“I love Rise Recovery. What you’ve done for my son, for his friends, for his mom and me. It’s nothing sort of a miracle. There is something very special going on with Rise, and it feels like God’s blessing. It’s beautiful. So, thank you. Thank you for all your hard work, for your heart, for your program director and the rest of your crew. I’m so grateful.”
As we all come to grips with the tragedy in Las Vegas, I would like to offer some advice on speaking with your children on the sensitive subject of violence in our society.
- Avoid repeatedly exposing your family to the events via social media, television and adult conversations. This can be re-traumatizing, especially for small children who are prone to believing that seeing it again on TV means it’s happening again in real life.
- It’s not necessary or helpful to force discussions around the event. Children are naturally inquisitive and intuitive. When they are ready for information, they will come to you or to another trusted adult. It is helpful to simply say, “I’m here if you want to talk about this.”
- Causal questions about the shooting are natural. If your children have questions about how and why this happened, answer only the questions they are asking and take caution that your answers are age appropriate. For example, “He was clearly a very disturbed person and disturbed people sometimes make terrible choices.”
- Take caution not to use words like “sick” or “angry” when talking about the gunman. Children are literal thinkers. It can be anxiety provoking if children are lead to believe that every day experiences like sick, angry or sad lead to this sort of tragedy.
- It is normal for children, especially younger children, to ask the same questions over and over. Keep your responses consistent and be patient with their curiosities.
- Increased separation anxiety and fears are natural responses to mass shootings. Be patient and gentle with yourself and your children. Reassure them of their safety and yours. Keep them focused on the present moment. For example, “We’re all home tonight and we’re all together.”
- Make an effort to focus your children’s attention, and your own, on the unity and support that comes in the aftermath of the tragedy. Stories of survival and heroism can provide comfort and relief.
- If your children ask how they can help, engage them in something concrete. Prayer is an excellent suggestion but children need something tangible such as donations, letters writing and/or drawings.
- Normalize and affirm their feelings around this event. For example, “It’s normal to feel this way after something like this happens. I feel it too.”
- Finally, take good care of yourself. Children are highly in tune with their parents and caregivers. They will be comforted by seeing that you’re in a good, healthy and peaceful place.
For questions or support contact Michelli Ramon, Rise Recovery Program Director, at 210-316-4057.
Drug rehabilitation experts in Bexar County are applauding the county’s new cite and release program, saying it could help people and save taxpayers money in the long run.
5 Reasons Why I Love My Life Sober
by Natalie Mosqueda
When I get sober at 16, I thought my life was over. I thought I would be doomed to a life of bad coffee and old people, there would be no more friends and no more fun. I was taught the complete opposite. My life was just beginning.
Here’s is a few things I’ve learned on my journey…
The friends I make in sobriety become the strongest relationships I’ve ever had
The friends and relationships I have today are built on trust, respect, and mutual understandings. I can be open and honest about myself and what I am feeling and I am only greeted with love. My old relationships were based off who had what substance, today my friends don’t care about what I have or have not done or what I do and do not have. Being sober has shown me what true friendship and compassion looks like.
I remember what happened the night before
A common phrase of the black-out drunk variety is “What did I even do last night?!” Today, I get to wake up every morning with no fear or shame of what could have possibly happened the night before. I get to be proud of the decisions I have made and be able to own up to my mistakes. Sobriety gives me a sense of comfort and ease in my life.
I have tools to handle stress in my life
Just because I got sober doesn’t mean my life is now peaches and cream. Life still happens, but today I have the tools, skills, and my recovery community to carry me through tough times. Sobriety has taught me that I am strong enough to get through the bad days.
I save money
I never knew how much of my (parent’s) money was truly spending until I get sober. Today, I get to save money for my future, buy what I want, and have my parents trust me with money again. Being sober allows people to trust me again.
I get to do what I love
Today, I have the best job possible. I get to help others and have fun doing it. My using and drinking would have never allowed me to accomplish my goals. Sobriety has taught me to find my dreams and follow them.
There are many more reasons why I love being sober, these are just a few. For me, sobriety is totally worth it.
A Poem by Natalie Hope Mosqueda
Age 1 – The world is my oyster and I am here to eat it.
3 – I want to be a pumpkin cleaner, but only the insides, because the outsides are gross.
6 – I have all the art I made that year and I am so proud. I am an artist. But it is raining and mommy doesn’t come to pick me up. By the time I make it home to find her passed out on the couch, my art is ruined. And I am nothing.
7 – The car broke down before we even made it out of Oregon. Even the car knows leaving is a bad idea.
8 – The teachers tell me I am special. But, the other kids tell me it’s not the special I think it means. I twirl my ABC’s in a plate of sugar. It is so sweet. Yet, I am in the 3rd grade and still get lost by the time I make it to the letter E.
10 – I feel sad. And not the kind of sad where your best friend doesn’t text you back. I am the kind of sad where getting out of bed feels like you are jumping out of plane knowing you do not have your parachute.
12 – I get a suitcase. This suitcase is not for happy family vacations. This suitcase is to lug my life from one side of the planet to another. But in reality, we are going five minutes down the road. I love you mom, I will see you next week.
13 – The drugs are not working, the alcohols not working, nothing is working. I will see you next time you come to visit me in these sterile white walls.
15 – They say a closet drinker is someone who drinks alone, but I am literally drinking in a closet.
16 – I am greeted by an empty room. Where is my bed? Where are my clothes? Where is my life going? The bathtub fills with blood. And instead of seeing the face of God, I see the back seat of a cop car.
16 – I have a breakdown in front of the school. I will see you next time you come to visit me in these sterile white walls.
16 – I begin to pick up pieces of my life from the rubble and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
16 – I want to be a pumpkin cleaner. But only the insides, because the outsides can be primped and pressed and the inside is where the real work happens.
My story doesn’t end at 16. At 16 I was broken, alone, and afraid. And my parents were also broken, alone, and afraid. I was shipped off to rehab for 4 months, and when I came home it became a game of what will Natalie do next. I was going to 12-step meetings with people double my age, and couldn’t relate. Everyone was getting married, and I was just trying to finish high school. A girl told me about Rise Recovery, so I went and checked it out. The first thing I noticed was kids my age full of hope, full of love, and full of recovery. I took this program and ran with it. I quickly became a volunteer, a college student, and a productive member of society. Thanks to Rise Recovery, I am 21 years old and celebrating 5 years of sobriety.
By Evita Morin
Rise Recovery joined Mayor Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Wolff at the first meeting of Bexar County/San Antonio’s Opioid Task Force. The task force brings together public health experts, medical and pharmaceutical professionals, first responders, policymakers, educators and social service agencies. Texas is currently in the top 5 states for the total number of opioid related deaths. Texas has the 2nd highest opioid abuse related health care costs totally over $1.9 billion. Opioid-related overdose deaths in Bexar County exceed the national average. Texas heroin use is 2 to 4 times the national rate in teens. Texas has seen a 60% increase over 5 years of newborns dependent on opioids experiencing withdrawal symptoms. 1/3 of Texas newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal are in Bexar County. As a member of the task force, Rise Recovery is committed to helping develop strategic actions that address the national rise in opioid overdose and newborns dependent on opioids locally.