November 3, 2017 … Happy Birthday… in Prison!

“Sugarmann, let’s go, you have a visit,” the guard yelled as I just started my shift in the kitchen. “Great I can get a day off of working in the kitchen– Thank God!” 

I got dropped off at visitation. There was Nick, Sean, Maria, and Talia!! It was so great to see them. Anthony was missing though. I miss him so much. I miss my family. My heart aches when they leave. This is very difficult. I never want to do this again. I went back to my unit after the visit only to find my bunk 100% decorated in paper butterflies hanging from strings! Each one had a hand written message from the women in the unit. Brandy did the decorations; she made dumplings and baked me a birthday cake!! They sang Happy Birthday to me and I suddenly realized that I had NO camera. I could not take a picture of my bunk with the butterflies or the birthday cake that was baked in the microwave out of Oreo cookies and coke!!! NO CAMERA. There were no pictures of my 63rd birthday. Because there are no cameras in prison. There are no iPhones in prison. There is no Google in prison. There is no Facebook in prison. There is nothing here in prison. The women in my unit made my birthday bearable. I am so grateful to have these women in my life.

There is however, ONE Narcotics Anonymous meeting on Tuesday nights in prison. I chair the NA meeting this month of November. We do the readings and have a speaker share for approximately 20 minutes and then members comment. Christine spoke for me this week. She is a registered nurse who lost her license and is doing two years in prison. I walk up and down the unit every Tuesday starting at 3:00 pm, yelling that the NA meeting is tonight at 6:00pm!! Meet at my bunk to walk together at 5:30pm. And I tell them: “Chase your recovery the way you chased your dope…. if there was a pound of heroin or a meth lab at the bottom of the hill you would run there… NOW get your asses up and let’s go to the meeting!!!

Last night there were 10 women from my unit walking to the meeting together. It made my night!! These women have never been to an NA meeting or to rehab. So I shared that I am 63 years old and 34 years clean and my first time in prison. I have spent the last 35 years helping people. And I was helping people when the FEDS busted into ASI on October 8, 2015.

Does society know what is really going on with the sentencing guidelines? The mandatory minimums? The non-violent/ first-offenders?

Brandy from North Carolina was sentenced to 15 years for a drug charge, manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine. She has 4 children. She had three years knocked off of her sentence giving her 12 years to do. She has never been to rehab. She has no knowledge of the world outside of prison. I keep picturing a little 8 year old kid using a cell phone and how a grown up like her is going to manage coming out of prison.

Bella, also from North Carolina was sentenced to 12 years in prison for conspiracy. I just read her paperwork from the courts. Oh my God she is not an addict and she never touched a drug. Her boyfriend who she lived with was a drug dealer. Bella was arrested and basically charged with conspiracy for “knowing” that her boyfriend was selling drugs. 12 years in prison. She does not even qualify for the RDAP (Residential drug and alcohol program) ! That is offered to addicts in prison and they are given 18 months off of their sentence! Bella does not qualify. This was her first offense and it was non-violent. She has been incarcerated for 10.5 years.

Gena is from Texas. She is serving 13 years. Gena was clean in recovery for 10 years and she relapsed. When she used, she started cooking meth and she caught a charge. First offense- 10 years clean, sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Kelly is from Florida. They call her “wink”. She is getting released on December 13, 2017 (my clean date!). I sponsor her. She will have served 17.5 years once she is released. She will be going to Tampa to a half-way house. This was a first offense for her also. She is extremely intelligent and has lost 17.5 years of her life. She is very active in NA in Prison. She is working the program. She has just started her 4th step. Her desire to stay clean and recover is awesome. She is a breath of fresh air!!

These are just some of the women I have met in here. It makes no sense to me that these women have never been in any trouble at all, and are punished to this degree. There are murderers who have been given less time than these women. Child molesters who have done much less time. The system is flawed. The government is flawed. It is upsetting to know that their are 1,100 female inmates in Alderson Women’s Federal Prison who are so unfairly mistreated. Who knows this is happening? Who even cares? What is the answer to this? It is unfair. The reality is: If these inmates would have been given a slap on the wrist and then promised to be given this hard sentence if they repeated the offense a second time I would bet everything I love that they would NOT repeat the offense. Why is it so harsh??? It makes no sense at all.

So I will have spent my birthday in prison, along with Thanksgiving 2017; my 35 years clean anniversary; Christmas 2017; New Years; and Anthony’s birthday.

I AM READY FOR 2018!!

Thank each and every one of you for writing to me and for remembering my birthday. All of you from the ASI veterans page are in my thoughts and prayers on a daily basis. You are making my time tolerable. PLEASE keep writing and PRAYING for my family and me.

God Bless You– I love you all!!

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7 weeks down… 34 weeks to go…

Every morning  I open my eyes I have to pinch myself. Am I really here? Am I really in Alderson Women’s Federal Prison Camp?

