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  • Addiction-Remove the Hurt and Offer Help

    Addiction. I’m sure you had a substance or action that popped into your head as you read that word. I would like to ask you to take a moment and think about that word and what it means. What does it may bring to someone’s life or to a relationship? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, addiction is defined as a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted That definition is true, but I will give you another definition that takes it just a step further. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. Most people define addiction as a period when someone is completely absent of morals and that they could just decide to not do what they are doing. If you look at the second definition provided above, then that could not be accurate. Addiction (no matter the substance, behavior, or activity) is not something that one chooses. Most of the time it cannot end by just deciding to stop the addiction. Ending an addiction takes treatments (often called recovery) to; 1. end the physical withdrawals, 2. change how the brain reacts to stimuli, and 3. address the history that fed into the addiction. In this article series, I will discuss one specific addiction and the stigmas that come with it. The addiction I am referring to is drugs and alcohol, both legal and illegal substances. Is this the addiction that first came to your mind at the beginning of this article? You are not alone if it was. If someone does have a drug &/or alcohol addiction, it is prejudiced, cruel, and frankly ignorant to look at them as less [valuable] than someone else. Unfortunately, most people hold stigmas against those who have addictions. People want to put timelines and limits on someone who is struggling with drug and/or alcohol use. Some people ask, “Why do you keep giving the addict Narcan to bring them out of an overdose? Haven't they had enough chances?” Well, would you stop giving glucose tablets or insulin to the Type 2 diabetic to bring them out of a diabetic hypoglycemic episode? After all, they keep eating junk food even when they know it is bad for them. Would you stop giving oxygen to the cigarette smoker because they have lung disease? Would you refuse to give CPR to someone with heart disease caused by an unhealthy lifestyle? After all, they should have exercised more and taken better care of themselves. The only difference between each of these scenarios is the substance or actions that caused the need for a life saving measure. It doesn't matter if you are addicted to food, cigarettes, gambling, sex or drugs, the brain changes when you have an addiction. It takes more than a decision to recover from the addiction. Yes, it starts with a decision but if you only rely on your self-control to stop, odds are you won't. Would you put a number on your own life or your child's life? How many times is too many? Wouldn't you want the ability to finally make a change in your life? If the answer is yes, then what if you weren't given that life saving measure because someone decided that you were not worth the effort or had too many chances already? I want to plead that we need to replace stigmas with support. We need to remove the hurt and offer help to our neighbors, co-workers, friends, loved ones and strangers. We are all human, breathing the same air! We need to try relating with someone instead of berating them. If you or someone you know is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, help can be found at Illinois Helpline by calling 833-234-6343 or texting “HELP” to 833234 or SAMHSA’s National Helpline, a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information- service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing substance use disorders, 1-800-662-HELP.

  • Time to Remember, Time to Act

    The event took place during the Food Truck Tuesday event that the Nicholas Conservatory holds each week during the summer months. There were vendors that brought resources for substance addiction recovery, mental health services, safe medication disposal and free Narcan training. The highlight was the Memorial that was held at 7:00 p.m.; @BertAndLindy played beautiful instrumental music, Bev Pomering spoke about the 94,000+ people that died in the United States in 2020 and then released 3,513 flower petals into the lagoon to honor each Illinois resident that passed away from a drug overdose in 2020. People who walked along the Sinnissippi Bike Path could see memorial lawn signs that pictured lost loved ones, their names and a tidbit of information about them. The Live R.E.A.L. Foundation created a beautiful memorial that lined the lagoon which included clear bags filled with flower petals. There was a bag for each state of the union and inside were one petal for each person who died from a drug overdose.

