This is Personal, Raw, and Real. I Won’t Apologize

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I don’t even know how to begin what I am about to write. I guess the only thing I can do is just start and see where I end up. I woke up this morning, and something inside of me just broke open. I am shaking my head right now because life is just so nuts. Before I go any further, I just want to make one thing clear. I am not writing this for attention. I don’t need sympathy, and I don’t want pity. I am writing this post because, at the moment, it is the only way to get this out.

I am writing this post because I am a mother. I brought children into this world, and they are the greatest gift I have ever received. I might not remember what I ate yesterday, but I remember the smiles on the faces of every single one of my babies when they were born. My children are my heartbeat and the greatest gifts I have ever had.

I lost my firstborn child when he was 20. As the oldest of five children, he was the one who helped out when I needed more hands than the two I have. The kids and I were a surviving unit. As a mother of five kids on my own, I truly did not know how I was going to make it, but I did. Unfortunately, I had to give up my son. God took him. How that happened is still pretty much a mystery.

I’m going to get to my point here. I have another son and three daughters. We have all gone on with life, but we have all been hurting inside. The loss of a child or sibling is a severe pain to bear, especially after all we survived together. I still remember my younger son’s face the day of my firstborn’s funeral. He loved his brother so much. They were ten years apart, so my son’s brother was the only other male he could look up to in a house full of females. I will never forget the day my son’s big smile turned into tears. I am not sure what my heart was broken about more; losing a son or watching my other son hurt too much. All of my children have hurt, but I feel like my younger son hurt even more for some reason.

He accepted drugs in response to his pain. I’m sure his pain was numbed for the moment, but a drug and alcohol addiction that evolved out of control occurred. It is hard for a mother to watch her child harm his life, but I know no matter how much I have ever hurt, he has hurt more. His addiction landed him a prison sentence, which he has done most of.

He was placed in a state prison he should never have been in due to the risk of becoming ill with a disease that comes from the soil in that region. He has been very sick. I know he feels like he will never recover. He has fallen in his cell due to weakness, has had pneumonia, has hardly been able to be in sunlight, has been at risk of being hurt by others, and has been subjected to the trickery of those who cost him more prison time.

I want you to know this has all been a helpless feeling; to have a child, who is an adult, go through the things my son has endured. Yes, he has done a lot to himself, but he sure did not lack help in the addiction department. Addiction does not survive alone. It always has its accomplices. I am a minister and a believer of a higher power whom I call God. So, therefore, I have prayed as hard as any mother could possibly pray. My son remains sick, fearful, and not able to even deal with the addiction he went to prison for. People go to prison because of a crime they committed as discipline for that crime. They call it rehabilitation, but that does not happen, at least not from what I have seen. Regardless of what any individual has done, they do not go to prison to become sick with a disease they will never recover from. I have written to the President of the United States. I have written to the governor’s office of the state. I have written to the ombudsman of the prison system. I have written the state’s congressional representative, the state senator for that region, and those I thought might help. I have contacted an advocacy group on my son’s behalf and even the medical department of the prison he is in.

Nothing seems to help. So I keep on praying, sounding like I am alright, and moving on with life, telling myself that faith is going to have to be enough. I have isolated myself personally because of the painful part inside of me just can not take one more person hurting me. Yet life goes on. I tell myself I have to keep on going, and the rest has to be left up to God.

As I said, this morning, I broke. It’s not like I have not cried before because I have. I have cried loudly and out of pain, frustration, and anger. I want to tell you something. I absolutely HATE drugs and addictions. I have watched the people I love the most have their lives destroyed by drugs and alcohol. I don’t know the reasons why, but some can handle them, and some just can not. I think it is all a toss of the genetic wheel, maybe with a little human pain thrown in for good measure.

I dedicated my life to helping others, teaching others, showing what faith is, teaching lessons, and learning more so I can teach, counsel, and do more. We all have a purpose. Right now, at this very moment, I am the one who needs help. I need my son to receive the care he needs and the attention he needs to get out of that dingy prison cell and be helped into a life he can thrive in. I think right here; I might add that I have not been able to hug my son in 8 years. He has been locked up for most of those years, and the time before that, he was addicted. I left the state. My mother’s heart can’t take any more from anyone at any time.

It’s a helpless feeling, having to be strong, moving on in life, and have this painful heartache inside that says life will never be alright again. Grief does not end when we bury our loved ones. I already know that love can not be healed. Love is love. What we do is keep our loved ones close in our hearts, and we come to understand the heart and soul of a human being is where heaven is because that is where we hold our dearest loves of our lives.

It’s a helpless feeling to have a son, a grown man now, locked in a cage where no one will help him. It appears that all that happens in our prison systems is to put drug addicts away until they become hard just to survive. Addiction is a disease that is passed down through genetics, and it is one that is systematically reinforced by others who are addicted or sell drugs. It’s a vicious cycle.

