Our Family’s Fight Against HEROIN

Our Family’s Fight Against HEROIN

A year ago this coming June, I lost my beautiful niece to a heroin overdose. Alyssa was just 17 years old. She was beautiful, sassy, and full of dreams. Alyssa’s struggle was complex and heartbreaking. Just as she was learning that she could break free from this addiction, enjoy her life without artificial stimulation, and had begun making better and different decisions; she was offered heroin through a text message. Prior to receiving this text, she was excited about getting her driver’s license, the end of the school year, and looking forward to the summer. The offer of heroin proved to be too much for her, and changed our family forever.

When you lose someone so suddenly, in such a horrific way you begin to ask questions…What if she never received that text offering her heroin? What if after receiving the text, she got help to overcome the temptation? What if someone had heard her and stopped her? The questions go on and on. The sad truth is that these questions do not bring comfort, and will not bring Alyssa back to us. The overwhelming and sad truth that our family lives with is that Alyssa’s life was cut short. Every day we miss seeing her beautiful face. We miss her voice and her laughter. We miss her sassy ways and seeing her fulfill her dreams. We grieve all the things we will never have with her.

So, what do we do now? Do we sit around asking the “What if” questions? No, we find strength in our faith in God to fight this battle for others, for you! We share our story in hopes that another family will be saved from this nightmare. That a child, a sibling, a friend will be stopped before it is too late. We share our heartbreak so others might be spared this incredible loss. We honor Alyssa’s life by trying to help others.

If you know someone who is battling this addiction, take action before it is too late. If you are battling this addiction, get help now before it is too late. Heroin is not your friend. It is not your way of escape. It is not harmless. Heroin destroys. It controls you. It takes your life.

Please learn from Alyssa’s tragic story, get help today to overcome this addiction. You Can Do It!

http://www.substanceabusecounselingfrederick.com/

 

*Written by: Linda King*

 

 

Graduation, Senior Week, and More!

Graduation, Senior Week, and More!

 

This is an exciting time for high school seniors. Not only has graduation happened and high school is behind you, but you are probably making plans or already at the beach for senior week. During this time, here are 3 key tips to think about (although these specifically apply to senior week, these tips can be helpful for life in general).

  1. Have fun, but don’t let your week or future be ruined by bad decision making. Remember some decisions have long lasting consequences. Make decisions that will not leave you with regret.
  2. Stay safe and never go off alone. Always have a support system with you.
  3. You can have fun without having sex, drinking or doing drugs. If you feel pressured to do these things, remember you don’t have to! Set your boundaries and stay true to them, ask your friends to help keep you accountable to these boundaries when you are tempted to discard them. And help your friends do the same.

Have fun, enjoy your senior week, and stay safe physically, emotionally, and spiritually!

Here is a great link to a page that offers tons of free and fun things to do while on senior week:  http://playitsafeoceancity.com/

“It’s Just Sex, Right?”

“It’s Just Sex, Right?”

The physical risks of sexual activity ARE REAL. But they’re not the entire story!

Besides STDs/STIs and pregnancy, there’s something else to consider. Sex is a powerful, intimate act, and can lead to emotional difficulties.

If you hold off on sex for now, here are a few things you won’t be missing out on:

REGRET – Giving up your virginity is not something to rush into. This decision can leave you with feelings of regret and wishing that you had waited.

ANGER – Every year in 15 to 24 year olds, 1 out of 5 may get an STD/STI, which can lead to anger toward their partner.

EMOTIONAL DISCOMFORT – Those with an STD/STI are less likely to feel good about themselves after sex and less comfortable during sex.

GUILT – After sex, you might feel like you let yourself down and others that believe in you. You could also feel guilty if you hurt your partner.

What does WAITING feel like?

Waiting for sex is a decision that’s packed with positive benefits. Even if you’ve already had sex, it’s not too late to decide to wait to have sex again. Waiting gives you the chance to feel:

FREE – Your future is ahead of you without the worries of STDs/STIs, pregnancy, or emotional entanglements.

