VACPN Fall Conference “Numbing or Coping: Best Practices to Solve the Substance Abuse Crisis”

Don’t forget! Deadline for registration and room reservations is
October 2nd, 2018.

VACPN Fall Conference is coming up we have a great program planned! Joint us 11-1-18 for dinner Thursday night we have great speaker to talk about: The Narrative of Opioid and Alcohol Dependence Treatment, Speaker: Dr.
James Thompson, CEO and Medical Director of the Virginia Center for Addiction Medicine in Richmond, VA – Location TBD (Please note: No CNEs are earned from this event)

Then join us Friday 11-2-18 for q day of learning & discussion on:

Numbing or Coping:
Best Practices to Solve the Substance Abuse Crisis”

Starting us off at 9:00 – 10:15 AM: Keynote Speaker: Dr. S. Hughes Melton, DBHDS Commissioner

Please Note! This year our conference is open to Clinical staff, Doctors, nurses, Caseworkers, Social workers, peer support specialists that work in Addiction or Community Behavioral Health settings or practices…. it’s a good time to educate yourself on… Opioids!

#vacpn #communitypsychnurses #behavioralhealth #vacpnfallconference #opioid #opioidbestpractices #addiction #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawareness


Sometimes I think about everything you’ve done over the last year; that I know about!

I get soo angry at you!

Soo mad at you!

Over what & who you have become…

It hurts my soul; to see you in this light. It cuts inside my soul… like a burning, jagged piece of broken glass…

Because I know who you once were..I know what foundation lays under that layer of ADDICTION.

I know your heart….

This simply isn’t who you are….

It’s what you’ve allowed ADDICTION to do to you….

It’s what you have become!

I know the man…..

Under that veil of ADDICTION…..

I am just waiting..waiting for you; to break free from those chains….

Break free from that bondage that ADDICTION holds soo tightly over you.

I still carry HOPE & Love for you….

To remember….. Who you truly are!

I am still waiting…. For you to reclaim your spirit; the very fiber of who you are. ..

I am still waiting….. to see you!

ADDICTION….. has robbed me of you…

#rmdrakequotes #rmdrake #truth #goodstuff #feedsmysoul #recoveryisworthit #addiction #recovery #awareness #sfami #thestruggleisreal #supportingfamiliesofadultmentallyill #love #alanon #aa #na #addiction #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawareness #faith #hope

Heavily on my mind…

A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter picks up an AV-8B Harrier engine to transport it from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) to the fleet replenishment ship USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198) during a Helicopter Support Team mission as part of Combined Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).Photographer / Credit : Cpl. Jon Sosner

Woke up this morning and you were heavily on my mind. Sometimes I get a feeling of fear for you that settles over my heart.

Sometimes I get a fear for myself because I don’t know how I would handle if something actually happened to you.
I am scared of the pain & heartache that would consume me. Scared I would drown in it.
I know you are probably sick of me at this point; writing to you. I know I wish I didn’t feel soo compelled to reach you…
I wish sometimes, I could turn back time… Lock us away in that tent alone. I wish I could talk to you, have you open up back then. I wish…. I could have eased your pain.
You’re good you know at masking your hurt. I never once knew…. You just smiled so brightly; I could never see your pain.
Today is different… Different in that I can feel your pain at times, I see through you often; when you say… “I’m ok”… I see the sadness in your eyes, the heaviness that weighs down your heart. I hear how hard it is for you to breath… I see you… Even when you think I don’t.
I see you lost at times; fighting your way through. It seems like your in pure survival mode. I see you running…. running from yourself! I see you distracting yourself & trying so desperately to numb your pain.
When I was 13…. I wish someone had seen me…
I can’t fix your pain; I can’t take away your scars; I can’t undo all of lifes hurt!
I can love you!
I can try to understand, try to. Support you in healthy ways.
I see you…. I feel your presence even when you’re miles away…. I worry about you….
No amount of words, will resolve this. Only you can heal your wounds. I love you….

#addiction #recovery #awareness #mindfulness #stopthestigma #hurt #pain #love #lovehurts #sfami #supportingfamiliesofadultmentallyill #thestruggleisreal #nami #alanon #aa #na #addiction #addictionrecovery

Photo credits:

A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter picks up an AV-8B Harrier engine to transport it from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) to the fleet replenishment ship USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198) during a Helicopter Support Team mission as part of Combined Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).

