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Trying to Modify the Patient Privacy Act

October 22, 2016

Al & Alberta
My husband Al and I are trying to “Modify” the Patient Privacy Act.

We have a petition started and would love others to help us. To be delivered to the next president in 2017. We need more names. Can you help us?

We believe that the substance abuse patient should have the “right to privacy,” but as the law stands now, it can actually be detrimental to their health and well being. Our intent is not so much to change the Patient Privacy Act, as to modify it, especially where it not only pertains to alcohol abuse patients, but also in the case of drug abusers and mental health patients.

Families of patients are prevented from obtaining access to information that may help them to aid in the recovery of the patient when a physician determines that the patient may be in a life-threatening situation because of their addiction.

We currently have 42 signatures and need 50. We would love to have the signatures in the hundreds. If you believe in our efforts, please go to the link below and sign.

Thank You!

Al/Alberta Sequeira

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The Effects of Marijuana from a User

October 22, 2016

Marijuana topic is coming up for voting in a few weeks. I had a follower who sent me this note. I’d like to share it. The article was written by Joshua Kresse from Arizona. Email Joshua at Let him know what you liked about his thoughts.


“Luckily I never took hard drugs, but I still believe pot is a seriously addicting drug. I have lupus, an immune disorder. Therefore I have chronic pain from tine to time. I also take psych meds.

“The only problem with drugs is this…They cause people to do things they normally wouldn’t do. Plus, I believe all drugs are the same in the sense that they are a gateway to other things. I used to think pot helped me embrace reality. Now I know that I don’t stand a chance of having a good life if I’m numbed up all the time. Pot helps us, but does it help more than it hurts? Sure it helps with pain, but studies show it does not reduce inflammation in the body.

“Last of all, I don’t agree that people need to be punished for using substances. But I have come to believe this issue is a spiritual one.
Learning who we are and learning from our mistakes is probably the most difficult thing one can do. But I would rather have a clear conscience than wake up hung over. Its a shame that our country foe the most part, is using money and politics to push foe recreational pot.

“To those that say drugs are bad, I say, have you ever tried them? To those that say life is bad and sobriety is bad, I say, have you really tried living?
The one day at a time slogan is cliche but it is true that the present is the only time we have, and drugs take us to another place.

“People sometimes forget why they even use drugs. The best reason to use is because you want to. No more excuses. The best reason to stop is because you have hope in yourself in life and hope in a guiding providence that created the entire universe. I am not God. I know this at least. And selfishness is trying to be like a god.

“I dont understand parents who think its okay for their child to use drugs. Its up to our parents and teachers and therapists and doctors….to solve this issue. Not the government. But God expects us to follow the law.

” For an addict to think nothing could possibly go wrong when they use is silly. Not trying to scare people but, at any moment we could cease to exist. Therefore sobriety is all about gratitude.”   Joshua Kresse

Marijuana. Yes/No?