Of course, I have blamed myself. I know deep inside it is beyond my control, but I still blame myself. It does not help that others have blamed me too. It’s sickening; all of it. Our country needs more addiction recovery programs. We need to stop condemning those who are addicted by locking them up and throwing away the key and start teaching them how to live with an illness they did not ask for and yet have to live with. We all live with it. Sometimes we die with it.

I smile, I laugh, I have good things that happen in life. I have moved forward, but a massive part of me feels stuck and broken. I know this is how every mother feels when their child has struggled with an illness they can not control. It controls them. It controls everyone it touches. Believe me; it’s hell.

Thank you for putting up with my long written broken vomit. Excuse me here, but there is no other way I can describe it. For those of you who have gone through the same, I am sorry. I wish you the best solution possible and for healing. For those of you who have received my letters and cries and yet have done nothing, I am sorry for you.

Today, just Jenine

Opinion: Are Non Violent Prisoners Receiving Extensive Sentences?

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It has been estimated that the US prison system has cost our country, and tax payers, over $80 BILLION dollars per year. Not to mention additional costs by families who want to support their loved ones, stay connected, and add hope to overcome their isolation. That cost can roughly be another $2.9 Billion dollars in paid phone connections, commissary items, and restitution costs.

Just recently the state of California alone has proposed a release of 8000 prisoners who have 180 days left or less on their record due to covid-19 issues. This follows a previous release of over 3500. These are non violent offenders. One problem I see with this is some prisoners could have been non violent at the time of arrest but prison life has created a violent offense. Therefore they are no longer eligible. Did it take the corona virus to have them released sooner? Or might we think their sentences were too long to begin with?

Many non violent offenses are drug related. Since drug addiction is an illness, it seems that the tax payers funds, and family funds, should be better used for court mandated intervention and drug rehabilitation. As long as there are no violent offenses, why not opt for rehab instead of incarceration? Isn’t the idea of the arrest and discipline to teach, inform, and rehabilitate offenders so they can be active contributing people in our society?

What about anger management, drug diversion, technical schooling opportunities and other programs that might actually rehabilitate instead of ruining lives? Our lock them into prison and throw away the key mentality has caused more of a burden on society than to offer mandatory rehabilitation and create active, useful, members of society who actually could have a chance at a good life.

Don’t get me wrong here. There are those who deserve to be in prison because of the horrible things they have done while on the outside. Yet, there are also those who fall through the cracks of the justice system, feeling they have no other choices and end up in violent situations after incarceration that ultimately lengthens their sentences.

Just looking at how many prisoners recently released in the state of California alone tells us that there are those who obviously have received sentences that have been too long. Don’t we think that creating re-entry programs is a better choice than lock them up and release them into a world they are no longer used to? Life is about learning. Rehab for a drug addict should never be a choice in court, but mandatory. Programs where court reporting for drug rehab have been shown to actually work with juvenile offenders when held accountable. Accountability and mentor programs can go a long way in helping potential offenders develop character and skills to lead upstanding lives alongside their families.

For those who are not sex offenders, not violent citizens, do not do harm to anyone but themselves, don’t we think that maybe giving them a mandated chance for change, rather than incarceration could be a better answer? It seems that channeling our energy and tax dollars into mandatory rehabilitation centers would be a smarter idea than over crowded prison systems that do nothing but cause more anger, depression, feelings of separation and loss than rehabilitation. This does not even cover prison inflicted illness that can be life altering and life taking.

We have a country filled with talented drug counselors, anger management coaches, life coaches, and clergy that would make great candidates for employment in centers that help human beings become active members of our societies instead of training more prison guards  to monitor humans who really just needed a better chance in society. Many incarcerated human beings come from one parent families, usually with an absent father. Are we compassionate enough to give them the things they missed out on in this country? It’s not just about dollars and cents, its about what makes sense.

Loving you from here,

Dr Jenine Marie Howry, PhD

**References

The Marshall Project

 

The Drama Addict: (Promised Post)

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This is most confusing to me as to how or why anyone would want drama in their lives when it can be avoided. Yet, it is an addiction. Drama addicts love chaos, either self created or borrowed from others. Drama addiction kind of goes along with gossip and it’s horrible to get caught in the wind of those who are addicted to this practice. There is actually an endorphin high that goes on in the brain when a drama addict gets their fix. Most often this person suffers from low self esteem or has the need to be higher than others. So therefore they step on people emotionally to create the illusion that their lives are better than those they step on.

