P.I.C.K. Awareness hopes you enjoyed your 4th of July! Summer has begun! Please make it safe!
I wrote this article for Thrive Global for all the Moms out there who struggled or are struggling with a family member who has a substance use disorder. Please take a moment to read it and pass it on to anyone who needs a little love.Thank you!
When you give birth to a child, your life changes forever. You immediatly think differently about things. Things you never thought of before suddenly are first in line. Your priorities change. You think about your own mother and finally appreciate her! The happiness that you feel when you hold that child compares to nothing else.
Click below to read the article:
Thank you Angelo Valente for the kind words and partnership in fighting drug abuse! I'm honored to be The Partnership of Drug Free N.J.'s guest blogger this week!
This week I turn over the blog to Donna DeStefano, a New Jersey parent who has been a tremendous advocate for prevention, treatment and recovery in response to her daughter’s journey to recovery. For the past few years, Donna has been leading an effort to earn legislative approval for “Support Recovery” license plates that New Jersey residents can purchase with the proceeds going to recovery resources. Donna has worked tirelessly to move this effort forward and has been a great partner of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.
See post here: drugfreenj.org/blog/post/advocate-inspire-others/
Please read my post that was published for Thrive Globe. I'm honored to be a contributor!
How Building a Great Support System Can Help You Survive Your Loved One’s Addiction
Be someone’s light. Isolation and fear are common when you are facing addiction issues. You don’t want anyone to know that it’s your kid, your husband, your wife that has a substance use disorder. The thought of the words leaving your lips and possibly being judged or pitied is sometimes too much. Take it from me....... See more here:
Parent's In Connection for Kids wishes you and your family a Happy New Year. Please drink responsibly. If you plan to drink tonight please have a plan in place for a designated driver or use Uber or Lyft. Do Not think you are ok to drive home. It's no joke. Besides the fact that you could kill yourself or an innocent family, you can be fined or imprisoned.
Here is a list of New Jersey Drunk Driving Fines and Penalties. Don't risk it!: dui.drivinglaws.org/jersey.php.
For those in recovery here are some tips on how to remain sober during the holidays:
Happy New Year!
Families get together for various events and celebrate traditions, faith, love and life. When you have someone in your family who is in recovery after a debilitating journey, it’s a blessing, but your family dynamics are never the same.
There’s usually resentment and the fear that at any time a relapse can happen. When you have siblings who struggled through this journey together, you have to remember that they have a different perspective then you do. They’ve lost something too. They’ve been put in a position where they’ve “protected” their sibling by lying for them, not telling on them, watching them do drugs or buy drugs, they’ve been manipulated and stolen from and even asked to urinate for them so they can pass a drug test. They have visited them in jail, they have listened to people talk about their sibling, sometimes have gotten beat up because of it and yet the entire time, they still loved and supported them. They’ve mentally prepared themselves for the dreaded phone call that their sibling has overdosed and died. They’re mad at their parents because they were only focused on the one who is/was doing drugs. They have been robbed of a normal childhood where bonds and relationships should’ve been solid and safe..
I know first hand the pain that families feel when they are trying to rebuild from this ordeal. My children have all suffered the effects of my daughter’s drug abuse. My husband and I fought over it, we spent countless hours and money trying to help her and we were always distracted and under tremendous stress.
Eventually, the trust is gone, the resentment and fear practically numb you. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real thing. Future events in life can trigger these feelings at any time. Siblings are hurt the most. They are so innocent; they are caught in the mix and terrified.
Healing takes a long time, but you can get there! Not all families are ready or open to counseling. During the holidays we have family celebrations, relatives and friends that come to visit. There are so many pressures. Getting together and facing the person who hurt you the most is sometimes too hard. There are bad memories and unresolved issues that sometimes are too much to initially forgive.
Sobriety, as wonderful as that may be, is not the same as recovering. Just because you are “substance free” that doesn’t mean you are well. Recovery means taking responsibility for the damaged relationships that occurred when the person with a substance use disorder was using.
My daughter has been trying to mend her relationships and she's succeeding. She's written apologies; met with the people she’s hurt and has shown growth. I think the fear of relapse and opening old wounds sometimes gets in the way of accepting the apology. Things are improving slowly and I know deep in my heart that forgiveness between my siblings is around the corner. I see them laughing together again, able to be in the same room without being uncomfortable and able to enjoy the holidays again. Forgiveness is not only for the person who hurt you. It’s for you. When you release that load of anger and hurt off your shoulders you’re able to move on. Peace can be yours if you want it.