Photographer / Credit : Cpl. Jon Sosner

My daughter Summer Grace is nothing short of resilient…

So my daughter Summer Grace is nothing short of amazing! She is one of the most strongest women I know. Last year was truly her best school year. She pushed herself to work through her headaches. This year, has been good but this week she has had two really bad headaches. She has challenged herself to be more involved in school activities and socialize with her peers. Tonight she stayed late after school and by the time we got home. She put her book bag down and suddenly ran to the bathroom. I heard a all too familiar sound of her vomiting. When I hear people talk of pain as adults… I want to remind them that as a child she has never been given pain medication. She had endured more than anyone I know as such a young age. She defines resilience and endurance at best! There is nothing more heartbreaking than as a mother to see your child in pain and not be able to comfort them. It’s agony at best. She is truly an amazing gift from God. I tell her all the time, I am expecting a lot… After everything she has been through surely God has big plans for her! I am blessed with two amazing daughters. But when Summer is sick… our world stops… #lovehersoomuch❤️

#thestruggleisreal #migraines #seizures #chronicheadaches #clusterheadaches #avmveinofgalen #intervellumcyst #arachnoidcyst #pinealglandcyst

Recovery Event. I wish you had been there!

Tonight I took 4 of the sober living house ladies to a recovery event in my hometown. I listened to the woman that took me to my first NA meeting for school talk tonight & give her story. Inspirational doesn’t capture her! Amazing to hear how she went from using to getting arrested to going to jail, to being mandated into Detox & 28 day treatment program. Back to jail but then…. once out. She connected with NA. Changed her life. I attended her 25th year sobriety NA meeting the most profound thing she said was… Hi 25 years, I am an addict! After 25 years of being sober from crack & cocaine she still sees herself as an addict. This same woman heads up a Crisis Intervention Team, she now and I quote her…. *25 years later I now train the officers that arrested me; on how to interact with mental illness & addiction clients* She is one of the most powerful & inspiring women I have ever meet. She advocates & empowers staff, clients & community members to do more, be more, see the need & acknowledge the fact & possibility that every single one of us could be where she once was!

Then this young guy got up. He is from was from a neighboring county; and told his story. He started using at age of 10. Ten years old! I can’t imagine….

Then…. He started stealing from his parents. He said. *I later learn I have OCD & Anxiety disorder, I grew up in a house where you strive to be perfect or nothing at all*….(I thought about you)… this young man talked how he was cocky and smug in that he had a 4.2 GPA & was getting high everyday he said, *I thought hey not only am I getting wasted but I am still better than most of my classmates* This young man talked about how he would steal from his moms purse at 2 am, to get high only to then; at 7 am help her look for the purse* He talked about the shame, guilt of his actions to this day.