INDEPENDENT – The strongest people are leaders, not followers. So what if it seems like everyone else is having sex. Show your leadership by making independent decisions!

RESPECT – You earn respect by standing out, not blending in.

HEALTHY – Being healthy and feeling healthy can positively affect your entire outlook on life.

Care Net Frederick offers FREE and CONFIDENTIAL services. If you are second guessing your decision about being sexually active and want to talk to someone about it; or if you are concerned that you might be pregnant or have a STD/STI, please call today to set up your free appointment at 301-662-5300 or email us via our website contact page.

Excerpts from The Medical Institute (2007). “IT’S JUST SEX, RIGHT? THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF EARLY SEXUAL ACTIVITY, Austin, TX.

To see The Medical Institute references, view or purchase this pamphlet, please visit www.medinstitute.org.

Think you can’t get HIV/AIDS? Are you positive?

Think you can’t get HIV/AIDS? Are you positive?

Who:  Every year, nearly 4 million American teenagers get a new STD (sexually transmitted disease). If you’ve had sex, you could have an STD. Some STDs cause symptoms. Others don’t. You could have one and not even know it. Some STDs make you sick today and others cause problems later in life. So get your facts straight about HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

What:  HIV is a virus that invades the immune system and destroys it over time; this reduces a person’s ability to fight off infections and cancer. People with HIV eventually develop AIDS, which is often eventually fatal.

When:  You can get HIV from contact with infected blood or body fluids during vaginal or oral sex. The risk is greatly increased if you have anal sex, multiple partners or shoot drugs. Infected pregnant women can pass it on their babies.

Why get checked?  At first, you may just have short-lived flu-like symptoms (tiredness, fever, aches). You may have no other symptoms for years. Even with no symptoms, you can still pass on the disease during sex. Most people with HIV can prolong their lives by carefully taking medication every day for the rest of their life. If you go on to get AIDS, you may get multiple infections that other people fight off easily.

How to avoid getting infected?  Don’t’ shoot drugs. Using condoms exactly as directed every time you have sex can reduce your risk of getting HIV by about 85%. Looking for a better percentage? Here’s the scoop…if you are single, abstain from all sexual activity. If you are married, be faithful. If you haven’t had sex (oral, vaginal or anal) and don’t shoot drugs, your chances of getting HIV and AIDS are small. If you have had sex, do yourself a favor and get checked out!status

Here at Care Net Frederick we offer FREE and confidential STD/STI testing!

Call today to set up your free appointment at 301-662-5300 or email us via our website contact page.

 

Adapted from The Medical Institute © (2012) ISBN 1-933902-33-7

To see The Medical Institute references, view or purchase this pamphlet, please visit www.medinstitute.org.

Relationship 101 Part 2 – Love Shouldn’t Hurt

Relationship 101 Part 2 – Love Shouldn’t Hurt

If you were to define your relationship how would you define it? Is it wonderful, romantic, fun, or fulfilling? Or is it stressful, painful, or intense? Do you desire things to be different? Do you think that if you just looked better, acted differently or did things better your relationship would be better? Have you taken the time to evaluate your relationship?

The questions above are worth taking the time to consider!

Are there any red flags or is there a knot growing in the pit of your stomach? If you are still unsure, use this checklist to confirm if your relationship is unhealthy and/or abusive.