It was Friday October 13th, and I was walking to work at 5:00am. I arrived at the huge cafeteria better known as ‘CDR’ and went to sign in. The lieutenant looked at me and then looked at his watch and said, “Sugarmann you are one minute late, you go back to working PM shift”. “Shit”, I thought, “I’ll never get on the correct sleep schedule”. For those of you who don’t know, I fall asleep standing up. I was diagnosed with narcolepsy and it is agitated by stress. And this place is STRESSFUL. Basically, I have been trying to be released from CDR for the past month. Everyone who knows anything about me knows I shouldn’t be working in CDR! But that doesn’t seem to matter. Friday the 13th would be my last day to get off work at 1:00pm! I had a skype session with my family at 3:00pm which ended at 3:30pm. I had another skype session scheduled for 5:30pm with Anthony and Talia. After my 3:00 skype I went over and sat at the computer and checked my emails. Unfortunately, I was horribly stressed out and I fell ASLEEP at the computer!!

When I woke up the room was pitch dark and everyone was gone. I looked at my watch and holy shit it was almost 5:00pm. Count was at 4:00pm. Count is EVERYDAY at 10:00am, 4:00pm, and 9:00pm. YOU DO NOT MISS COUNT!! When I looked outside there was not a soul around. So I stepped out of the email room and stood outside. Within seconds two white cars pulled up in front of me. The guard jumped out of the car… “Where have you been Sugarmann????” I thought to myself, “oh shit ya did it this time Roz”. I replied, “I was asleep in email”. He made me get in the back seat and within 2 minutes, the Warden pulled up, jumped out of his car and into the backseat of our car… RIGHT NEXT TO ME! It was a smaller car so our elbows were touching. He turned his head and looked directly at the side of my face. I could ‘feel’ him staring at me while I looked straight ahead.

He said sternly, “Sugarmann, you fucked up the national count”. Well I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew it wasn’t good! He then said very loudly, “Show me Janis Joplin… I immediately pulled up my sleeve and showed him my tattoo. “NICE”, he said.

We drove back to my unit up top where all of the units and the main pavilion are. I got out of the car and went into my unit. The guards walked me in and as I started to walk down the center aisle to my cube in the far back, everyone cheered and clapped and whistled ! I felt like I just received my diploma for graduating from kindergarten.

So much for staying under the radar. The entire compound, and I mean ENTIRE…. 1,000 inmates and all Alderson staff, know me as… “The triple OG who fell asleep in email and was missing during count.” I got a 300 series “Shot”, and the consequences were 2 weeks back in the Bus Stop and 30 days of NO skype. So here I am trying to sleep in the bus stop where the fluorescent lights are always on and people are always moving around.

It is Tuesday night, my day off. I attend the Narcotics Anonymous meeting tonight. I go every Tuesday without fail. It’s my home group. I feel safe there. It is where I feel “home”. I sit in the circle and shut my eyes. I have a vision of old timers from home sitting around the table. I see Shannon L. , Joe B. (RIP), Kenny B., MaryAnn B. (RIP), Terry B.(RIP), K.J, Gloria, Barb M., Rox R., Mickey H., Rosemary R., Marla, Walt S., and Sean S. I see a huge cloud of cigarette smoke in the air. It is the Beachwood meeting at the Mary S. Brown church on Tuesday nights in Squirrel Hill. My home-group. Those days were ‘Golden’. I feel so blessed to have experienced Narcotics Anonymous the way we did back then. It was a “Gift” for us. A blessing and a totally new way of life!!

I counted 29 people at the NA meeting tonight! How awesome! I brought Jessica (my Bunkie), Garlic, and Kelly with me tonight. So many new faces. My Bunkie Jess came two weeks in a row. She touches my heart. God has intervened and is running the show. I wrote a letter to her judge requesting that she get to go to treatment for the last 18 months of her sentence. I ask God every night let this be granted to her. She needs recovery badly. She needs a chance to get her kids back. She loves them very much and she lost them to this treacherous disease. Her husband just got out of prison and he is an addict also… struggling to stay clean.

There are hundreds of addicts on this compound. Many have been given 5, 10, 15 years for their first offense. Non-violent first offenders. Most have never been to treatment or to an NA meeting. I cannot believe how much they do not know about the disease of addiction. THEY NEED TREATMENT!

THERE IS A HEROIN EPIDEMIC OUT THERE!!! What is going on with our country? What is happening to addicts? Why so many deaths? Something is wrong. Very wrong. People are losing their family members and loved ones everyday.

Teach others about addiction. Share your experience, strength, and hope. Educate your children. Do everything you can to gain knowledge, understanding and information to share with your kids. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Sadly enough, I truly believe that this is ALL that is needed to stop the epidemic. Not one addiction course is offered to children in elementary school, middle school or high school. The most they get is the D.A.R.E program. It covers NOTHING. I believe the solution is simple. Do not LIE to your children. They already know what you are doing.

Alderson Women’s Prison Camp is full of female addicts who have children. These children are the future addicts of America if we do not do something quickly. We need to educate them about the disease of addiction BEFORE they end up following their parent’s footsteps…. NOT AFTER. Be pro-active. Help others. Teach and Share. We need addiction to be taught in schools. Maybe we need a stand a lone school that educates the WORLD on addiction… hmmmmm.

Can you imagine how many government employees, police officers, prison staff, and politicians would unemployed? And what would Big Pharm do??? Uh Oh! That’s a whole new blog!

Pray and ask God to help the addict who still suffers and their families who continue to suffer…. the pain brought on by the disease of addiction is unbearable.