  • The Depth of Reflections

    When I first notice a reflection, it is hard to tell what I am actually looking at. As my eyes start to focus I begin to notice layers. Using the photo above as an example, the first thing that jumps out to me is the trees. I am mystified by the way the branches appeared to be growing right down into the water and yet 3 stories tall into the sky at the same time. I notice pine needles floating on the surface then a few that just submerged. I see stones that are both above and below the water's surface. I see the shallow pond floor along the shore yet struggle to see anything in the pond where I see the sky above. I think I could get lost in the illusion inside the reflections on the water. shows the psychology definition of illusion as a perception that represents what is perceived in a way different from the way it is in reality. Why do we so easily let opinions change what we believe? Why are other people's opinions so powerful? I agree with what Jon Bloom wrote in an article from 2016, "... It’s important we understand why our desire for approval and fear of disapproval is so strong. Due to our sin, weaknesses, and perhaps traumatic past experiences, we might assume these things are merely consequences of the fall. But at the core, they’re not. God actually designed us to be motivated by these emotionally powerful forces, for they uniquely reveal what we love. ... This fear comes right from the place where our heart’s treasure is stored (Matthew 6:21). It is a fear of losing or not obtaining something we really desire, which is why it wields such power over us. Courageously confront your fear of man. ...We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Obedience calls for courage. Courage is not the absence of the emotion of fear, but the resolve to obey despite what we feel. Exercise your trust in God by stepping out in obedience. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6)." " Society pushes us to strive to "fit in" with the mainstream. They want us to compare who we are to what Hollywood tells us we should look like, sound like and be like. Everyone is different. Everyone has their own gifts. Diversity is beautiful. Stepping out is not easy but if we are courageous and take that leap of faith, we start to change the image in which we reflect. I truly believe that the world will not change until we change. If I change how I react to what the world says is true then maybe you will believe a new perception. Then if you change how you react to what the world says you should be maybe the next person will have the same courage to accept you for who you are. Now that's three people who turn into three more who turn into three more. You get what I am saying, right? The world is not going to change until we change our world first. Stigma (as defined by is a mark of shame or discredit: stain. This mark is not always visible. Those of us who struggle with or have struggled with mental illness, past abuses &/or drug use get really good at hiding the shame. We create an illusion in attempt to hide from pain. I believe you can't hide from pain forever or I guess even at all. You can create that illusion and dull it for a short period, but it will always return until you remove the power it has over you. The power is removed when you address it head on. First, you need to name it. Let someone know you are hurting. The longer you keep the pain a secret the more power it builds. The more power it builds the weaker you will feel. A weary soul will not be able to persevere. Second, be honest with yourself. Are you creating more pain? I myself am guilty of this. I was born into a chaotic home. The chaos continued to build and lasted my entire childhood. It took way too long for me to learn that I was subconsciously creating chaos during quiet seasons because I only knew how to operate in a co-dependent self-destructive environment. I found comfort in pain because it was all I knew. I had a counselor challenge me once to look at the reflections of past chaotic, hurtful times and honestly admit what I had created myself. It was a humbling, life changing exercise that I have tried to make a habit of doing. Be courageous and take the step into the unknown and you will find peace. By doing so, you will release the valve for the pressure of expectations to escape. Third, don't harbor ill feelings. Forgiveness is THE most empowering tool you to break down the pain from stigma. The only way I have found to truly forgive is to remember that each person has flaws. There is not a single person on earth that has not done something (big or tiny) that hurt someone else. Do we then have the right to say we are better than someone else? If we don't want people to judge us then why do we judge them? Lastly, I ask you to give grace. Give yourself grace when you find yourself falling into the stigma that you are trying to stop. Change takes time, give it what it needs. It takes unwarranted favor (grace) to forgive, and I believe we can't fully forgive others until we show that same grace to ourselves. Awareness and education of stigma will bring strength and freedom from the undeserved shame. Take a look at the reflection that brings an illusion in your life. Find where you can bring awareness and education of the damage that stigma brings to society. If you need help or want to help, reach out to Live R.E.A.L. Foundation, Article written by Bev Pomering, Founder and President of Live R.E.A.L.

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  • FAQ | Live REAL Foundation

    Frequently Asked Questions More Details How much of my donation directly supports the cause? 100% Your donation allows us to continue spreading awareness, teaching our communities and supporting those who have lost loved ones to this terrible epidemic. THANK YOU! What would I do if I volunteered? We have a variety of opportunities available... If you want behind the scenes work we have lots of little things to do such as assembling death prevention kits, labeling items, folding brochures, cutting flyers and preparing education folders. If you are more of a people person, we would love to have you help out at events, classes or seminars. If you have a passion for digging deeper, contact us today to inquire about joining the board. ​ What is the minimum age to volunteer? All ages are encouraged to volunteer with us. We will match you up with a task that fits your personality, age and abilities. The only age restriction we have is you need to be over 18 to be an officer of the board. ​ The behind-the-scenes work is great for families, retired folks or those who can't get out of their homes. ​ Is giving money the only way I can donate? We will always need money but there are definitely other ways to contribute to our cause. There are many different In-Kind donations such as giving your time & talents as a volunteer, donating items for our events, sharing your professional services, and we always love it when you share our posts, events and cause. Will you help us get the word out? ​ What is an O.D.O.R. in the Workplace class? Opioids, Dependence, Overdose & Resuscitation in the Workplace ​ This one hour class is geared towards the risks that opioid use, addiction and overdose has at the workplace. Attendees are taught what opioids are, risks of dependence, how to recognize an overdose and how to use naloxone. Opioid alternatives and healthy choices are also covered. ​ Everyone will receive a Overdose Resuscitation kit with 2 doses of naloxone and everything they need to hopefully rescue someone from an overdose. ​ How do I schedule an opioid education class for my staff & employees? Email Bev at to schedule an O.D.O.R. class today! ​