  • I had more friends and my grades were better before I began dating my partner.
  • I am careful to control or hide any actions so my partner doesn’t get angry.
  • Before we started dating, I was more outgoing and involved with my family, sports, hobbies, and/or religious activities.
  • When I am alone, I get a lot of texts and calls from my partner checking up on me and my whereabouts. If I don’t respond, my partner gets angry.
  • My boyfriend/girlfriend said “I love you” very early in the relationship.
  • My partner is aggressive in other areas of life: throws or breaks things when angry, bangs fist for expression, and/or smashes walls or windshields.
  • I feel wrong, stupid, crazy, or inadequate. I apologize a lot. I’m never good enough.
  • I have been pushed against a wall, kicked, pulled, or hit.
  • My boyfriend/girlfriend has threatened to kill or hurt himself/herself if I break up with him/her.
  • I have bruises and I feel nervous about explaining them.
  • My partner has a bad home life: sexual abuse or physical abuse, abandonment, neglect, verbal put downs, and/or parents who abuse substances.
  • My partner drinks or uses drugs.
  • Since we started dating, I have a lot of secrets I don’t share with friends or family.
  • My face or chest has been grabbed by my partner.
  • I receive a lot of advice from my partner about my friends, hairstyle, or clothes.
  • I have been pressured to have sexual activity with my partner.
  • I have been touched sexually without my permission.
  • My partner calls me unkind names and/or criticizes me in front of others.

 

If you said yes to any of these you may be caught in a “Un-Love Triangle” which is abusive.

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Unhealthy/Abusive relationships DO NOT get better over time.

Sexual Activity DOES NOT make abuse go away.

Getting Married DOES NOT make abuse go away.

You CAN’T FIX the other person; however, you are 100% responsible for YOUR actions, feelings, and thoughts.

If you think you are in an unhealthy relationship talk to someone, your parents, a friend, a teacher or pastor. Don’t wait, do it quickly. Unhealthy relationships are becoming more of a problem in our society with girls as well as guys. Please keep yourself safe and have a great school year.

 

 

(Adapted from “Is It Love” liveonpoint.org, 2009)

 

Relationship 101 Part 1

Relationship 101 Part 1

It’s that time of year again; time to start the new school year. You may or may not have all your school supplies; started fall sports or band practice; or are getting settled at college. All of these require important preparations, but let’s take a moment to consider an equally important preparation that is sometimes overlooked – RELATIONSHIPS!
Let’s begin by looking at some characteristics of healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships.

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A healthy relationship:
 Mutual Respect
 Appreciates one for “who” we are as individuals
 Listens and adapts when one is uncomfortable
 Doesn’t challenge boundaries
 Trust
 Doesn’t get angry when partner talks to other people
 May feel jealous at times, but talks about those feelings
Honesty
 Always truthful and doesn’t tell “little white lies” to cover things up
Support
 Supports one another during both good and bad times
Fairness/Equality
 Equal give and take in the everyday decisions
 Spends time equally with one another’s friends and family
Separate Identities
 Has own lives- friends, family, hobbies, sports, etc.
Good Communication
 Speaks honestly and openly to avoid misunderstanding
 Gives space and time to think things over before talking things through
 Patience
 Relationship grows over time in stages: positive self-image, attraction, casual friendship, close friendship, intimate friendship, and mature love

 

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An unhealthy relationship:
Jealousy and Fear
 Becomes mistrusting and suspicious
 Possessive and Controlling Behavior
 Keeping secrets and hiding actions
Verbal Criticisms
 You may feel toxic shame, guilt, and a loss of esteem and competence
Social Isolation
 You may have fewer friends and spend all your time with your partner
Violent Behavior
 You may become depressed, hopeless, and have bruises or injuries
 You may have thoughts of suicide or fear for your life
Drugs and Alcohol
 You may begin using substances as your coping skills breakdown
Broken Promises
 You may always apologize or hear “it will never happen again”
Sexual Abuse
 You may experience unwanted touching and/or kissing
 Your partner may force sex by using threats or accusations
(Adapted from “Is It Love” liveonpoint.org, 2009)

In a healthy relationship, your partner wants you to be the best you can be and will encourage and support you. In an unhealthy relationship, it’s all about them and what you do or don’t do for them. Being in a healthy relationship is very important, and a decision you don’t want to rush. You may be tempted to think that you need to be in a relationship because that’s what you are supposed to do. You be the judge of when you’re ready.
As you can see from the list above, sometimes an unhealthy relationship can turn into an abusive relationship. If you find yourself identifying with the examples of an unhealthy relationship, talk to your parents or other adults in your life who have your best interests in mind. Share your thoughts/concerns with them. Get help right away to remove yourself from an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
Lastly, define your dreams and goals and how you are going to achieve them. Don’t let a relationship keep you from your dreams. If anything a boyfriend/girlfriend should encourage and help you achieve those dreams.
If you have concerns or just want to talk to someone about your relationship, contact us by email or call us at (301) 662-5300.