 

I love you all. Thank you for reading, and your continued support!!!

“_______ The Feds”

Week #5 at Alderson Federal Prison Camp

10/8/17

On October 8, 2015 exactly two years ago to the date, I was woken abruptly to Bobby & Teejay standing at the foot of our bed in a full-blown panic. “The Feds just pulled into the ASI parking lot about 60 deep in Uhauls. It’s really crazy up there boss… we need to get up there”…

I froze. I heard Sean answer his cell phone and say, “Okay Maria, breathe, calm down and relax. Pray.” Maria proceeded to inform us that 50 federal agents were swarming through our home as well. The dogs were out of control and barking frantically. The Feds were rude as usual and tore our home apart, but could not find anything. They did however find a $900 TJ Maxx receipt! For some reason that upset them! haha! They snatched about 4-5 broken Mac laptops and took them with them. They were terrible. Maria suffers from PTSD and has since done much work in private therapy on herself. The 18 hours we all spent that devastating day and night at ASI set the stage for what was the most traumatic experience of my entire life (along with many others). That event caused a terrible emotional hurricane. It ruined many lives. It killed many patients. It took addicts “safe place” from them. But for the Sugarmann Family; it slowly and devastatingly destroyed a dream.

I sit here now, in Alderson Women’s Prison Camp, in shock at what I am learning about our federal government. I am learning about prison terms and sentences for “First time offenders of Non-violent crimes”. The exorbitant amount of white collar crimes that have been punished with extremely long, long sentences. People who have never been in trouble once getting 12, 15 year sentences. People who are 100% innocent. Their lives have been destroyed over Federal Mandatory Guidelines. It is a nightmare. I had no idea. Addicts who have never been given the opportunity to go to rehab and learn about the disease of addiction. They never learned how to get clean let alone stay clean!! 80% of the population in here are drug offenders and the other 20% are white collar criminals. When you meet the warden, the first thing he asks is, “Are you a thief or a junkie?”.. I said “well allegedly I am both!” haha

This is a “Camp”, unfortunately it has nothing to offer any inmates with regards to classes or programming. All classes are full, waitlisted or just not offered. It is definitely a step up from the county jail! Jobs pay $5.25 MONTH!! All paychecks go towards restitution. Everything is purchased through commissary. NOTHING is allowed to be brought in.

Some how, being here, experiencing this, is a gift from God. I miss my family terribly and I ask God to watch over them and guide them daily. This is God’s plan and I have accepted it. The women in here have surrendered to prison life. They have surrendered to the fact they will be here until they have served their sentence.

For the past several days I have been put in the position to carry the message of Narcotics Anonymous. I am dumbfounded as to how many women have NEVER been to a meeting. God am I blessed to have been shown the program 34 years ago.

There is a woman named Jennifer. She is from Kentucky. She is 26 years old and pregnant. She was given 6 years in prison for methamphetamine. Her boyfriend got 26 years in Prison. They have 3 children and one on the way. Neither of them have ever been to rehab. She has shown up at the meeting the last two weeks. I have been so happy to see her. She walked with me home last night after the meeting. Jennifer will be leaving here and going to the program for pregnant women. She will be able to stay with her baby for one year and then they will take the baby home. She will then finish her time without the baby. Narcotics Anonymous can save her life and give her the chance to be a totally different person!

Jessica, my Bunkie, still has not gone to a meeting with me. It is so sad to watch her struggle. She has lost her 4 children and her husband just got out of prison. She told me that he is going to meetings and is trying to work a program. Now I need to get her to commit to go with me! She is serving a 6 year sentence over 54.1 ounces of heroin. I just KNOW that if she recovers things will get better. Her life will change.

I met Kara from Tampa, Fl today. Beautiful young lady. She is 33 years old and has been in prison for 9 years. She has one more year. She was given a 10 year sentence for driving the get away car of a robbery. She received a gun charge. It was her first offense. her co-defendant got 32 years. She had no idea that they were doing a robbery. She was a pre-school teacher at the time.

And finally, Brandy. I feel like I have known her forever. She is a good person with a great head on her shoulders. Brandy was given 15 years in prison on her first offense. She got 3 years taken off so she has 12 years to do. She already has done 8 years. She believes she will be able to leave in 2 years. This is her 3rd time in prison. She has three children. She is a very hard worker and her spirit is alive. I find myself in awe of her stamina and power. She does not count her time. She makes her time count. She does not complain at all. She will be part of my life from now on. She helps me to be grateful.

I wish God would show me how to do this. I need him to answer me. Show me what is next.

This is very difficult. This prison needs a documentary. We need to do something. There is so much to tell. So much needs done. So much is just plain wrong in here. I believe prison reform might be next ! Stay Tuned!

Love you all!!!!!

Thank you to everyone who has sent me letters and cards. I appreciate them more than you will ever know. Please keep them coming. Also, thank you to everyone who has given me some money for my commissary. It has helped so much!!!




 

Week #2 & 3 … “Again.. this is NOT Camp Cupcake!!!”