October 22, 2016

Last month I read “Marijuana linked to fatal crashes” in the AAA Horizons newspaper. It states, “A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that fatal crashes involving drivers who had recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug in late 2012.” This is not the first state who had legalized this drug and experienced fatal accidents that led to an innocent person’s life or the user from marijuana.
The article also states, “Some states have enacted limits that make it illegal to drive with a certain concentration of the drug’s active ingredient in one’s blood.” Why legalize a drug and then it has to be watched on how much is too much? It is impossible for the police to know when a person is getting into a car and decide they should not be behind the wheel. They find out once the accident happens and lives are taken. People at the location watching the user don’t notify the police because they say, “Oh, they can drive, they’re okay.” That is reality.
Marijuana is illegal in 26 states while four states, including Washington, have legalized it for recreational use. The remaining 20 states, including New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland, have legalized it for medial use. I believe in this drug being ordered by a doctor for someone with a serious health problem that can be controlled or bring comfort to their pain.
Massachusetts will soon be voting on passing marijuana into the legal stage for our state. I hope everyone takes the time to think with a clear mind about passing this law.
I lost my husband, Richard Lopes, and my daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill of North Dighton from alcohol abuse. From my losses, I became an author writing books about the effect of alcoholism on the whole family and the reality of the life behind closed doors living with an alcoholic. I also became a motivational speaker on addiction and entered halfway homes, substance abuse rehabilitation centers and court-ordered programs to not only talk to the patients, but listen to their reasons for starting on alcohol and drug abuse.
A high percentage of the users admitted to starting out with marijuana. Their friends pushed the drug on them claiming how wonderful you feel. One man told me that he could not understand why he was in a drug facility for only using marijuana. I told him that if it was not a problem, he wouldn’t be there and he should take advantage being with professionals and look at it as a chance to break the habit before it went into heavier drugs.
Substance abuse is a worldwide problem that even doctors and counselors are trying to find ways to get the death rate down from the use. If families have no one fighting addiction, this new law coming up may be looked at as “What harm can it do, especially if it helps a sick person?” There is the difference, the use for the sick or pass it out to anyone for what they call “recreation.”
If you are on the other side of a family member, who is or has slowly watched a loved one killing themselves with alcohol and drug abuse, you look at this law as another drug that could become a suicidal weapon for our children, a parent, a relative, or a friend.
Like most states, they look at certain things to pass that will bring in money. The states who have passed this law have already had articles written on how the use of marijuana has brought in billions of dollars for them. Yes, billions! This reason is why the use is being pushed to pass instead of fearing what it may do to a person using it. It’s all about money from my outlook.
Any drug leads to another one that is needed to make it stronger and stronger. Alcoholics drink a certain amount of liquor until they realize that they need more to make them get higher into a stage they call “relaxed.” The more the addicted use and the longer, they reach the point of not being able to stop. Another family is burying a loved one from addiction.
Do you ever hear the expression, “We are just a number?” No one is looked at as a human being anymore whether being in a job or someone struggling to get sober. A patient may enter numerous times into rehabs and hospitals and have left the professionals watching them go out the door saying, “They will be back.” Why not say, “We have to find a way to help this poor soul fighting for sobriety?”
Please, think clearly and intelligently, when you go to vote on this issue. Once you pass the use of Marijuana, the law is here to stay. Leave it in the doctor’s hands on who needs marijuana and who doesn’t for health reasons.

Alberta Sequeira:



You can help yourself

October 3, 2016


Alberta at Tony's

Winter is knocking on our doors. No more meeting friends outside and doing things you should think twice about with addiction.

Cold, snowy days will have you inside. Where do you go to have fun? Why not take advantage of the “Closed-in feelings” and instead of fun, why not get an education to reaching your health?

Sounds boring? I’m sure you won’t get the feeling you get when using, but it will clear your minds and allow you to think differently and head towards recovery. I’m sure the word scares the death out of you…recovery.

You want to get to the last step without taking the in-between ones. Who in their right mind wants to go into a detox center with your nerves coming apart, strangers throwing questions at you with your personal life, the shakes, no way of getting the fix when your body is craving it, and then being placed with someone you don’t know sharing an enclosed bedroom together?

That is scary. What if the stranger turns out to be the best friend you will have in life, or they show you what has helped them, or they tell you how they went deeper into addiction and may open your eyes to your own path of destruction?

Picture being able to go into a store without trying to handle the panic attacks and leaving a full cart of food running out. I’ve experienced all those feelings myself trying to hold-on to an alcoholic husband and save my family. I had pushed my body and mind beyond what it could take for fourteen years.  Not only did I have a panic attack, I had a small breakdown. Yes, I know all those horrible feelings trying to get well. I never thought I’d be able to sit in a crowded room with people without looking for where the door was to escape, while my hands shook and felt sweaty, my heart beating out of my chest with weak knees. Mentally, I kept telling myself that there was nothing to fear, but fear took over.