What You Need To Know about Syphilis…

couple-holding-hands

Here’s the Who, What, When, Why and How low down on this STI

Who:  Every year, nearly 9 million people under the age of 25 get a new STI (sexually transmitted infection). One of these infections is syphilis. If you’ve had sex, you could have an STI. Some STIs cause symptoms. Some don’t. You could have one and not even know it. Some STIs make you sick today and others cause problems later in life.

What:  Syphilis is a bacterial STI. You can get it from having sex with an infected person. Syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. However, they will not repair any damage already done. Delayed treatment can result in serious problems. Both you and your partner must be treated.

When:  You are at risk of getting syphilis when you have sex with an infected person. You usually get it through contact with sores or infected patches. These can be on the genitals or sometimes even on the mouth. Babies can get it from their mothers during pregnancy. Most infected people don’t notice any symptoms, but they can still pass on syphilis. Syphilis can also be passed during oral and anal sex.

Why get checked?  Syphilis symptoms are often similar to those of other diseases. At first, you may get a painless sore for a few weeks. If you don’t get treatment, your syphilis will get worse. Next, you may feel like you have the flu. At this point, you may notice a rash. If you still don’t get treated, syphilis can cause blindness, brain damage, heart damage and death. Syphilis also increases your chance of getting HIV. If you always use condoms for vaginal sex, you can cut your chance of getting syphilis by about half. So far, there is no evidence that condoms reduce your chance of getting syphilis during oral or anal sex.

How to avoid getting infected?  Avoid all sexual activity if you are single.  Be faithful to one uninfected partner for the rest of your life. If you have had sex, do yourself a favor and get checked out!

Here at Care Net Frederick we offer FREE and confidential STD/STI testing!

Call today to set up your free appointment at 301-662-5300 or email us via our website contact page.

 

The Medical Institute (2012). Syphilis, get your facts straight [Pamphlet]. (N.P.) Austin, TX.

To see The Medical Institute references, view or purchase this pamphlet, please visit www.medinstitute.org.

What are you fighting for?

fight for her

 

So, just like most guys, I like war movies. Just the other day I was watching “Band of Brothers,” and there is no question it is inspiring. To see the story of real men who risked their lives and faced their foes with courage and valor makes you second guess your own bravery. They were real men.

But, why do I feel that way? Why does there seem to be this deep longing in us men to fight for something or even someone, right? I mean, isn’t that the typical “man” movie? The hero fights off the bad guys and saves the girl. I find myself often wishing I was in their position. I say, “I could do that,” and “I wish I had something to fight for,” or “I can be that hero, but I never get the chance!” I mean, if I had those opportunities I would do everything with courage, and I would never give up. I’d never be lazy, and I would always try hard. Isn’t that right? But, those movies are Hollywood, and real life is boring, monotonous, and there’s definitely no room to be a hero, or is there?

The truth is we were created with a purpose. That desire to live like a hero is in us for a reason. Even more than that, there is an enemy, and there are opportunities to fight for something every day. Hollywood is the real boring story, because it’s fake. It’s a staged script that has only a fraction of the honor and fulfillment that can come from living with purpose. But, we have to figure out what we are fighting for.

One of the most important areas that men need to fight the hardest for is in relationships. So, in your relationship, are you being the hero, are you fighting for it, or are you apathetic? Do you see your relationship with your wife or girlfriend as something worth fighting for? If we don’t, then those relationships will never reach their potential.  Essentially, we will end up fighting against our partner instead of fighting together against the things that are really trying to pull us apart.