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September 14, 2017- September 28, 2017 

So, week #2 is complete. I’m learning more than I wanted to know about this life and about what is really going on in the life of the federal government. I was worried that I would make someone angry and get myself in trouble if I kept blogging.. until I was reminded about my 1st amendment rights! But really, I feel as though I no longer have any rights or any opinions at all. I must say I had absolutely no idea at all just how many people are serving years in prison over first offenses. There are hundreds of women who have been given sentences of 10, 12, and 15 years for things such as mail fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, possession of some type of drug, etc.… But when did this happen? When did first time offenders start having to do so much prison time? I am truly amazed at this situation. It is so very sad that this has turned into such a “big business”!

The set up here is the same as the set up in “Orange is the New Black”. Which took place in Danbury prison camp. It is supposedly “nicer” than this place! I’ve met some incredible women. While in the “Bus Stop” you are forced to basically sleep on top of the person next to you. The superintendent/principal of a Detroit school is on my left. We will call her Ms. J. Then Ms. TR, who is the person on my right is a very sweet girl. She hears voices. Her son’s little baby just died of SIDS and two days later her son hung himself. She cannot leave here to go to the funeral. The women in the unit took up a collection of food and made her a “basket”. She has been crying for two days. She calls me her “Ride or Die”! Ms. M, is my bunkie in the bus stop. She is in the bus stop over disciplinary action. She has done some years, and is very talented at knitting and prison cooking. Those are pretty much the women who are surrounding me in the “bus stop”! They are all waiting for a cubicle too!

My next group of women are women who came to my rescue to help me when I got here and was totally lost for the first week. Ms. W, was supposedly the “mentor”. She looks and acts like “Piper” on Orange is the New Black. She’s an attorney and should NOT be a mentor by ANY MEANS!! She certainly does not know how to help the newcomer!! I am a “Prison Newcomer” ahahah !! Ms. W, the mentor, is a snob. Her Bunkie is Ms. G, and Ms. G is really cool!! She has helped me tremendously! She is showing me the ropes. She also has a great belief in God and she has prayed with me many times these first few weeks! Finally! My new BFF is Brandy. She is in here serving a 15-year sentence for crystal meth. She has served 12 years and is hoping that the 1st offenders motion will be passed in November, and she will get out in November 2018. She is 42 years old, and she is from North Carolina. She works very hard and she is a truly fascinating young lady. I am amazed by her ability to keep a positive attitude and to stay focused on a task 100%! Then there is Granny!! (I might have to bring her home with me from here…… do not tell my family hahaha!!) Granny got arrested for selling pain pills. She has been here 2 years and she has 2 years left. She is 68 years old. I love her to death. Everyday there are more women to add to the list. This is a life of its own. I cannot imagine settling into being here for years and years. However, many are left with no choice whatsoever.

The saddest situation is that nothing mentioned on the Alderson website is offered here anymore. There are several beautiful cottages where inmates used to reside. Martha Stewart had every one of them shut down because they are full of asbestos! So, they are standing there taking up space doing nothing. EMPTY. There are no tennis courts, no swimming pools, no racquet ball etc. Nothing offered on the website is here. Nothing. There are 1,000 women here with basically nothing but idle time and a bunch of rules. Very punitive. Not rehabilitative. I am very aware that this is prison. However, the majority of inmates are here on drug charges. They need rehabilitation… DUH!!!!!

So today I finally got moved to a cubicle!!! Hurray!! My Bunkie is 31 years old. She is a heroin addict, and she was given 5 years for selling a few grams of heroin. She had 4 kids and lost her parental rights. First offense. She has been in treatment one time. She clearly needs long term treatment. I 12-stepped her las night of course and tried to get her to come to the meeting with me. She said she would come next week. I believe she will. She is full of fear and sadness. This disease has stripped her of everything. It is so very sad. She needs a chance to recover. Her group of friends are all addicts. They all need meetings. I’ll get them!! One by one. They all need educated and informed. They have no clue about addiction.

I guess I found ONE reason for why I am in here.

So, when is the new Prison reality show on the 12-step program!!!!! Getting clean in prison!!! Easy as 1,2,3,4! There is a heroin epidemic world! We need more recovery. Why is this taking so long to figure it out?? There has been a reality show on every damn thing from housewives to the Kardashians to teenage moms! Where is the 12 steppers reality show? OH! Right here! From 1960’s Drug addict to heroin addict to rehab in 1983 to Masters/Doctorate – married with 4 children- therapist- to ASI and MES to PRISON! Come on— who would NOT watch this show!! Hahaha

Well, I am all settled into my new apartment guys! I have been in prison for 3 weeks already! And I hope time continues to fly by! I will be learning to KNIT soon! Stay tuned to what is coming next!!

Thank you all sooooo much for your letters and emails!! They mean the world to me and I would never have been able to get through what has been the worst 2 years of my life without your love and support. Love you all!! #GameChanger #Wave #AheroineStory

“Camp Cupcake…..”

Week 1

Sept.7 – 14
So let me tell all of you that what I experienced this first week at FPC was NOT what I expected it to be ! I got dropped off by Barb, Harry and my hubby Sean. I hugged everyone and got in the truck with the guard. I then went to the Admissions Building! Oh God I met such an unhappy young woman! She was NOT a Happy Camper! haha I asked her questions and she “grunted”…..”Strip down, bend over, cough three times hard”……….that was the first time I could understand her GRUNTS !! She proceeded to ask me to hand her my glasses. She said,”These are PRADA. They are entirely too expensive to have here.” I told her to give them to me because I’m BLIND !