I remember my daughter, Lori, before dying, fighting her alcohol abuse asking me why when she had been in a small, corner store, and hid behind an aisle so her friend would not see her. She asked, “Why did I do that, Mom?” I remember at time when I also hid in a grocery store seeing a friend myself. My only answer was that her nerves were on the line of unraveling because she needed help. Sad, but nothing helped Lori desire the professionals to help her.

She went twice to Gosnold Rehab in Falmouth, Massachusetts and once to the Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. My poor daughter was being held by the alcoholic demon who wanted her soul. I was helpless to helping her. My words and love could not turn her the other way. Nothing is more painful than a parent seeing their child slowly killing themselves and you watch this day in and day out…just like I did watching my husband, Richie, die from the same disease twenty years before her.

I guess I’m trying to tell you, who are all fighting your addiction, that we love you. It’s the disease we hate. We don’t know how to help you.

Lori was one who needed individual counseling with a psychiatrist. She had deep rooted problems that even I had not known about back then. Why not? I stayed too long in an unhealthy marriage and became a great enabler, which only brings the person deeper into their addiction.

It takes a lot of strength to fight addiction, trusting someone who wants to help you, fear of not being able to go through a day with a fix, or to stop believing that parents are not trying to smother you. Our fear is losing you. Those who God called home are missed and their spot at holidays are never filled. Their chair stays empty.

Turn to God and ask Him to help you. With Him, you will never be alone. Take that first step. Open your heart for Him to enter. Pray in the morning for him to give you strength, and at night, even if you fell, pray to Him again. Why? because he is giving you another day to get it right.

Purchase my book, What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict, written by 34 alcoholic and drug users from all walks of life from the USA and Canada. Find out what they really need from family. What are we doing wrong? What do they want from doctors and counselors? How do other substance abusers help them.

Here is one remark from a contributor: I was tired of getting sick, my hands shaking my vision deteriorating, my nose bleeding, my bowls moving sporadically, not sleeping and feeling safe, along with the violence and running from many situations being paranoid to the point of staying home all day. CW

I would tell doctors and counselors to listen to us. We are drinking for a reason and can’t stop on our own. Help us identify the reason we are drinking. What are we afraid of? Maybe we just don’t like who we are sober and truly believe we are better people when we are drinking and using drugs. Most of all, treat us like humans, not a disease. Anonymous 

Purchase my books at  from Amazon.  Hopefully, one of my books will be like a potato chip….you start on one and want to finish them all. I love reviews from readers on Amazon!

Alberta Sequeira:



Children of Alcoholics

September 23, 2016

Alberta Sequeira

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A New Day

August 28, 2016


Alberta Sequeira

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Children of Alcoholics

July 29, 2016

Children of Alcoholics

There are 18 million alcoholics in the U.S. according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. As a result, an estimated 26.8 million children are exposed, at varying degrees, to alcoholism in the family. These children are at higher risk for alcoholism and other drug abuse than are children of non-alcoholics, and are more likely to marry an alcoholic as well. Children of alcoholics or addicts are commonly referred to as “COA.”

How Are Children Impacted?
Many children have great strength, resilience and coping skills, which can help them adapt in order to function as normally as possible. Others do not adapt so readily and face a multitude of problems. Children with alcoholic parents are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, antisocial behavior, relationship difficulties, behavioral problems, and/or alcohol abuse. One recent study finds that children of drug-abusing fathers have the worst mental health issues.

Children of alcoholics may experience any of the following: chaos, uncertainty, instability, inconsistent discipline, emotional and physical neglect, arguments, instability of parents’ marriage, disorganization, violence and/or physical and sexual abuse, emptiness, loneliness, the terror of repeated abandonment, or the witnessing of violence or abuse to others. The family environment may be characterized by tension, fear, and shame–feelings that become connected with the child’s sense of self. It is often difficult to determine whether the problems a child is having are directly linked to parental alcoholism, separate, or a combination.