The drama addict will feel the need to create anger out of someone else just to get a fix, or relish in the news that someone is doing poorly. They have to know what goes on in everyone’s life so they can manipulate, spread gossip, or create some sort of chaos out of it in order to satisfy their need. It’s almost a narcissistic personality trait but can be an addiction on its own.

An in-law I had in the past was this sort of person. Every single day was spent sitting around on the phone gossiping about others, or creating some sort of gossip to make someone else feel bad. If she got a reaction, she was in a heavenly illusion. She lived to make others miserable, and that she did most of her life. Its a sad existence but those who are addicted to drama have learned this through family dysfunction and its all they know. It is their “norm”.  I used to think this woman hated my guts and I wondered why. I never thought I gave her a reason to feel that way about me. Then eventually, I realized she did not hate me; I was just an easy target. I’m sensitive, intuitive, and compassionate. (Sensitivity is a good thing in people. We are teachers of compassion in this world). I have all of the things she never could have because they were just boring to her. For a long time I thought of her as an evil seed, but eventually understood her to have drama addiction. This woman felt the need to gossip about me on the phone even while she was on her death bed! I don’t know if I could live in that negativity.

Drama addicts love to make sensitive people cry, be uncomfortable, or get them upset. This feeds the drama need and then can be passed on in the form of gossip. When we think of it, really, its a kind of smear campaign against others who just want to live their lives and not be involved in any of it. They love to reel us in like fish on a hook.

If you know a drama addict, I have this advice for you: 

  1. See them as an unenlightened person who has a dysfunction or sickness. They need our prayers but this does not mean we should be involved with them.
  2. This leads me to #2. RUN, in the other direction! Sometimes prayer is all we can offer for those who have this or any type of addiction. Stay out of their covert clutches.
  3. Don’t buy into their gossip, smear campaign, or strategy, even if they appear to confide in you and you find yourself on their good side. Eventually you will be their target again because they always need one.
  4. Drama addicts have their co-dependents just like any addicts. Stay away from them as well! You will always recognize their co-dependents. Birds of a feather flock together as they say.
  5. Forgive and move on. Stay out of the gossip column. Keep your business to yourself and NEVER confide in the drama addict! You might as well heap coals on your head!

The above is just a bit of advice. I am sure you can come up with your own. If you find yourself stuck in the clutches of a drama addict and want out, please always feel free to call me! 832-484-8306. I can deprogram you from the hurt this dysfunction causes. Don’t pass on the gossip! Talk to someone who will hold your thoughts in confidence.

If you are a drama addict and need healing and release, please also feel free to call and make an appointment. Life can be so free if you let it be!

PS It is a falsehood  that women are the only ones who are drama addicts. Many men are as well. Please be aware of this!

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries LLC 

 

Are Your Relationships Suffering Because of Your PHONE?

pexels-photo-693269.jpegNo doubt our current technology is an amazing thing! Way back in what now seems like the stone age, we never imagined the freedom in technology we have these days. We see people while we talk on the phone or online. We transmit messages instantly and send at the touch of a button. Wow, who knew? May I add that energy makes this possible, but this blog post is not about energy, atoms, or even our personal chi. Although, I could go off on that tangent!

No, this blog post is about using technology wisely and how its misuse can give off the worst impression ever. I can already see your nod when I mention this. Its been said before and probably quite a few times from many different sources. Texting and scrolling through one’s phone while having lunch, a discussion, or spending time with someone is RUDE.

I’ve had this happen a few times in my recent years and even in my recent months. I’ve been invited to lunches, business connections, dinners, and just plain talked to people in line at the store where their nose never left their phones. I’ve really wanted to say something but only in one case really had the guts. I guess I should work on my tactful nerve. I’ve actually walked into restaurants and witnessed people having lunch and all of them texting on their phones. Why gather to begin with? I’ve sat with two other people eating while they both texted and spent most of their time on their phone. I wondered if we lunched at all. Maybe if I had on my high-powered business suit they might have been a bit more “polite”. Although, it should not matter what I was wearing. I still wonder if they even heard me at all.

Here is the real thought in question. Why spend time chatting with someone on your phone while a live person is right in front of you? Honestly, I think it is a new form of addiction. No one talks any more! It’s too easy to text, and I am guilty as charged when it comes to the ease of the text message. Yet, I never text at the table when I am with others and rarely text when I am with my significant other unless its important that I do so. Even then I excuse myself.

I feel like I have to fight for the right to be seen. Let me explain how it feels to be at a business lunch or casual lunch and people are texting during the whole lunch. It makes a person feel INVISIBLE and INVALUABLE. I don’t like to be rude and interrupt a person’s texting but I do feel that if someone has made the time to spend time with me, then that is what I should get; the other person’s undivided attention.