I was put in the “busstop” which is for inmates who are brand new” or inmnates who have disciplinary problems! What a perfect mix !! In other words, they mix new people who are scared to death with people who are ANGRY as hell !!! These two groups reside together for approx. two weeks or more before they are given a cubicle for two people. The cubicle has two inmates, two lockers; a desk; a bulletin and a bunk bed. Amazingly enough, the inmates are very kind, very helpful and considerate. HOWEVER, I DID get into an altercation….well, TWO altercations !! haha The little girl in the bunk next to me decided to tell me that I needed to make my bed and sweep up after myself!!! Hmmmmm….well my head was in my locker when it finally hit me………..”no she didn’t…..is she kidding?” I SLAMMED MY LOCKER DOOR and looked at her and I said, “You need to stop with that mouth and that attitude. I don’t know what your momma taught you about respecting your elders but obviously you can start with me!!!”

Two days later, the young girl on my top bunk called me over. I could see by the look on her face that she wanted to say something that I wasn’t going to LIKE ! She proceeded to tell me that my shoes needed LINED UP under my bed…..” I said, “Do I have a sign on my chest that says, ‘Come abuse me ? If you see that sign there, just ignore it and keep walking…..’ I said it very loud..and i also received a TON OF SUPPORT !! hahaha

This place is full of addicts !!! The majority of charges are drug charges. There are 1000 inmates. 900 drug charges.They offer a program called “RDAP”—-Residential Drug & Alcohol Program! People are on a waiting list to get in.It is cognitive behavioral therapy…….it teaches addicts to say NO. Like Nancy Reagan tried to do !!!!! Nancy tried to teach addicts to……….JUST SAY NO ! What a joke !!!! If it was so damn simple to muster up some willpower to just say no, there would not be a prison full of addicts or a country wide opiate epidemic killing addicts every day!

The saddest thing ever is that there is ONE and only one Narcotics Anonymous Meeting on this Compound. One. And it is NOT mandatory for anyone to attend. So the Addicts here are NOT required to attend any meetings or learn about the disease concept of addiction and many of them have never even heard of the MIRACLE OF RECOVERY let alone HOW to GET CLEAN ! There are so so many with drug related charges and first time offenders who have been sentenced to many, many years and they have never ever been to treatment. They’ve never been taught that Addiction is a disease. All of us who have been given THE GIFT OF RECOVERY or better yet, A GIFT CALLED LIFE are SO VERY FORTUNATE. Gratitude. I have been shown gratitude. I’m on a mission to get the NA meeting to GROW HERE. The other bad thing is that the meeting is at the bottom of a very very long hill that the handicap must ride a van to get down and to get back up. So, the meeting is not conducive to the handicap attending because they have no way to get there or to get back to their unit. I have to see what I can do to get that changed. Also, there needs to be an H & I meeting in here………….that’s next.

When I walked into the meeting on Tuesday night I cried. I felt safe. That same safe feeling that I felt 34 years ago when I walked into my first NA meeting on the outside. I felt love, I felt fellowship, I felt compassion………I felt recovery. I’m not sure how to carry the message in here. I shared in the meeting that Narcotics Anonymous SAVED MY LIFE AND GAVE ME A LIFE. I wanted so badly to let them all know that if they NEVER KNEW OF A BETTER WAY OF LIFE THAT THERE IS ONE. That Narcotics Anonymous can give any addict a new way to live. That they have the opportunity to be freed from the bondage of active addiction.

My son said to me, “Mum, do what you know. Do what you believe works. Go back to what you know and to what you believe.” What a profound statement out of the mouth of babes. It’s usually one of my kids that wakes me up and grounds me with no intention to do so. I’m here for a reason. I don’t want to be here. I don’t like it here. My heart aches for my family and for my friends. But God has another plan and I’m going to stick around and find out what it is. He ALWAYS has a reason for what he does………….I trust and believe it’s all in my best interest.

I’m gonna hang on………..stay tuned for Week #2………………….

Don’t bail 5 minutes before the miracle happens……………………….

#Gamechanger #Wave

Why All the Relapse? Why All the Deaths?

After being a member of narcotics anonymous for 34 years I have seen more relapse and overdoses than I care to share about. Many of these are fatal. In fact most of them are fatal. When I sit down to do an intake with someone and I ask the question “how many times have you been in rehab?” The answer to that question is unbelievable. It’s always more than 5 times or it’s 10 or 15 or 20 times. What is going on? The focus always is the drug. The focus in rehab is the drug, the focus in the 12 step program is the drug, the focus in detox is the drug and then once the addicts are amongst their peers the topic of discussion is the drug. What the addict fails to realize is that the drug is not the problem. Let me say that again what everybody fails to realize is that the drug is not a problem. Drugs feel good. Drugs feel good to everybody. Which is why alcohol is legal. And which is why marijuana is going to be legal. Because they make you feel good. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good. There is something wrong with not being able to stop using that drug. There is something wrong with not addressing why the addict feels BAD and why they have a need to use something or someone to make them feel better. Hence, enter addiction. So really the focus immediately should be on how one feels before they pick up that drug not after. We all know how somebody feels after they pick up a drug!  They feel great! No matter who they are! Oh now don’t get me wrong I know the first time that someone uses a drug they might get sick or they might throw up but after that passes they feel great. So why, when a group of 15-year-olds get together and all decide they’re going to get drunk for the first time or smoke weed for the first time are SOME of these kids unable to stop? Why do some of these kids continue to smoke weed and drink on a daily basis while others experimented once or twice and could drink or smoke weed occasionally? What is the reason for that? The reason is that those ones who were unable to stop using and who drink or smoke weed constantly are most likely the ones who do not like themselves or feel bad about themselves before they pick up the drink or drug or food or person or whatever makes him feel better. 