Since young children believe their thoughts and feelings are all-powerful, they imagine that they cause bad things and may assume their parents drink because of them. A parent may even encourage this belief with remarks like, “Who wouldn’t drink with a family like this!” So, leaving the bicycle in the driveway, getting bad grades, or thinking bad thoughts can lead, in the child’s mind, to a parent drinking. One of the most important messages children can hear is that the alcoholism is not their fault. It is not possible to create alcoholism in another person.

Impact on the Family
Alcoholism affects the drinking individual physically–in the way they behave, think and feel. It can affect family members in these ways, too. Alcohol may be the central guiding principle of family life, causing trauma and shaping each individual’s development, yet family members will work hard to cover this reality. Addiction has the power to destroy a family. No family wants to be destroyed, so they often try to deny the problem, fearing the family will fall apart if the problem is faced. But facing the problem at least brings hope of recovery. If the family doesn’t face it, it will only get worse. Without treatment, it keeps spreading through the family causing pain and confusion. Helping professionals, friends and family can get caught up in the web of explanations that are given to continue the denial.

Road to Recovery
The family in which one or both parents stops drinking can experience growth that eventually leads to healthy individuals and a healthy family. The recovery process is difficult and often out of control during the early months and years of the process of healing, and can be as disruptive and chaotic as the addiction itself. For example, the anxiety experienced by a child whose mother is newly sober is normal. One can expect that treatment will involve education about what is expected and normal in the first weeks and months of recovery, along with guidance in providing safety and stability for the child.

What Should We Expect from a Professional Helper?
Therapists may ask the family direct questions to better understand the role of drinking in the family. They will look for clues that drinking is an important part of family life. For example, do your family arguments always occur following cocktail time? Who drinks? When? How much? What happens when someone is drinking? What happens before and after?

These questions help determine the degree of denial and the kinds of other defenses and explanations that help maintain the addiction. Perhaps the family will acknowledge that Dad drinks, but will insist that his drinking is not the problem. If it weren’t for the demands on him at work, he wouldn’t need to drink so much. Kids may also hear that parental drinking is their fault. If they didn’t fight so much, if they got better grades or didn’t whine, Mom wouldn’t need to drink.

The questions of who needs treatment, when, and for what reasons may need to be answered by a variety of helping professionals. When it is not clear if a child needs help, the therapist might consider providing educational opportunities and small groups as an introduction to treatment and further evaluation.

What Would My Children Get From Alateen?
A small educational or therapy group is a powerful help for children because of the peer support it offers. Sharing in the safe environment of a group can help erase denial, so the child can see there is an option for a healthy and good life even if a parent has this disease. In addition to physical safety, a safe environment means clear rules, consistency and predictability, and a place where children can learn about alcoholism and its effects on the whole family.

Messages of Support for Children and Families
You are not alone: there are many other children with alcoholic parents who experience what you experience and feel like you do.
You are not responsible for your parent’s alcoholism, behavior or recovery.
You can get help for yourself so things will be better.
Whether it is you, a neighbor, teacher, or relative, be open to encouraging your child to talk to a trusting adult.

What Can I Do to Help My Kids?
Maintain family rituals, daily routines, and a regulated environment. Keep the lines of communication open and talk to your children. Children feel unsettled when they see problems that are denied or never discussed honestly. They learn not to trust their own perceptions. Children need the truth, but the truth should be given to them with thoughtful consideration and suited to their developmental level. Often, hurt is underneath anger and comes out as anger. If we can help kids put words to their pain and fear, it will help them relieve it.

Children of alcoholics have little or no choice but to adapt to the environment and the family in which they are raised. In the future, affected children who go untreated may bring their troubles to adult relationships and families.

This Consumer Update written by the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.

Use the AAMFT Consumer Update “Children of Alcoholics” pamphlets to market your practice.

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACOA)
This fall AAMFT members will be sharing their unique perspectives, knowledge, and research findings in a crowdsourced effort to update our Therapy Topics.


Alberta Sequeira

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