example. 

Florida's Amendment Two doesn't specify what diseases will be treated and the amendment doesn't provide a prescription. Caregivers are really dope dealers. 

These associations do not support legalizing marijuana: Florida Medical Assoc., American Medical Assoc., American Cancer Society, American Glaucoma Society, Epilepsy Foundation to name a few. 

What has been heralded as compassionate use is not.
    But isn’t allowing marijuana for the treatment of health problems a compassionate thing to do?
    • Not really. "Medicalizing" this harmful substance has caused truly ill people to refuse proper medical care, thinking that because marijuana makes them feel better they are getting better. Medical practitioners and others who are truly concerned for the sick have higher standards and greater compassion – we want the ill to receive the medicine they need.
    • The medical excuse marijuana movement has become a device used by special interest groups to exploit the sick and dying and well-meaning voters for their own purposes.
    • Rev. Scott Imler, Co-Founder of Prop 215 (California's medical marijuana law) said, "We created Prop 215 so that patients would not have to deal with black market profiteers. But today it is all about the money. Most of the dispensaries operating in California are little more than dope dealers with store fronts."

    Colorado is where recreational use and shipping to other states has happened. Note warnings in the interesting report "The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado" at www.RMHIDTA.ORG. 

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Dangers Behind the Wheel

    In addition to driving after drinking. . . 


    don't drive sleepy. . . 


    and don't text while driving! All dangerous!


    Friday, May 30, 2014

    Alcohol and Parenting

    A student I had many years ago tried to find me through Oprah. Then came Facebook and she contacted me to tell me the difference I had made in her life when I was her fifth grade teacher. She has given me permission to post her contact to thank me.
    ___________________________________________________________

    Hi Carol, I wanted to forward this letter to you. This is a letter that I wrote to Oprah in the hopes that she would find you and provide me an opportunity to thank you (before the days of Facebook). Making sure you knew what a wonderful and positive influence you were during a very dark time is something has always been on my "bucket list". So, here it goes...
     ___________________________________________________________

         Dear Oprah, 
    I know that you honor teachers who have gone above and beyond in providing support to their students. I began this letter three years ago and when I heard that 2010 would be your last year, I realized I had to send my story about such a teacher. 
    In 1976 my mother passed away after a horrible struggle with pancreatic cancer. I was 10 yrs old and during the time she was ill and the time following, my family fell apart. My father was not around and my mother was a single parent and while she certainly was not a great mother when she was healthy, her death made a sad situation even worse. 
    I was born into a middle class family of six children making me the youngest of seven. Around the time I turned 5 my parents began fighting, horrible, physical fights fueled by alcoholism. Soon they separated and my father disappeared, and my older siblings moved. I ended up living alone with my mother in a dilapidated flat next to a prostitution house in a less than ideal part of town. The alcohol and cancer diagnosis consumed her and I learned to become self sufficient. 
    During her illness, I was in 5th grade attending Selby Lane School in Atherton, CA. Selby Lane was located in an affluent area and I was one of the kids bussed in from “the other side of the tracks”. Surrounded by such affluence, with a dying mother, I found myself not belonging. I became an introvert and delved into my schoolwork. I was blessed at the time to have Carol Noren as my teacher. She was young without a family and took me under her wing. I don’t recall much of that year but I do remember how she would bring me to her cozy apartment after school and work with me to get through the assignments. For the first time in years, I felt I had an advocate. She spent hours outside of school providing a safe haven. 
    After time out of school when my mother died, I returned to a “Welcome Back Emily” banner with signatures and pictures from my classmates. Always flying under the radar, I felt overwhelmed with love and support. In retrospect I am sure that I should not have passed 5th grade based on attendance alone, as I spent much of the year at the hospital. Fortunately for me, Ms. Noren recognized that I was a bright student in a dark place and holding me back would not have benefited me in any way. 
    I then finished the 5th grade and moved to another city with one of my sisters. Time passed and it wasn’t until I had my own children and recognized the gift she gave me. Now that I have school aged children, I see how the influence of strong and loving teachers can make all the difference in the world and being a parent, I find the need to locate and thank her imperative. Saying that Ms. Noren “went above and beyond” is a great understatement. I have no idea where she is as that was over 35 yrs ago. I do know her influence and love kept me on the straight and narrow, not wanting to veer down the wrong path.
    Oprah, I hope that you can help me in celebrating her warmth and compassion and let her know that she did a make a difference-a very big difference. Thank you for taking the time to hear my story.
     Emily Franchi

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Guest Post: DUI GAME Poem

    DUI Game
    by Taylor Mawn
    Used by Permission

    Man I'm in this class for a damn DUI,
    I wasn't drunk at all but I guess I was high,
    I'm wasting all my money paying off all these fines,
    They said I had problems but I didn't see the signs,
    I still drink but I don't drive 'cause my license is suspended,
    I should have gotten a lawyer so my case was defended,
    To be honest this charge caused me to lose it all,
    Driving under the influence has been my biggest downfall,
    Fines, community service and probation is now apart of my life,
    Rather than getting married to a girl probation is like my new wife,
    Even though I was only in jail for a couple of hours,
    My feelings toward Bartow are ones that are quite sour,
    They feed you sandwiches that looks and smells like cat food,
    You have to use the bathroom in front of people and the guards are very rude,
    So before you drink and drive you should probably think twice.
    Because until it happens you'll never know the sacrifice

    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    YouTube Videos for My Students to See

    Is addiction a disease? You can't help it? View this video 3:05 minute video.


    Another short video on meth (31 seconds of powerful images).



    Short video (2:27) on what marijuana does to the brain.


    Short video (2:14) on what alcohol can do to the brain. This video refers to the above one.


    Be ready to comment in class on these videos. 

    Is marijuana no more harmful than alcohol? 

    How can they both mess up your brain?