Repairing broken relationships is critical to the process of recovery. With hard work, patience and time you can get there.
Each member of your family has suffered. Understanding addiction, being informed, educating yourself and finding a good support system will help you heal. Whether your one of the lucky ones and still have your loved one here or your loved one has paid the ultimate price and overdosed, your family will need to move forward. Life is too short.
There are many resources out there to help your family. If counseling isn’t an option you can go to Al-Anon/ALA-TEEN, NAR-Anon, speak to your church, school SAC, local family community meetings and state resources.
Please visit the pages here in my website www.pickawareness.com. I have done the research for you because I remember how hard it was for me when I was searching for answers. It’s all here. If you don't see what you need, please write to me.
Today, I'd like to write about something different. Instead of posting information about substance use disorders, many parents have asked me how I was able to get involved in the prevention, treatment and recovery field so they could get involved and make an impact too.
Some asked how I was able to change my professional career path from working as a designer to being the Director of a Prevention Coalition then on to the Director of Community Relations for a major hospital and currently to running my own not-for profit.
My big secret is networking. Here's what worked for me:
The single most important thing you can do to get ahead professionally is to network. Plain and simple, making connections in the field that you want to pursue will guarantee your success. Engaging with other people is the only way you will learn about opportunities, gain knowledge, become a relevant player and be noted as a professional.
This also includes networking with people you're providing a service to. Whether you're trying to help them by offering resources for a specific issue, sell them a product, educate them through trainings, seminars or forums, it all happens when you put yourself out there to your audience.
There're plenty of ways to go about this. In my case, I was looking for a job in the field of the prevention, treatment and recovery of substance use disorders, AKA addiction. I started researching local prevention agencies. I also researched current drug trend information, treatment facilities, the different kinds of treatment options that were available, prevention programs, data on current efforts to reduce drug use, blogs from parents and professionals, I read books on these subjects and studied all the non for profit, boots on the ground local efforts that were being done.
If you want something bad enough you have to be consistent. You have to show up, get your face out there! One way to do this is through volunteering. When you volunteer your services, you position yourself as a person who people can depend on. You have the opportunity to show them your passion, dedication and willingness to help and to learn. You network with their staff and employees. You pay attention to how they run things and what’s expected of them. You also pay attention to things that you might do differently, ideas that you might offer to help with projects or issues they're dealing with. You show your value.
You should ask about learning opportunities such as what seminars, forums, events and educational trainings there are. You build up your knowledge! You show an interest.
You can offer to “man a table” at these events so you can network with other vendors. Take advantage of the fact that you can network with your ideal customer/ client or future employer while attending these events. Talk to everyone! See what their needs are. Find out the reason they are there. What are they looking for? Look for ways to engage and to help them.
Have your own simple business cards to hand out. Let me be clear……This is NOT to take business away from where you are volunteering. It’s simply a way for others to contact you to continue conversations or to share stories. Always be loyal and if possible, refer to the place that you are volunteering for. Remember, honesty and integrity go a long way. Be the person they can trust.
Start positioning yourself on social media platforms. LinkedIn is a great networking tool. Create your profile to reflect and showcase your current and prior employment, education, skills and volunteering efforts.
If you’re looking for a job or position in a certain field then say it! You can say something like “ Currently looking for a position in the non profit world” Seeking job opportunities in the substance prevention field, Looking to join board member positions in the treatment and recovery field or whatever job that you’re looking for. This will make you more visible to recruiters, CEO’s and others who are hiring.
You have to build up your contact list. Search and reach out to EVERYONE you know. People in your potential field, possible colleagues, employers, political contacts, people you do business with, your friends and family. This becomes your sphere of influence. This is truly important. You’ll set yourself up as credible. Start joining groups, follow influencers and ask for recommendations.
If you have a personal Facebook account, for God’s sake make sure you don’t have photo’s that show any indiscretions. Watch what you post. That includes your personal views on politics and religion. Any potential employers will Google your name and make decisions based on how you promote your lifestyle. Sad, but true, you'll be judged and you wont get the job or be a welcomed volunteer. I'll also tell you that news travels fast and once you’re pegged, as someone who parties hardy or talks inappropriately you'll be blackballed.