He was nominated for a military scholarship and went into the military. He went into not sure; I think Navy…. He talked about how he continued to use during his service he stated, *I got in trouble still used (2) 1st class pettie officers dragged my ass back to base, i was told by the military you will go in for treatment… 3 months from now! Not today, next week… 3 months later* He said that was worst thing they could say to him… he checked his bank account & planned out how high he could get the next 3 months till; when he was to enter treatment & he did just that. He is still just a kid to me… 24 now I think. He entered treatment and he said *coming from the military… they don’t believe in treatment, problem? What problem … suck it up & deal* then he said growing up in good *well off*, and a very; all or nothing family of all over achievers again… problem? What problem?… He went into treatment mad at the world not wanting treatment not ready for treatment & mad as hell at anybody that talked of *god*… (I couldn’t help but think of you!the entire time he spoke I wanted to call you or grab you & have you there to hear him talk)…. I could see you in this man…..
He finally went to a NA meeting & there he really got involved and started working his recovery. He did find God, & said it has truly helped him overcome but that *if anyone mentioned God to him in the beginning he was ready for them, chew them up & down* He also pointed out, God alone wasn’t enough but he had to engage in treatment & medicine; this again stilled in him Addictionis a Disease. Not a choice! (I could almost hear you talking in parts of his story)…. He talked how AA did nothing for him. He got high while attending. But for whatever reason NA impacted him. (I thought about you & you saying how you would spike the coffee at AA, not ready for treatment not really wanting treatment but forced into treatment) I hear different clients say they prefer AA or NA or Celebrate Recovery…. I think it is just being ready to change & be held accountable by a peer group you feel accepted in. (My 2 cents)…. Finding what works for you!
He said he has started & failed & stop & restarted college 3 times. He said he feels he is behind. Behind in life compared to his peers or where he feels he should be. With his Anxiety & OCD & need for perfection he struggles… (I think you can identify with him on this)… (I see you do this… give up before you start… because you feel the need to be perfect or meet everyone’s expectations! I see you struggle with this!)
I wish you had been there. I think you need to hear this!
I know I said I wasn’t going to write. But I just couldn’t help but think about you & wish you had been there! The ladies I took… some were not in a good place mentally before the meeting. Struggling with being in treatment, staying sober, some had been in the program for a month or longer, some just a few days or week. They all thanked me for taking them. Hearing those stories, hearing that everyone from every background in any family, community, home struggles with addiction… Hearing that it wasn’t too late to change their lives! Hearing the speakers talk about the things they did, the people they were as addicts… & hearing them say… *I wasn’t proud, I am still not proud of what I did then* but that… they don’t regret their life. It brought them through, to where they needed to be. To finally want to get help. That moment that they said… *enough… I have had enough, I don’t want to steal, sell myself, barter, beg, to get high anymore… I don’t want to lose anything else* that it took them getting down to that point, realizing that being high made them *feel good, in the moment* but reality came crashing down hard! Then they realized…. *I was self medicating, I didn’t feel good about myself, I was trying to numb the pain* one of the most powerful statements was… *I never grew up dreaming of becoming an addict*…
What each found was that in recovery, working recovery. Telling their story made them strong, made them learn to love themselves again. Giving back helped keep them accountable. The young man stated *I am now a junior at College, everyday I walk in & I want to quit! I want to throw in the towel. It’s too hard, I am too far behind, it’s no use*… But that he has to remind himself… *you have already dropped out 3 times… enough… you are going to finish this!* He has had to learn that not everything has to be perfect. That he struggles with this daily several times a day with this; his mind & thoughts of having to be perfect! He has had to learn about his anxiety disorder & OCD that he had to become ok with taking medication coming from a military background where that doesn’t exist. He said he has to remind himself this is a disease! When he came from the thought that addiction was a choice. He stated… *At age 10 I chose to do drugs, then it was no longer a choice…. I had to do drugs*….
The ladies I took to the event, they were inspired. They entered the event with their heads down, feeling less than… They left heads held high, walked taller, they felt hopeful! Like life was not over, they can overcome this.
On the ride home…. one girl got a call from a friend still using. I listened to her tell him, she had enough, she been trying to get clean for a year now. She finally kicked everyone out her home. She told him she entered treatment program & sober living. She told him as he was debating with her why she needed to go into sober living. She stated. *I can’t get clean at home with everyone dropping by wanting to use, I have to stop trying to help others, because they all just want me to use* I commented to her.. *They dont want you to get clean, because they are still using, nobody wants to get high alone or be the only one partying… people want others doing bad with them to feel validated in their choices*
I listened to her tell her friend that she was getting clean for herself this time & then telling him about the speakers & how she was going to change her life do things differently this time. Two of the ladies, had a friend overdose this week. That friend died. To hear them go through the cycle of emotions, guilt, anger, sadness, grief; self blame……
That girl told the guy as we pulled in. *I am changing who I hang around, I am going to recovery events, AA, NA, Treatment hanging around people in recovery working recovery, trying to stay sober.* Then I smiled as she told him he needs to get sober & into recovery before something bad happens that he was one step away from using too much or getting into trouble! (I again thought about you! How I couldn’t wait to get home and write to you telling you why you should have been there!!!)

I really hope you reach your bottom before it’s too late! I pray for the day you come find me to say… you’re sober! You’ve changed your life! I want this for you more than anything… Because I love you!
I know your worth, your value! I see you & I know there is nothing you cannot overcome! You amaze me at how smart & resilient you are!
I just really wish you had been there! I really want to just take you to a meeting. Sit with you & remind you when I see you start to get antsy… You got this! You can do this… I believe in you!!!
Because…. I do! Soo believe in you. I don’t care what you have done… I know with faith & determination God has plans for you soo much larger than you, yourself know!
I believe that!
You are always… & Forever in my heart!

#recovery #recoveryawareness #sfami #aa #na #addiction #addictionrecovery #mentalhealthawareness #faith #hope #mentalhealth #mindfulness #momentsintime #mirrorimages #insidemymind #inspiring #motivating #stopthestigma #breakthestigmaofaddiction #healthycopingskills #healthyboundaries #healing


Soo… yeah!