When this person finally goes for help they put the drug down and they are left with the same feeling that they had before they picked up the drug. Feeling of inadequacy, feeling of low self-esteem, feeling of low self-worth, the feeling of just not being good enough. Why is this not addressed immediately when they get to treatment? Why are they sitting around Rehab telling war stories? Why don’t the counselors know how to address these issues. The program is taught in rehab. And the patient is told to do 90 meetings in 90 days;  to get a sponsor; to get a home group and to pray. How they feel the minute they put the drug down is not addressed. And truthfully in the people who continue to relapse that underlying the issue is never addressed. Hence the addict goes to rehab again and again and again. Who they are and how they feel before they pick up a drink or drug or food or shopping or gambling or sex is not ever addressed. It should be addressed in rehab and in the 12 step program. Instead what’s addressed is the drug itself and the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more.
Truthfully meetings work for a while and people get some cleantime. They get 2,3,4,5,6 years clean and then they relapse and it gets worse and their addiction progresses and then they go back to rehab.

All kinds of time and energy is spent on controversy. It’s spent on who is taking Suboxone and who is on methadone and who is smoking weed and who is lying about their clean date.  
If you use drugs you go to NA; if you use food you go to OA; if you gamble you go to GA; if you use sex you go to Sex Addicts anonymous; if you use cocaine you go to CA and if you use alcohol you go to AA. Then there is Al-Anon, Naranon and Coda! They have made a complicated mess out of things. Once you realize that all of the energy is put on what a person uses instead of why they are using it the work can begin.  
There is nothing wrong with an addict taking medication and using it to assist them in their recovery such as Suboxone and or methadone. There I said it. If you want I’ll say it again. Addicts are dying every day in HUGE numbers. Dropping dead left and right. We are now supplying the world with Narcan. We continue to put a Band-Aid on the wound and we never clean out the wound itself because we are too busy worrying about whether or not that person shared in a meeting while they were taking Suboxone. That is extremely shallow.
I heard there was going to be a new rehab in Florida that addresses the underlying issues. I heard that you cannot get in this rehab unless you have been in three or more rehabilitation centers. From what I understand it does not matter what your drug of choice is to get in this treatment center. I believe it is approximately $8000 cash for a 30 day stay. No insurance accepted. That is a very cheap price to pay for that kind of rehabilitation. If you need more information on this let me know I will try my best to find it for you. Wow a rehab that figures out why the patient uses in the first place! Sounds awesome!
Well my sentencing is in less than 20 days and yes I’m a nervous wreck. I need a lot of prayers and I hope that you continue to pray for me. You have all been very very supportive and you have no idea how much that means to me. I truly can’t wait to write my book and tell the world the true story of the demise of the best treatment facility on the East Coast.  Long live ASI/MES!!

I receive phone calls daily from addicts who are very confused about Suboxone and the 12 step program. I apologize to all of you 12 steppers however my suggestion and recommendation to the addict whois on Suboxone is to keep their mouth shut and do not tell anybody. It’s just not safe to tell anybody because at this stage of the game you will be shunned from Narcotics Anonymous.
Oh I’m sure that many of you will have comments for me and will not like what I’m saying. I believe that it must be sad though. People are dying because of other people’s ignorance. This has been true for centuries. It’s time to wake up, it’s 2017.


Family…….

I have not written for over a month yet I have literally thought of writing each and every day.  When I pick up the pen, I go blank.  I have a flood of thoughts and cannot put them in any order at all.   The only thing that has any clarity or any semblance of a positive pattern in my mind is when I think of “FAMILY”.    

I want to take some time and write about family and how important the concept of family is. Being raised Italian,  the importance of family was always stressed to me. However at this stage in my life I believe that I have learned so very much more about what  family is…..who family is……and what it really means.   There are so very many many mixed messages given by the Italian people. I don’t really know how to explain this because on one hand they teach loyalty and love and on the other hand they hold onto resentments and can be very angry. Now I am speaking about my family system nobody else’s. So please do not take offense if you think that I am speaking about the entire Italian culture…..because I am not.

I was raised to believe that there were only two types of people in the world……..Italian people and those who wanted to be Italian.   I know that people laugh when they hear this…..especially Italians, unfortunately Italians believe this to be true. Let’s talk about the closeness and the tight bond between family members. There is always a lot of love and a lot of hugs and a lot of I love you’s for the babies in the family …. but something happens when you reach the age of say six or seven. If you are a little girl you could no longer sit on daddy’s lap if you are a little boy mommy can no longer hold you or hug you in fact, that behavior came to an abrupt stop, with no explanation given whatsoever.  So actually I never remembered anybody telling me that they loved me until I started to say it when I hung up the phone from my mother when I was in rehab. ….. uh, by the way I was 29 years old.