Your name and Bio about who you are, what you do and what you like or are looking for should be short and to the point. Search likeminded people and follow their pages, people you admire in your field. Start liking and commenting on posts they make. Use hashtags every time you post on your page. This will help get you noticed on other pages. Engagement and consistency is key.
If at all possible, use your name or the name of your business as your twitter handle. If you have a website URL to add then do it! Adding a nice picture of yourself makes you more relatable. People will start to recognize you. If your uncomfortable with that you can add a logo if you have one. Include a short bio. Mine looks like this:
Donna Pacicco DeStefano@PICKAwareness
Founder & CEO P.I.C.K. Awareness- Special State Officer on The Governor's Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse- Mom- Wife- Prevention & Recovery Advocate- Blogger
Engage with relevant people who are in your industry and follow them. Comment on their posts. Get creative with your content. Tweets can be up to 280 characters long so you have the ability to get creative. Show your personality and stand out by being yourself. Using hashtags will get you more exposure on your tweets. As with all social media, make sure you stay updated in your field. Research to bring new and useful information to your followers. Be the “go to” by staying current on trending topics. More than 60% of people are visual learners. People respond to images faster than text. When possible add a photo or image to your tweet.
Make sure your resume is up to date. If at all possible use your name in your email. This way when it shows up in mailboxes people know exactly who you are. I like to add an “Objective” at the top of the page. This should reflect information for the specific job that you are seeking. Highlight your volunteer experience and get recommendation letters from the places you volunteered and worked. Show your personality. Add any experiences, chair or board positions, committees, clubs and organizations that you’ve been a part of and references from people who can vouch for your work ethic, dependability and value. There are many resume templates out there if you’re confused on how to do it.
I hope these tips help you with your networking efforts. Remember to ALWAYS be professional. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t settle for a job that isn’t a good fit.
Good luck! and remember,
“The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started” Mark Twain
Donna DeStefano, CEO P.I.C.K. Awareness
I know so many families who've lost a loved one or friend to an overdose. With all the prevention efforts, Narcan trainings and distribution, town hall meetings, seminars and forums, recovery specialists intervening at the hospital and a multitude of informational efforts, it's sad to think that we actually have this day on the calendar.
On the other hand, it's a wonderful tribute to all the beautiful souls who have fought the battle of addiction, but ultimately lost. It's a reminder that Substance Use Disorder is a disease that is at epidemic proportions and if you have it you and your family are in for the fight of your lives.
It's also a reminder that it is a treatable disease. Over 23 million people who are in recovery can attest to that.
Today, on August 31st take a moment and do what you can to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of Substance Use Disorder. Reach out to grieving families and help them heal. Talk to those suffering because they are human beings who need help not judgment.
That's what this day is all about.
#overdoseawarenessday #overdose #stigma #awareness #opioid #recovery #sober #soberliving #substanceuse #substance #soberliving #families #grieving #Judgement #heal #narcan #prevention #pickawareness
When my daughter Laura was in early recovery she would rush home from work and bang out one puzzle after the other. It's good to keep your mind occupied. When you have a hobby or something to look forward to it's like therapy. It gives you something else to focus on. Puzzling, art, music and sports are just some of the healthy things you can do to keep your mind sharp.
To this day, Laura still loves her puzzles. Check out her recent Facebook post below.
Thanks for the shout out to P.I.C.K Awareness! We love folks to stay informed.
*** Ocean County Facebook Follower of the Week ***
#OCPOFamily #FridayFeeling #ChildSafety
This share by Donna Pacicco DeStefano and her founding of the P.I.C.K. (Parents In Connection with Kids) Facebook page made her a no brainer pick for this Friday’s “FBFW”.
Donna’s P.I.C.K. page and this share highlighting PlaySafe.org offers parents a tremendous resource. The PlaySafe site created for parents by parents at The Toy Association is full of safety tips, expert advice, answers to FAQs and facts about toy safety to help you keep your little ones safe while they play.
The P.I.C.K. (Parents In Connection with Kids) Facebook page exists to help parents keep their children focused, motivated and drug free! It enables parents to connect with each other and know where their kids are and who they are with. Its’ premise is founded in prevention in order to educate oneself with knowledge and resources that will help save children from addiction, jail or death.
OCPO thanks you Donna for your efforts and commitment protecting to all children – Al Della Fave.