How to help a friend addicted to drugs

15th December 2015: Sydney, Australia

I am feeling extremely pleased to be anonymous, especially bearing in mind the topic of the post. Prior to continuing though, I must share my awareness of people possibly drawing some contradictions in my writing. Most notably, how I have detailed my beliefs about the benefits for people who with Cancer using Cannabis Oil. My reasoning results from seeing the divide caused within my small audience when writing about Cannabis. In response, I can only highlight the fact of not touching any Cannabis for over a decade before trailing it as a means to support my health whilst utilising it to eliminate the side effects associated with my chemotherapy. Basically, my use of Cannabis is solely centred upon supporting my quality of life and survival. In contrast, drugs such as ice take a person into a completely different direction.

I am not going to detail the circumstances for my friend or provide a case summary about his life. Instead, I want to share some thoughts, and hopefully receive some tips from others who are either experiencing similar matters or had encounters in the past that they feel will help someone else.

Naturally, the lives of my friend and I have shifted in different paths of late, and each time his name is raised, a cause of worry surfaces about his latest antics. The question has always been, what can be down to help him, especially if he does not wish to help himself. When reflecting on that statement, I wonder whether it is not signal of the circumstances being too hard too deal with? If true, it seems people, including myself have chosen to ignore the situation, placing his life in a context of ‘being out of sight out of mind’. Today, my thoughts have been about the type of friend I have been to him. Yes, he is addicted to an extremely dangerous drug, however, is it not these times for friends to rise in unity? Fortunately, another close friend in my social circle cares about our mutual friend, and arranged to meet last night. In all honesty. I am not sure whether it was helpful, however, a few small outcomes were achieved:
1. A show of willingness from old friends to support him.
2. The sharing of stories, highlighting the fact that a different life is possible.
3. Reconnection with a world outside addiction and crime.
4. Future planning to meet, showing a commitment to see him in the future.
5. Advice on some criminal matters he is involved in.

I am sure we can explore this topic in great depth, however, in accordance with keeping posts rather small, I hope the post can stimulate some thinking, and lead to some discussion on the matter.

Physical, emotional and mental strains of Cancer…

1st May 2015: Sydney, Australia

A possible flaw has been identified in the framework I designed to help others with Cancer. Initially, my planning was based on the idea of challenging attendees in a similar manner to others in the community who engage in group work, however, recent circumstances in my life brought the matter to surface, namely, the limited emphasis I placed on the possible physical and mental capacity of future participants. On reflection, I feel my intentions reflect the personal strategy created to ensure I faced the duration of time on chemotherapy with a belief of undermining the impact it would have on my life. I acknowledge many would suggest overlooking the impact of treatment for people is negligent, and I must add, of course consideration was made to such a blatant point, however, I feel sufficient attention was not directed to the area.

The events leading to a shift in my thinking again derive from the level movement in my life, and most likely links to memories elicited from viewing past photos. In summary, I have developed a tailored plan in regards to the level of movement that will feature on a weekly basis. My reasoning for tailoring the plan as such results from a knowledge of avoiding physically over exerting myself whilst recognising the great importance needed on recovery time to combat levels of fatigue experienced. The fact my programme is much less intense compared to one in place should I not be receiving treatment is a clear example of the need to also design the framework accordingly. I do recognise the main focus on movement in my life, and some may argue this may not be a suitable example when making comparisons with mental fatigue. In response, I would advise those people give equal weight to mental and physical fatigue, and my reasoning derives from previous study undertaken over the past year whereby I realised that regardless of whether it is physical, mental or even emotional fatigue, the end result is the same. It is for this very reason, I will explore avenues to decrease the load on future people who hopefully partake in my programme.

How culture needs to be at the forefront of our thinking..

22nd January 2015: Sydney Australia

The rarity of the Cancer inside me was one of the the first points registered upon diagnosis. To many of those close around me, the typical feelings of shock followed, with the questioning of ‘why me’. As previously noted, the searching for the undiscoverable answer is yet to feature within my thinking, however, recently an issue has captured my attention, and it regards the outcomes for people less fortunate than me. In many ways I consider myself actually lucky. Yes, a lot of hardship, stress and pain continues to impact me and close people in my life. The shift in direction was influenced by thoughts for those without the medical expertise, surrounding environment or support network to assist them in their experience.

To expand on the above paragraph, I am referring to people in other countries whereby particularly the medical expertise or accessibility of services may not be adequate. I recognise hypothesising that individuals from only Western, or other certain other specific countries receive appropriate care may reflect a very naive outlook on the world. I wish to make it perfectly clear that I am possibly overlooking other essential matters, most notably the role of extended family/community present in other cultures, and other matter such as lifestyle, diet, environment degrees of stress. All points that may have contributed to the growth of the tumour in the first place. The question seems to be gaining my attention, and consequently has featured in plans to incorporate visits to Cancer centres or the equivalent if pursuing the plan mentioned last week relating to undertaking a holiday to a small town destination in South East Asia with waves, warm water and simple living. The motivation to gain such knowledge would add further motivation to undertake the journey, placing a further dimension to the experience whilst removing a completely self-focused direction in life. I must note, awareness of the actual needs of the people, respect and a genuine interest is essential to ensuring a culturally appropriate approach is present. History has showed how arriving with preconceived ideas, and possible solutions is not the ideal way of achieving real benefits. I acknowledge to some degree, the function is still very self orientated, however, ideally the knowledge could hopefully lead to some sort of positive outcome, even if it awareness raising through witnessing and later reporting about the observations.

It is interesting to note that another idea seemed to have surfaced, pushing the focus on Sunflower Framework aside for the moment. In all honestly though, I am still much very dedicated to bringing the idea to fruition, and am awaiting a response. Therefore, I don’t need to feel an animosity to my thinking, rather, seeing the process as a series of steps with the framework possibly being enhanced or culturally adapted, according to possible future experiences.

Carer support

20th October 2014: Sydney Australia

In terms of how my body is feeling it has been another happy day! A few other areas of my life wouldn’t necessarily be deemed to be in a similar place, however, limited attention will be directed towards this as my focus is on remaining positive about the current level of health experienced. One of the days highlights consisted of a discussion with the an employee of the Australian Cancer Council whereby I touched upon the ideas surrounding the principles of The Sunflower Framework. The response was extremely encouraging, leaving me with a sense of satisfaction whilst also propelling me into the next stage of writing so the manuscript is in a position for others to read and provide feedback.

I made the call to Cancer Council to make inquires about what support is available for carers, with particular focus on my mum and capacity to maintain her well-being and strength in face of the stress and worry associated with my circumstances. Prior to making contact, I had a discussion with my mum requesting her to consider linking in with a support group for carers, and to my pleasure she was interesting in taking up the option. Surprisingly, there seems to be little support available to carers of people with Cancer. I am not at all undermining the need for support in other areas, I was just astonished to see the vast support network opportunities available for carers of people with dementia, mental health and disability in comparison to the little support available to people with Cancer. The three areas mentioned above are all extremely difficult, draining and stressful areas for carers, and it was positive to see the available options. I did just feel a little perplexed at the disparity of specialist support available for carers with Cancer, especially with the rise of Cancer within the population, and it made me think about the gap in service availability.