When my father died suddenly and I was only 10 years old the trauma of that impacted me and my family for the rest of our life. My Italian family rallied around me and tried to fill the void and let me know as many times as they could that I was his little girl and that he loved me very much. My older brother of 20 years had a family of his own where I felt as though I was always on the outside looking in.  My brother felt very badly for me and he tried very hard to reel me in and make me part of his family. His wife on the other hand was not too keen on the idea and did not really want to share him with his immediate family. I spent most of my time trying to please her and trying to make her like me. She tried at times to like me and she even felt bad for me at times, I could tell, but those times were very few and far between. She was not Italian.  It was very obvious. And she resented our family. Enter the dreadly in-laws!!!!!! Lol  they had seven of their own children and I spent my young adult life wishing I was part of their family.   I had another brother who was 13 years my elder and he was sort of the lost child. He also had very much respect for my older brother. We were raised to respect our elders and we were raised to believe that family is the most important thing in our lives.   My middle brothers wife was Syrian and she was raised similar to us.  I loved her and I felt as though she loved me. She was very caring and compassionate and still to this day is one of the most compassionate women I know.  She has gone out of her way to help me all of my life and for that I am very appreciative and grateful.   She is genuine.  Overall me & my two brothers are close.    We love each other. We care about each other. If there were nobody else in our lives we would be extremely close. I had to say that because I just realized that  recently.   

I used drugs between the ages of 15 and 29 and I caused an enormous  amount of pain in my family. In the world of addiction “enabling”  is a behavior that family members need to learn how to stop doing to their addict. Enabling are things like giving your addict money, giving them a place to live for free, paying their bills for them, feeding them, lying for them ………. in an Italian family enabling your addict and loving your addict are the same thing. However medically, clinically and spiritually; enabling the addict is killing them.   Trying to explain to an Italian family that they must stop enabling their addict is almost futile. The addict takes full advantage of this situation. I know that I did. I also know that my sister-in-law did not like me so she had no problem stopping any enabling that she did.  Ha ha  

During my stay at Gateway rehabilitation it was then that I realized that I had a lot of work ahead of me if I decided to stay clean. That is whenI came up with my own dual diagnosis …….the disease of addiction and the disease of Italianism.  Deciphering between the two was difficult!  And oh please don’t let me forget the disease of codependency also!   Once I got clean I realized that I was going to need a lot of therapy and a lot of twelve-step work to recover.   

I have spent my whole life  on the outside looking in.  I always wanted to be part of. I always felt different. I wasn’t rraised with a dad;  I was a drug addict; I was alone most of the time.  During  my addiction nobody wanted me around and I cannot say that I blame them one bit. 

When I learned about feelings and what they were and how I felt I was very involved in the 12 step program.I had developed some very very important relationships with people. They were my “WE”. They loved me unconditionally They listened to me when I spoke and they made eye contact with me.  They did not interrupt. When I was sad, they were sad.  When I cried; they cried, when I laughed, they laughed .   I learned how to have friends. Those people became my  “FAMILY” . 

I had 4 children. And I had learned so much about what type of family I wanted to create. I wanted them to be loyal to each other, I wanted them to have each other’s back’s at all times, I wanted them to be able to talk to each other and allow each other to express their feelings, I wanted them to not judge each other, I wanted them to love each other unconditionally,  I wanted them to know that there was nothing more important than family. So I went on to raise my kids and watch them grow and teach all the things that I wanted from a family.  Some of the things came from my family system.  I told my kids they were Italian. Ha ha. I carried many of my families traditions, even the dysfunctional ones.   But mainly my kids learned that they had each other no matter what. They believe that everything will be OK as long as they have each other.

Family is not always blood.  And I know that you know that. The crisis that me and my family have been through this past year has taught us so very very much about other people.  The people who have stepped up to help are people who were never really close to me. Suddenly those people showed up. And I believe they showed up because they are people with compassion and people who feel  and they are givers. And the people who I thought were close to me were the ones who betrayed me. All I can say is………….”wow”.

And finally, this disaster is coming to an end.  I will be sentenced on June 27. God will show up. This is all in his hands…. I want to say a big big thank you to all of you who have supported me and my family. We appreciate it more than words could ever express. You know who you are and we know who you are. You know who you aren’t and we know who you aren’t.   🙄

The Sugarmann Family will prevail and we will get through whatever is coming our way with the love & support of our extended family & friends.  I am forever grateful to those of you who are here for us and as for the remainder of you back stabbing, low life takers and two faced hypocrites………..well, never mind….I’ll pray for you   ❤️❤️💋💋💋💋❤️❤️🌷🌷👍🏼


Doing the wrong thing for the right reason …………

My sentencing is coming up in May.  It’s getting pretty close. It’s always on my mind!! I feel kind of ridiculous when I look back and take an inventory of what really happened that put me in this position. More than all of that what I really can’t wrap my head around is the fact that I lived through active addiction for 15 years without doing any prison time.  Then, I managed to build a successful life with 33 years clean; crawling on my hands and  knees to the top only to finally stand up; take some steps; start walking; trip over some rocks; continue to walk then one day find myself falling down and go crashing back down to the bottom…..where I started 33 years ago.  Starting over ……….I really can’t say much…I’m still not allowed. My Attorney tells me once a week to make sure I don’t talk !! Do you know what it is like for Roz Sugarmann to keep her mouth shut?   One day when I write my book I won’t have to keep my mouth shut!