  • About Us | Live REAL Foundation

    About Us Our Team has a Passion to Make a Meaningful Impact on the Opioid Epidemic. Since our launch in 2021, the team at Live R.E.A.L. Foundation has worked tirelessly to promote our cause. We are fortunate to have volunteers from all walks of life who bring their unique expertise and resources into everything we do. This is what enables us to achieve our goals year after year.While there is always more that can be done, there is no doubt that we are making a significant impact. We have trained over 150 people distributing over 430 doses of Narcan. We have talked with thousands of people about how opioid deaths do not discriminate. We have met hundreds of people that share a common sorrow of losing a loved one to this senseless epidemic.See how you can become part of the difference. Programs The Live R.E.A.L. Foundation is participating in a United Way Program called the Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. We are located at the Marie Ave House in Machesney Park along with the Tommy Corral Memorial Fund and Secondary Success and Beyond. Together we provide community services directly in the community. Click the house icon to see what is going on. Awareness & Advocacy Interactive Community Events The R.E.A.L. News (newsletter) ​ Livin' R.E.A.L. FB page The R.E.A.L. Life YouTube vlog Training & Education Public Community Classes Occupational Opioi d Training ​ Seminars ​ coming soon: Hidden Right In Front of Me (interactive exhibit) Support & Building Community Livin' R.E.A.L. with Grief support group ​ Connecting People with Resources ​ Community Collaborations Change your thoughts, you'll change your actions. Change your actions, you'll change your world. Change YOUR world and you'll change THE world! Jennifer Muraski, Winnebago County Coroner "I was honored to be asked to speak at the Rockton River Market tonight. Thank you Live R.E.A.L. Foundation for sharing your story. Beverly Coleman - Pomering, you are an inspiration. Keep up the hard work…it WILL pay off.". #EndOverdose Carrie Schrader, RX after attending the Rockin' for Live R.E.A.L. Benefit Concert "I am so thankful for some giggles over the weekend, and a much needed distraction. My fellow 80's ladies, you ROCK!I And, (Beverly Coleman-Pomering) you amaze me! Keep up the amazing work you're doing of bringing education & awareness to help stop the stigma around mental illness & substance use dependency!" Makenzie, Local Mortician "While I love, admire, and respect, each family I work with at the funeral home. I’d like to talk about this lady here, her name is Bev. I worked with Bev when her father passed away, he was an adorable old man who had suspenders that looked like a ruler. They proudly showed his sobriety coins at his funeral, 36 years of dedicated hard work of sobriety. I met their whole family at his funeral. Then, a few months after his funeral, I got a call from Bev with the news that her 20-year-old son Alex, had passed away from fentanyl. Addiction is sneaky and I believe everyone, at some point in their life, will know someone or struggle themselves with substance abuse. Bev could have stayed in a dark place from such devastating losses in the same year. She could have been mad at the world and God (and I’m sure there was many times where she was) but, she chose to take one day at a time, and establish the Live REAL foundation and try to help families who have struggled in the same way she has. She created a mission to try to prevent opioid deaths by providing people with Narcan education and support. She leads with love and compassion to those who struggle with addiction. Addicts are not bad people, they are people struggling and some with mental illness. It can be treated with community support, love, compassion, and with people like Bev who care to sit with someone struggling and in pain. Don’t let your next decision be your last decision. Don’t wait to seek help. Just open your hand and be willing to receive, and I believe everyone has the capability to overcome the urges of self destruction. You deserve to be okay."

  • Opioids | Live R.e.a.l. Foundation | Machesney Park

    About Us Striving to Live Relational, Empathetic, Authentic & Loving Each Day The mission of the Live R.E.A.L. Foundation is building a network of community resources to increase trauma informed resiliency skills by teaching the dangers of mental illness & substance use stigmas, the vulnerability around cyber use, the truth about new millennial drugs, and training individuals on opioid overdose death prevention. What We Do For Your Communities Awareness Our Latest Newsletter Training Attend a Class Advocacy Learn More Support Grief Media Center A Couple Stories of Why We Do What We Do The Passion Behind the Live R.E.A.L. Foundation Learn More click here to listen to NAMI NI Continuing the Conversation ~ Dispelling Myths & Misbeliefs of Who is Really at Risk of an Opioid Overdose with Live R.E.A.L. Foundation Director, Bev Pomering Bev talks about the Live R.E.A.L. Foundation efforts to reduce the number of senseless deaths to opioids. August 31, 2022 International Overdose Awareness Day Listen Here Read more Volunteer Opportunities Include Behind the Scenes Planning Committees Event Help Board Members Volunteer There are many different ways you can get involved in making a difference. Submit Thanks for submitting! Contact Us 825 Marie Avenue, Machesney Park, IL, USA 815-742-8427 Name Address Email Phone Subject Message Thanks for submitting! Submit Subscribe Form Join Thanks for subscribing!

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