We’ve got to man up! We’ve got to realize that every day is a battle; every day is a chance to give everything we have and never look back. It’s not enough just to go through the motions. It’s not enough just to enlist in the army. We have to make the choice to fight. We have to get up, jump out of the foxhole, and run towards the enemy, facing towards the danger, heart completely in it. If we give up, it’s over.  

Even if you aren’t in a dating relationship, start fighting for her now! Begin to set up boundaries and habits in your life that will help you to be the best husband you can be. If you aren’t committed now, it will be a lot harder to just suddenly start later. The habits you form now will be the habits you bring into your marriage. Fight for her; don’t just take the easy path. The fight you have to go through before and during a relationship is what gives the relationship its value.

What are you fighting for?

You can do it! You have what it takes!

 

Make a Plan. Make a Change.

make a plan

Planning! Some people love to plan, and I am one of those people. I love to plan, to think about things before hand and leave out all the guesswork and stress that often accompanies me when I’m unprepared. And while most of us know about planning trips, planning weddings and parties, and the other day to day activities we encounter, do we ever think about planning for our lives?

Have you ever considered taking some time to think hard about who you are, where you are and where you are heading? Believe me, this can be a difficult undertaking and can even be scary at times as we navigate relationships and important decisions, but the benefit of thinking about your actions and decisions beforehand has been invaluable in my own life and could benefit you as well!

Sometimes it’s the hard things in life that, once we do them, bring us the most reward. So what do you need to “plan” this week or this month? What areas of your life are you feeling lost, stressed, or discouraged in? What about the area of relationships and dating?  Have you ever thought about relying on something other than your feelings to navigate your romantic relationships? Maybe now is the perfect time to start!

The relationships that we engage in and our decisions regarding issues like sex within those relationships are some of the most personal and life altering decisions we can make! It only makes sense to think carefully about them, to ask for advice, to find good answers to your questions and concerns, and to make some decisions beforehand about how your relationship will operate.

Some of the plans that me and my friends at TurnTable have in regards to relationships is a decision to be abstinent. We’ve decided that for our romantic relationships before we are married, sex is going to be one of those decisions we say no to. Don’t be afraid to take a stand, to live with intention, and to say yes to waiting. The decisions made for your future well-being will always be ones you regret the least!

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What You Need To Know about Trichomoniasis…

trich couple

Here’s the Who, What, When and Why low down on this STI

Who: Every year, nearly 9 million people under the age of 25 get a new STI (sexually transmitted infection). One of these infections is trichomoniasis. If you’ve had sex, you could have an STI.

What: Trichomoniasis is a very common STI. It is caused by a parasite. You get it from having sex with an infected person.

When: When you have sex with an infected person you are at risk of getting trichomoniasis. Although most infected people have no obvious symptoms, they can still pass on trichomoniasis. However some people do have symptoms, if you have symptoms they could include itching or a discharge from the penis or vagina, a burning sensation while urinating, and pain during sex.

Why: Why get checked for trichomoniasis? One reason is that using a condom does not mean you are 100% safe. If you always use condoms for vaginal sex, you may reduce your chance for getting trichomoniasis, however how much your chance is reduced is not known. Trichomoniasis can be treated with antibiotics. Both you and your partner must be treated.  If you don’t know you’re infected, you won’t be looking for treatment. If you have had sex, get checked. Don’t put it off.

Avoid sexual activity if you are single. Why choose a lifestyle of abstinence? To avoid being infected with trichomoniasis and other STI’s of course. Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only certain way to avoid being infected. If you have had sex, do yourself a favor and get checked out!

 Here at Care Net Frederick we offer FREE and confidential STD/STI testing!

*Call to set up your free appointment at 301-662-5300 or email us via our website contact page.

The Medical Institute (2007). Trichomoniasis, get your facts straight [Pamphlet]. (N.P.) Austin, TX.
To see The Medical Institute references, view or purchase this pamphlet, please visit www.medinstitute.org.