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The new year is surely keeping us all (much too) busy! With ice storms, power outages, unemployment, and an uncertain future--sometimes it is difficult to stay positive.

We hope you will find encouragement and answers in this newsletter. Also, be sure to check out the short clip "Are You Going To Finish Strong?" It will help give some perspective to your life.

Remember, we are not alone.
In This Issue
Pain Meds Cause More Pain!
Are You Going To Finish Strong?
Free Recovery Audio CD!
Ask Joe.
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Explore Our Archive.

Pain Meds Cause More Pain!
The new silent epidemic.

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by Joe Herzanek


Technology is wonderful-up to a point. The medical and pharmaceutical industries have made huge advances to help those suffering from all sorts of diseases. Most of these advances are genuine lifesavers.
Americans are enjoying longer and higher quality lives-so much so, that we have come to expect many things as normal (diseases cured, symptoms gone and less pain for those suffering the debilitating affects of certain health problems).
Much Too Popular
One class of drugs-opiate painkillers, has become much too popular. These meds will not only relieve physical pain but will also give the user a pleasant euphoric effect at the same time. For a significant and growing number if people this euphoric state of mind is becoming more and more difficult to let go of (similar to the popularity of Valium in the 70's-which by the way, has been recently increasing as well).
So how and why is this happening? How do pain meds cause even more pain? Let me start by saying that these drugs are very necessary for genuine pain-such as pain experienced after a surgery, broken bones, dental work and more. When used as prescribed, for short periods of time these drugs make life manageable. In some very rare cases they may be appropriate for extended periods of time-especially when a person has a terminal disease. A very small percentage of people fall into this category. Thank God for these medications.
The majority of people who take these medications do not fall in this group. Here is where the problem starts. Rarely does anyone start out to become dependent on opiate pain meds. It happens slowly without being noticed. This is an insidious process. Usually, there comes a time when a person's physical pain is gone. With regular use of painkilling drugs, the central nervous system has come to expect the drug and the sedative affect it produces-as normal.

When a person stops using the drug, the body revolts. This is called withdrawal. It's normal. Much less extreme, but nonetheless similar, a heavy coffee drinker who suddenly quits drinking coffee altogether will experience headaches for a few days. This is because their central nervous system has become accustomed to regular jolts of caffeine throughout the day. Withdrawal from caffeine is usually short-lived and not too difficult. Stopping opiate pain meds is similar, but much, much more intense. The withdrawal symptoms are often very painful-so much so that the person will start to think that their pain is not really gone and they must get and take more pain meds.

A Vicious Cycle
Not only is the body expecting this drug, but a person who is taking pain medication is also building a tolerance to it. Their body is requiring more, sometimes lots more-to feel better. This is a vicious cycle that feeds on itself and only gets worse over time. The person taking theses drugs will also become much more sensitive to all pain-as the normal ability to handle mild pain with over-the-counter medications is now diminished.

I've recently watched this problem arise close to home, as a family member needed surgery. He had been regularly taking large amounts of pain meds for back pain. While in the hospital for knee-replacement surgery, he found that he required a much larger dosage of pain meds than a normal person would need. After he was given the maximum safe dosage-excruciating pain still persisted. One feels helpless in these situations.

To ensure that this doesn't happen, pain meds really should only be used when truly needed. Otherwise, when the time comes that a person genuinely needs them-these pain-relieving drugs may not work at all.

How large is this problem really? In 2007 there were a total of 3.7 billion prescriptions written in the United States. 182 million were for pain meds*! I have double-checked these numbers because I thought they couldn't be correct. Pain meds are second only to prescriptions written for lowering cholesterol (192 million prescriptions). Anti-depressant prescriptions came in third with 158 million.

If you subtract people aged 21 and under from these numbers-that leaves 230 million adults. According to these calculations, over 15 million people are taking opiate pain medications every day. This is 5% of the entire adult population.

Do all these people need opiate pain medication every day? The only way to know for sure is to quit, go through withdrawal and see how you feel after a few months-drug-free. More and more people are unwilling to go through this process. Today, addiction to opiate pain medications is one of the main reasons people are checking into rehab centers.

So how does one avoid becoming dependant on pain medications? And once a person has become dependant on them, how do they learn to safely quit?

Read more about this topic--chapter 27, Why Don't They JUST QUIT?