It happened.

Today I entered 45!

When you grow up, you have this picture of how your life will be. What it should look like, where you should be; by certain milestones.

Soo…. yeah; my life didn’t exactly look like this!

In my mind at, 13…

Or 16….

Or 21…..

Or 25….

Or 30…..

Not even…. 35…..

Or… 40…

Now here.. I find myself at 45!

Still not how I thought life would really be…

I guess that is why we each have our own journey ….

Maybe attempting to reach milestones or goals we tentatively set for ourselves; is simply the fuel that keeps us going; walking, running, climbing through life.

Just maybe, each unreached milestone or goal is our opportunity to redefine what we value in life.

Who truly knows….?


Faith…. it’s a powerful thing.

It’s even harder to practice!

Eh…. 45 huh?

Bring it!

I got nothing but…. Time!

#embraceyourself #findthehumor #enjoythelittlethings #birthdays #happybirthday #reflection #feedsmysoul #momentsintime #lifegoals #lifemoments #jenzphelps #jenz

I hate most… That I love you.

I hate that you hold your tongue. It’s almost cruel. I hate that you took a perfect memory & shredded it to pieces…. I hate that I see your every flaw & only loved you more! I hate that you see my flaw & tore me down; without saying one word!

I hate that I thought we were truly best friends…. that of anyone I could trust in you! Believe in you! I was safe…. in loving you…. I hate most …. that you…. never felt you could talk to me or be honest with me…. as much as I hate all of that…. I also… love you… I hate myself for that!

I hate everything about your addiction

I hate how you are living your life!

I am so mad with you!

You are so selfish. You don’t see others hurting, torn, worrying, loving you.

You only see you!

Your wants…

Your needs…

Your desires..

Your next fix!

Your next high!

I love you but I hate you!

I hate what you are doing!

I am soo mad!

I am so hurt!

Damage has been done.

Damage you can’t undo.

Trust has been demolished!

You will never get that back!

I hate what you have become….

A shell of yourself.

Empty & hollow inside…

With your superficial armour

Standing on the outside!

You are fooling no-one!

Addiction…. your new bride!

The only love you seem to know…

How’s that working out for you?!!

Right now… in this moment,

This place where love once overflowed…

Burns a new fire….

Of anger & disappointment!

I hate what you have become!!!

I hate what you have done to the love I once held for you….

I hate that you don’t love yourself!

I hate that you dont want help!

I hate that you wont let go of your pain!

I hate that you wont make healthy choices…

I hate that you lie to me!

I hate that I let this happen…

That I allowed myself to care. .

To get sucked in!

I am tired of hurting!!!

There was a time…

A time when you

Once brought me

Love & joy!

I hate that you destroyed that!

#addiction #recovery #awareness #mindfulness #stopthestigma #selfcare #healthycopingskills #holistichealth #jenzphelps #jenz #sfami #thestruggleisreal #supportingfamiliesofadultmentallyill #love #alanon

Trusting my instincts

Whenever I go with my gut…

I know…

I can see the signs, I see through you.

I know you better than you even have a clue…

I am no longer going to be distracted by your smile. Fooled by your eyes….

I am going to call you on what you show me.

I am going to take you at face value.

I am going to start trusting my instincts!

I will always love you;


You will not break me….

I am taking back myself!

#addiction #recovery #awareness #mindfulness #stopthestigma #selfcare #healthycopingskills #holistichealth #jenzphelps #jenz #healthyboundaries #alanon #alanonfamilysupportgroup #sfami #instincts #embraceyourself #findingmypeace #lettinggo #givingittogod

Love…. is a Funny thing.

People live their entire lives not knowing what love is, not knowing what it feels to truly love someone. I can say, I know what that is, an excitement, adrenalin rush, anxiety, worry over someone more than yourself, A pounding deep inside your heart, a warmth that heats slowly but burns forever in your soul, it’s the smile that settles across your face when something reminds you of them, Its hearing or smelling the rain and feeling their presence; because they will always be a piece of you…its hearing your voice, or talking to you, the comfort & love that fills all the spaces in between you…. it’s the very thing, the very thread that makes you one! It’s feeling God drawing you closer than before with each step in bringing you to him or him to you…. Simply put… It’s FAITH, in something soo much larger than the both of you. It’s not giving up…