So in the meantime, what I CAN  talk about is what my life is like and who I am today. Maria (my daughter), Loopy & I were talking about what it would be like if there were only one 12 step program for everybody.  By everybody I mean anyone and everyone who fills the void in the pit of their stomach with something or someone that makes them feel better!  If I look back on my life to when I was a child I remember the “hole” I had in my gut.  My father died suddenly when I was 10 years old and that is when I identify having that “hole”.  Between 10 years old and 15 years old I can remember never feeling OK. At age 15 I picked up marijuana and I literally felt a sigh of relief. I continued to fill that hole in my gut with anything that made me not have to feel the void that was there. So I believe between the ages of say 15 and 29 I spent my life filling the void so I could be OK. The only time I felt OK is when I was using.  I remember waking up one morning in rehab after I had kicked the heroin withdrawal and realizing that I felt that same hole all over again.  I tried so hard to hide it and to pretend like it just wasn’t there. Unfortunately that didn’t work. There needs to be a fellowship where ALL of us can go who have a void and who try to fill it with drugs, alcohol, food, sex, pornography, shopping, cigarettes, gambling, Heroin, chicken wings, cocaine, Work, Money…….you name it !!!! If we could identify that void prior to filling it maybe just maybe we would be able to work on ourselves instead of focusing so much on what or how we used!  Some might worry that the process of identification would be lost.  I believe that the process of identification would strengthen.   Wouldn’t it be awesome to work in a rehab and share in group about how we felt BEFORE we picked up whatever we used to fill the void. 

Many years ago, I was sitting in my therapists office beating myself up because of what a loser I felt like because of my drug use.  I’ll never ever forget what he said ….he looked straight in my eyes and said “there was nothing stupid about you using drugs…..considering the emotional pain you were in, using heroin to numb that pain was a pretty smart thing to do….”.      After hearing those words, a lightbulb went off !  My first spiritual awakening ever!!!    The beauty of all 12 step programs is the “WE”.  The support that is there for each other.  

Over the years I have seen many patients. All of them were broken. They were all filling a void with something.  They were all in pain….and somewhere in their family was the “big white elephant” of “addiction.”    I don’t want it to be called addiction though ….I want to call it “using something instead of dealing with the pain”.    

I have to say that over the past year; I have had many losses…..ASI, Mary E. Steratore Rehab, 800 patients, the “I to We” Recovery Houses, possibly my home, my husbands health, an income, several material things, several overdoses of my patients.   It has been a year of losses.    I have been forced to take a personal inventory of myself.   

I have learned that many times I do the “wrong thing for the right reasons.” 

And now that I am aware of this; maybe and I mean maybe I will be willing to stop and think before I react.   

Remember though…..I said “maybe”.   

“1985 pic of old NA “

You Have to Give to Get!!! Part 1

  Did anyone see the HUGE COLORFUL RAINBOW 🌈 on Washington Blvd tonight ???  It was PHENOMENAL !  I’ve been praying for a miracle for quite some time.  God always comes through in our darkest moment. 

I’m writing to let you all know that as I was surfing the internet I got a text message that read “If you believe that in order to have anything you must give to others …….. call me at 1-800-blah blah blah…..”.  So of course being inquisitive as I am, I called and left a message !  A woman returned my call the next day.       She was bubbly and enthusiastic!  She said, “So what made you call me Roz?”  I let her know that l believe that everything happens for a reason and that my famous last words are “you gotta give to get…”!!    So the woman on the phone (her name is Merry; spelled just like that!) went on to tell me about a new way to make a lot of money by “giving to others!”  

It is called “FUND MY CAUSE”!!

So now….. I’m so excited to ask each and every one of you for your help !!!  I have been researching this for the past several days and it sounds like something that all  of us can do and make money!!    It is connected to “Bitcoins”!   Read up on Bitcoins. Get some information!!  I’ll be posting information …. if you have any questions right them down !!!

Go to http://www.fundmycause.net and click on how it works.   Shoot me a text after you read up on it and I’ll explain !  Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you !!!  The monetary investment is approx. $48.00.   You need $48.00 and two people you can bring in who want to make money !!!!    If you want to join here’s the link you MUST USE in order to sign up under me…..

http://fundmycause.net/ref/c5c720eb14

I’m going to “blog you down” with information about this!!!  I was telling my friend today that asking people for money is something that I just cannot do. I’m really no good at it !!!  However, I have no problem asking you to please let me sign you up for FUND MY CAUSE because we BOTH GET TO BENEFIT !!!   Hence, I help you and you help me !!!  Give it some thought and tell me if you are willing!!!!!   

Things are looking up a little !  God is answering my prayers. He gives me little signs and He speaks through others !!  Let’s do this…I need you to do it !!

412-292-8899—-FEEL FREE TO TEXT ME!!!

I look forward to getting a text from you!!!