* IMS Health Services (2007 Research Statistics)

 Are You Going To Finish Strong?

Do you ever feel like you are just so far down that you will never be able to get up? Take a moment to watch this amazing man. You'll be glad you did.

Click Here.

Recovery Audio CD!
Listen in your car
or share with a friend or relative.
(See below for details)

Jail&Prison Treatment Options Booklet

Over the past few months I have taped over four radio interviews. Among these were several with a wonderful weekly show called "Recovery Now!"

Host Ned Wicker and I engaged in an easygoing discussion which covered a multitude of topics.

I truly enjoyed spending this time with Ned, his wife Debbie, and all his listeners. Ned later wrote to me:

"Thanks so much for visiting with us yesterday. Your passion, your heart and your vast knowledge came through so strongly. We know the listeners will be touched by your story.

We would very much like to have you on again in the future. There are so many topics and hot button issues for people. You are a strong guest and make the show so easy for us. I've done radio for over 30 years and have been through the drudgery of "yes and no" responses. The best radio happens when a conversation takes place. You made that happen."

Ned Wicker
Ned Wicker/Host: Recovery Now!
Addictions Chaplain
Waukesha Memorial Hospital Lawrence Center
Waukesha, WI

September 15, 2008:
Joe Herzanek introduces his discussion of "Why Don't They JUST QUIT?" a book (and DVD) he has written to explain all aspects of drug addiction and alcoholism. He has much experience dealing with drug addiction and alcoholism as he has spent the last 15 years working at the Boulder County Jail helping those struggling with addiction to overcome it.

September 22, 2008:
Joe Herzanek continues his discussion . . .

November 24, 2008:
Joe Herzanek discusses Step 6 of the Twelve Step program: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. A subtle but very key step in your recovery.

To get your FREE AUDIO CD
(Sept. 15 & 22 Recovery Now! shows, plus Joe's recent 60 minute interview with Berk Lewis "Next Step Radio")
Email us at jherzanek@gmail.com
Ask for the FREE AUDIO CD, include your name and mailing address.


Thank you for partnering with us in the battle to free those we care about from the bonds of addiction. We believe that your family and relationships can be fully restored and that you can play an important role in changing someone's life immediately.

Never give up hope!

Joe and Judy Herzanek signatures

-Joe & Judy Herzanek
Changing Lives Foundation

Changing Lives Foundation is committed to bringing you practical information that can be used right now, to help someone you care about break the bonds of addiction.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this email is for educational purposes only. The views expressed herein are those of the author only. Knowing that each person's situation is different it is very important that you meet with/consult a professional in this field before acting on any perceived advice given.

". . . one of those books, that when you start reading, you can't put it down. It helped me to understand what my son must be going through and pretty much what to expect. It is a book about real people."

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Next Generation Indie Book Awards

REQUEST "Why Don't They JUST QUIT?" (Book & DVD) FROM

 Click HERE to check if your local library carries "Why Don't They JUST QUIT?".

If not, it is simple to make a request.
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Many libraries accept suggestions by phone or e-mail.
Note: please request ISBN# 9781604020786

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Ask Joe.
Can a person be totally set free from alcohol or drug addiction?

Catherine V., Duluth, GA

First let's define the problem.
Alcohol or drug dependency shows up as a loss of control over the ability to use socially. It's a chronic relapsing disease that gets progressively worse over time if not arrested. It is fatal.

So if you're asking, "Is there a cure?" the answer is no. No one has ever been able to return to social use, regain control--who was truly an alcoholic or an addict. That does not mean there is no solution.

Anyone who wants to badly enough--can completely stop their use and begin the journey of recovery. It is not easy in the beginning--but it does get easier over time. If the "want to" is there, people can quit and enjoy a life without alcohol or other drugs. Most will need some support group to get the ball rolling.

They will always be an alcoholic or addict BUT their disease can be--and can stay in remission if they choose to keep I there.

Best regards,  

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"How Do You Become Chemically Dependent?"

What Role Does God Play in the Life of an Alcoholic?

Meth, "The Devil's Drug."

Why Don't They Just Quit?

What Special Challenges Might Women Face in Recovery?
The Anti Drug
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(do Meth addicts really recover?)



(Believe it or not, you do them all the time!)



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