#love #feelslikehome #feelslikemagic #soothesmysoul #itsthelittlethings #innerpeace #godspromise #faith #hope #jenzphelps #jenz #mirrorimages #phototherapy #reflection #feedsmysoul

Got to attend an awesome Recovery event tonight, hosted by Roads to Recovery. Listening to many stories of overcoming addiction & the journeys each individual took to get there. Impressive display of how, pain, trauma & addiction can pave the road for something beautiful in the finding of sobriety! If you ever get a chance check out this book & look out for the movie Beautiful Boy. NIC SHEFF spoke tonight, he has a moving story. His journey is soo similar to many of my clients! What he has done with his life in recovery is inspiring! #beautifulboymovie #nicsheff #nicshefftweak #roadstorecovery #addiction #recovery #awareness #mindfulness #stopthestigma #tweak #tweakgrowinguponmethamphetamines

The burden of judgment only falls on you…

I have run into soo many people that I grew up with or went to school with.. I see them hurting, numbing themselves from pain, trauma, guilt & shame of things done to them or things they have done to themselves. Each person hangs their head low. The guilt, judgment, doubt in themselves is heavy. Each say… *I feel judged * or *everyone in that town is a hypocrite * or *everyone wants something to talk about, might as well be me* ect….

Thing is… We have all felt that way at some point or another. There isn’t one person free from sin, or mistakes, or trauma, or addiction, or just bad judgment… Not one of us!

So you can’t really blame the hypocrite, anymore than you can blame, the saint, the thing , or the one that harmed you, or yourself. You can’t blame the addict, or blame sinner just because they sin differently than you…

No more than one can blame the community or town or city or family or Christian for one’s own burden of guilt, shame, self doubt.

No one town, not Appomattox, or Campbell County, or Amherst, or Bedford or City of Lynchburg has or possess the ability to judge you or anyone.

Neither can smaller towns, Gladestone, Bent Creek, Timberlake, Rivermont, Prospect, Aspen…. ect…. you get the idea!

Neither can your family, children, friends, or church!

There is only one person outside of God who can judge you…. That is you!

You layer on the burden of guilt, shame, judgment, despair. You take off the armor of hope, love, forgiveness, & redemption.

You weigh yourself, your soul, your spirit down with these things, to avoid dealing with the anger, rage, hurt, emotions from your trauma, mistakes, sins, addictions.

It is easier to be distracted by pointing fingers, giving stares, passing whispers… it is easier to try and judge, feel lofty, feel superior, feel…. what exactly?!

The higher you climb up on that pedestal… the further you have to fall.

It is better to live in humility, grace, & empathy. You will find you don’t fall victim to judgement, guilt, shame or self doubt.

There is no time, you see!

You are too busy, living, working along side your fellow man. You are too busy lifting up everyone around you, it gives you the leverage you need. Not to tower over those around you; but rather the leverage to balance you, holding you tight inside God’s love.

There’s a reason we go through these journeys. They’re lessons hidden waiting to be learned. These very trails & tribulations just so happen to be; the very ground work in building your stepping stones. The very stones you will use to get you to the path God has chosen just for you!

Never regret your choices in life…. none of them…. It was those choices that allow you to relate, identify, love & lift up each other!

Next time you feel the burden of judgment. Remember, it was You alone; that placed it there. Remember, sinner is only a word that reminds us; we ALL fall short in Gods eyes. Christian, is not a perfect human; it’s a term, a word: it describes a human, seeking Gods love, trying, striving to be a better human than the day before. Hypocrisy, well that lives inside us all… We are simply; humans striving to do better than the day before.

#forgiveness #love #emotionalism #embraceyourself #mindfulness #meditation #mirrorimages #phototherapy #awareness #jenzphelps #jenz #recovery #changemakesyougrow #beproudofyourjourney #godslove #godspromise #faith #hope #mentalhealthawareness #addiction #ittakesavillage #compassion #humility #grace #freeyourselffromburden #smalltowns #community #selflove #empathy

Missing you

I know in my head… pulling away was the right thing to do.


Tonight, I am missing you something bad!!!

You have become such an important part of my day… The one I vent to, confide in, turn to….

I hate that everything is so controlled…. I hate not having the time owed us…

Not having all words spoken, all thoughts spoken…

I hate how this ended…

I hate the current circumstances!

Road blocks, barriers in our way….

I hate it all to be honest!

False loves, addictions, those holding on too tight…

Most of all….

I hate how I feel, without you!

I hate feeling…. in complete…