Are you consensual texting? If you are a married couple and can’t even watch a movie together without texting on your phones then, ah hem, you have a marriage problem. You might not think so but you do. If you have a friend you meet for lunch and you text the whole time, then you have no friendship there at all. You might have the illusion of friendship but you have nothing if you can’t spend time with that person uninterrupted.

I think I made a point to evaluate here. Are we willing to risk ruining our relationships over the technological age? It’s not that it is all bad. Remember, everything with discretion, moderation, and in balance. Repeat, “The Universe loves balance!” Also, “God loves relationship!” Yes, it is true we can have a full heart connection through technology and that is wonderful! I love the smiley faces and even the sad one’s to give the impression of emotion. At the sacrifice of someone who is right in front of us, this is not a good option though. No one wants to be anyone’s sacrificial lamb.

Honestly, I think the next time someone invites me to lunch and texts the whole time, I will ask for a clean plate, take the phone out of their hand, place it on the plate and tell them to have a nice lunch and leave. I’m a real strong advocate of how we teach people how to treat us. If they get away with being rude once they will do it again. We are all worth more than that. We are worth our weight in gold and then some!

Do a heart connection. Leave your phone in your purse or pocket. Better yet, spend time with someone and leave your phone at home. Do we even dare try that one? If you can’t leave your phone at home, you might have a phone addiction problem. Hmm, much to ponder.

Loving you from here!

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries LLC 

The Effects of Sexual Addiction in Marriage and Book Suggestion

rhn-sex-addictionQuite awhile ago I picked up a book written by a Christian wife named Laurie Hall. Her book is called “Affair of the Mind”.  It is about how she found out about her husband’s sexual addiction, how it effected her personally, and how she dealt with it as a woman and Christian believer. I recall I had a hard time putting this one down. I read most of it the very first night I had it. My heart went out to her as I read her words and felt like I experienced her life in a lot of ways.

I had been previously married to someone who was a sexually addicted man. Believe me, it’s no walk in the park, and can feel quiet abusive to experience. Beyond the stereotypical “men will be men” comments, sexual abuse is a very serious problem in a marriage. A sex addict gets just as much of a rush from naked images and porn as a cocaine addict does using the drug. I’ve heard stories of men who have looked at porn once and were so addicted that it completely ruined every intimate moment they could have had with their wives. Some eventually can be rendered impotent to even be with their wife in an intimate way.

Just like a drug, being addicted to porn and naked images will rewire a person’s brain. The craving is just like it is when someone needs their next drug fix. Sexual addiction and viewing of pornographic images is one if the largest reasons for the breakdown of a marital couple’s intimate life. Sometimes it ruins a marriage all together and destroys the lives of those around them. The break down of a marriage is a serious thing. A couple does not just lose a relationship. The couple begins to lose everything they built in their lives, including their memories.

Aside from the addiction part, lust after another woman on a husband’s part is considered to be adultery even if he does not have sex with anyone else. Jesus explicitly has stated that if a man even looks at another woman besides his wife with lust, he has already committed adultery. I know it can sound simplistic but adultery is a very serious sin in God’s heart, and one which requires remorse and repentance.

If any of you reading this thinks or believes that your man looking at women’s naked photos is harmless and a “man just being a man”, think again. What this speaks to you is that he is more satisfied with what he is viewing than looking at his own wife. It is an insult to the woman he loves. Can you imagine his response if the tables were turned and he found his wife entranced by the likes of another man? Adultery is adultery regardless to who is committing it. I recall early on in my past marriage my husbands co-worker was sending him photos of naked women by email. We were newly married and at the time we shared one email account. Imagine my shock when I received his co-workers email? I immediately replied for him to NEVER do that again and how insulting that is to me. Anyone sending my husband naked photos of women has no respect for me as his wife nor any respect for women.

Believe me, if you think it is innocent, talk to some women who have been affected by their husbands porn addiction. It strips the very fiber of self worth a woman has, takes away from the powerful intimacy in marriage that God gives as a gift, and sometimes even ruins a marriage completely.

If you are effected by your husbands or boyfriends sexual addiction or viewing of porn, you must read this book! I have the link for you below. It was written awhile back but it still applies and there is so much information she has researched on the subject, right down to how it renders a man impotent. It’s a serious marriage breaker and it hurts the very heart of God and women. I realize it’s not a fun subject to talk about but many women need healing after having a partner who has insisted in lusting after other women. Its a heart breaker and it creates soul scars emotionally as well as soul ties in the spirit world.

Here is the link to the book if you would like to read it!

An Affair of the Mind 

If you have been effected by someone’s sexual addiction or have been dealing with this right now and need prayer, please call me at 800-421-1765. It’s confidential. We can talk and pray over it and ask the Lord to loose the bondage that this spiritual attack will cause!

Lovingly Yours,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries