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Hello and Welcome to My Blog!

April 11, 2015

I look as comfortable and as happy as anyone can be after our horrible winter! This picture was taken a few years ago as Al and I soaked up the sun in Orlando, Florida. I had always hoped that after my retirement we would be comfortable enough to do this often on many tropical islands. God had other plans for me.

My main goal for setting up this blog was to reach out to alcoholics and drug addicts, along with their families to talk and share our outlook on pain, confusion and many times abuse from addiction. We used to hide this topic of alcohol and drugs behind closed doors and suffered in silence. I was one of many people who did and became the experienced enabler. I learned too late after losing my husband, Richard, and daughter, Lori, from their own addiction that innocently doing so I pushed my loved ones deeper into their habit and it lead to their death. I could only love and support them, they had to make the decision to want the help.

Sometimes, or should I say many, we wait too long going to professionals, and the addicted are so deep into their illness that nothing we say or do can save them. That horrible, heartless demon grabs onto them so tight, they can’t pull from their grip. Addiction is too powerful for us as families to try to fight it alone. Swallow your pride and come out into the opening and seek all the help you can receive.

Don’t believe in A.A. saying, “They have to reach rock bottom.” Listen, listen and listen more than doing the talking. Don’t blame them, yell, threaten, scream, punish, or keep asking why they are living this life. They have no idea how they got this deep into what they thought was fun, keeping up with others with parties, solving their deep-rooted problems from the past with keeping high, or whatever they are trying not to face.

We have to take our love and push it deep down in our souls and learn a new kind of love. How? being strong enough to look at our family falling apart with logic instead of with our hearts. Demanding the addicted get help, taking the time to listen to the alcoholic abuser’s pain and needs, going to counseling with them, showing (not telling) them that you love them, letting them know with no doubt that you love them but hate the disease, is more love than covering up what is happening to all of us in the family. It is a family disease.

I became an author and speaker because God had plans taking me on this strange path after the loss of my first husband, Richard Lopes, and my second tragedy of losing our daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill, both from North Dighton, Massachusetts from their alcohol addiction.

Suddenly I became a speaker at halfway homes, court ordered programs, rehab locations and to the public. I speak from the heart on all the mistakes I feel could have been handled differently and maybe…just maybe, they would both be alive today. At least I would have felt I did everything possible in my power to have helped than believing A.A. swearing to let them fight this until they reached that rock bottom.

I became a four-time award winning author and a Motivational Speaker on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, sadly, from tragedy in my life. If I can help one person recover than I am doing the work God is asking from me.

I wrote three memoirs: A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey To Medjugorje, which is about love, faith and miracles; Someone Stop This Merry-Go-Round; An Alcoholic Family in Crisis, about my young marriage to Richard with our two daughters, Debbie and Lori. The sequel Please, God, Not Two; This Killer Called Alcoholism is the continuation of our lives after Richie’s death, and follows Lori going down the same path as her father, and died in 2006 at thirty-nine years old. I wanted answers to why some addicts make it and other die like Richard and Lori so I published my first Narrative Non-Fiction What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholics and Addicts; In Their Own Words. This is a book of testimonies from thirty-four recovering alcoholics and drug users from all walks of life from the United States and Canada with their testimonies on what hasn’t and isn’t working in their recovery programs. This book is for the addicted, family members, counselors, doctors and the public.

All my books are in paperback and Kindle at

My writing memoirs have ended and now I want to enjoy writing fictional stories for my readers to see a lighter-side to me. My first one in progress will be titled The Rusty Years! Hopefully, it will be out late 2015 or early 2016. I’m in the process of taking the books about Richie and Lori from Infinity Publishing and self-publish them in Create Space to bring the prices down to half of what they are now. It’s more about getting the message out than making money.

I hope you enjoy my blog and keep returning. I try to update new articles and writings to help everyone, the addicted or their family, to see how we all suffer in some way with alcohol and drug abuse. I love to hear from readers with comments. My email is if you want a quote for a talk.


Understanding the Genes with Addiction

April 2, 2015


Shatterproof Blog
Posted on April 22, 2015 at 2:23 PM
Medical research has tried to understand our behaviours and bodily responses to addiction for many decades. But for all of the medical research, doctors often find that patients can respond differently even though they have had the same treatment. Well, the simple explanation is that genes can encourage varied results among patients.
Among us humans, all of the cells in our bodies will contain the same types of genes. Each of those genes will then contain two copies, coming from your father and mother. Considering that we all have different parents, the behaviours of our genes can vary wildly. As a result, the impact of addictive substances can be much worse for some users.

The Basic Evolution of Addiction

On the simplest level, people often indulge in food to the point where they are overfull. And why do they do this? Because the food tastes delicious to them, which makes them want to keep eating.

The pleasure of taste can be traced back thousands of years, where an enjoyable taste encouraged humans to find the right types of food to survive. That behaviour was passed on through evolution, eventually encouraging addictive consumption of harmful substances in the present.

Finding Addictive Genes

Medical scientists set out to find addictive genes by analysing the genes of addicts. The aim is to find patterns among the genes of addicts using a specific substance. Scientists can later determine which genes are likely to encourage addictive behaviour among addicts.

Because of the organism similarities between humans and animals, it is later possible for scientists to perform in-depth research into potentially addictive genes by performing tests on animals. Fruit flies are often used because of their 60% gene similarity to humans, while mice have 75% similarity. Tests on those creatures can be performed quickly, helping to confirm theories in rapid time.

An alternative approach to testing addiction theories on animals is to engage in genome wide association studies (GWAS). Scientists have essentially worked out how to artificially replicate the sequencing of human genes for the purpose of testing. Out of two groups, GWAS will test one set of genes by exposing it to an addictive substance while another set will be used for comparison. Variations in the cells will reveal key findings into the impact of addictive substances.

How Genetic Research Can Help

After understanding how a specific gene responds to addiction, a decision can be taken on how to act. Should the gene be a target for harmful substances, medical researchers can then act by developing a drug to modify the function of the gene. The ultimate goal will be to stabilize brain function and prevent the gene from encouraging addictive consumption of harmful substances.

Of course, there is a limitation in this approach, as each person’s genetic makeup will have an impact on the success of addiction-fighting medication. Thus, an anti-addiction medication is not guaranteed to work for every addict.

Another role of genetic research is the ability to analyse a person’s genes through sequencing for the purpose of determining their susceptibility to addiction. Through understanding their genes, it will be possible to customize an addiction treatment plan. Costs are currently high, but hopefully they will fall in time.

Nature vs. Nurture Debate Now Over

Quite simply, the purpose of the debate is to understand the relationship between genes and environment in encouraging addictive behaviour. However, to pick one side over the other would be incorrect, as research has found that genetics and environmental factors are weighted 50-50 in determining addiction. People suffering from mental health issues are far from guaranteed to become addicts.

The findings from the above study analysed 861 pairs of identical twins and 653 pairs of non-identical twins. The research found that at least 50% of addiction was due to genetics. When opening up the research to family members, it was then found that children of addicts were at an eight times greater risk of also become addicts.

A further study on genetics displayed an interesting finding in that genetics did not grow to become a strong addictive factor until later in life. To balance out the increasing importance of genetics, it was found that the negative pressures of a family environment diminished in importance in adulthood.

Early in life, negative experiences from an environment can lead to future addicts developing upsetting memories or mental health disorders. Later in life, those experiences can trigger the consumption of addictive substances. At this stage, the role of genetics has risen in prominence and will make it incredibly tough to stop using.

To conclude, genetics and environment are both crucial factors to consider in the treatment of addiction. Nowadays, there is no debate for one or the other. Specialist rehab professionals now have the knowledge and resources to treat any addict. Nobody needs to fear their genes in addiction.

Adam Barny has a degree in Psychology from the Queen Mary University of London. His interests are wide-ranging, and include computer games, online culture and addictions.

Daily Sayings

March 16, 2015

dinty balloon backgound

On Caring

” Twenty-four years ago, when I quit drinking, an old-timer in recovery asked, ‘How are you treating the world today, Paulie?’ I responded, “Don’t you mean ‘How’s the world treating me?” He answered quickly, “No, I mean exactly what I said. No matter how the world is treating you, if you are caring, loving, and kind in the way you treat the world, your your journey will be easier. 

~Nataly Kogan, co-founder and CEO of Happier, Inc.

Can you spot the Alcoholic?

March 15, 2015

Lori Water Raffing            Lori's picture for book (2)

I guess it all depends on how you think an alcoholic should look. This is my daughter, Lori (Lopes) Cahill. She had been as beautiful inside as out. She looks as happy as any person can be with no worries in these pictures. But she had been a woman with no confidence and lived in fear not knowing why.

Her confidence was low because she had chosen men in her life that had problems themselves and they latched out at her trying to point out her weaknesses. She came from a family…our family, that had confusion and fear growing up with a father who had once been so shy and loving, but turned into an alcoholic. He swore never to be like his mother and sister, but slowly molded into the same habit.

I came from a very loving, close-knit family with a dad who had been a retired One-Star Brigadier General in the Army, a mother who stayed home, cooked, cleaned and took care of two younger brothers, while my twin brother, Albert and I were ten years older and my sister, Leona, five years older than me. We lost a brother at seven from polio and he had been a year younger than Leona.

The topic of alcoholism never came up in our family and I only saw an uncle on a one-yearly visit for cookouts in the summer who got plastered from his drinks. Hated the visits.

I met and married, Richard Lopes from North Dighton, MA,  who had signs of drinking with his buddies, but never in my presence or family visits while we dated a year. Got married and the steps of slowing getting into a routine of coming home late for supper from the daily stops off for that one drink became a habit. I fell into the blind wife of making no demands and became the biggest enabler.

We had our first daughter, Debbie, in our first year of marriage and Lori entered four years later. By the time Deb was four and Lori was two, Richie went into blackouts. My poor kids were kept in an atmosphere of hearing the fights, silence sitting at the  supper table from parents mad at each other, then a week to follow with a dad home being loving and playing family games and going places to only see the Monday – through Friday routine arrive with the same actions.

Lori reached the point of no security and Deb was the oldest who tried to keep the family in line. I look back and get sick seeing how innocently our enabling makes the addict go deeper into their addiction. We need tough love. Doing something about the problem, getting off that merry-go-round, and making demand or separating is love but we see it as the fear that the addict will think we don’t love them.

Those years were why Lori lived in fear not knowing what really happened and didn’t. She went through a stage in her last year of high school with drinking with friends and I believed it was a stage that would pass. Never thought as it as being hereditary. She got married , had a daughter and son, and it wasn’t until she was thirty-seven that the family found out she was an alcoholic and bulemic.

On November 22, 2006, two days before Thanksgiving, Lori died at thirty-nine from the same disease as her father. In 1985, Richie died at forty-five years old at the VA Hospital in Providence Rhode Island. They are buried together at the St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Somerset, MA.

This year will make nine years that Lori has left our life. One life out of millions dying each day from addiction. My cousins have lost their children from this horrible demon and my nephew is fighting drugs.  How do we stop this? I believe Addiction has to be a daily topic for a class in schools starting with grammar levels.

Abuse with drinking and drugs should become a topic at the top with our health problems in this nation. Parents need to talk openly at the grammar level to their children, college parities need to stop being allowed on campus, and the list can go on, but like anything, it takes time. Time that will erase many lives before help is found for cutting this disease down with saving lives.

No one gets involved or interested in a problem until it hits home. “It will never happen to us” is what we think and believe.,,like a safe bubble is around us.

We can love, promise, scream, threaten, and pull down the drinker with questions on why they are killing themselves, when they don’t known why, but at the end, it all comes down to the fact that they have to take the step to want the professional help and hold on to it for dear life. Our love is not enough. They have to make the choice.

So my beloved Lori, know how much you are loved and missed, and how I wish I could turn the clocks back to make different decisions with reason and logic instead of with my emotions so we can all hear again your laughter and feel your hugs and kisses.



Alcohol is a key driver of chronic poverty in Uganda

March 6, 2015“>

Purchase Alberta’s books in paperback or Kindle in Amazon at Purchase:

Reviews of A Spiritual Renewal: A Journey to Medjugorje

October 10, 2014

Spiritual Renwal

By Sharon A. Lavy
Format: Paperback
Alberta Sequeira’s memoir brought back memories of my own mother’s death and then the death of my father two years later. We knew mother had a terminal illness but when my sister called and said Mom had 3 days to live I wanted to go into denial.

My own family handled the death of our parents a bit differently in some ways and very similar in others. But it was a time of spiritual renewal and the healing of old wounds. Some we hadn’t even known were there.

I enjoyed being introduced to a world I’ve never known. Ms Sequeira’s visit to Medjugorje reminded me so much of the trips husband and I have taken to the holy city of Jerusalem. It is a true blessing to be able to visit one of the holy places where Jesus walked and talked and taught.

Reading A Spiritual Renewal was like reading a long personal letter from an old and cherished friend. I was proud of her as she persevered through illness and discouragement to receive the blessing of taking the trip to Medjugorje. A trip she needed to take in honor of her father’s life and for her own spiritual healing. She experienced the treasures that can only be found at that place.


Northern European and Mediterranean Drinking

May 14, 2014“>

Purchase Alberta’s books in paperback books and Kindle in Amazon at


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