Mindfulness in stressful times

It has become increasingly difficult for me to go on social media sites due to the impressive amount of negative information.

Between the heroin epidemic and the current political environment, the world definitely feels like a scary place right now.

In times like these, I try to remind myself to practice mindfulness. It is through mindfulness meditation that I am able to center myself and not become overwhelmed by the negativity.

Here is one of my favorite quick exercises. I hope you are able to utilize it as we all go through our daily stresses.

Where are your feet?

In times of panic, sometimes we lose where we are in this world.

We rocket into the future, or delve deep into the past.

It is during these times that we need to focus on where our feet are.

Are they firmly planted on the ground?

Are they dangling from a bus seat or office chair?

How do your feet feel in your shoes?

Do they swish around?

Do they fit snuggly and comfortably?

Is there a spot in the shoe that feels uncomfortable?

If so, sit with the uncomfortableness. Do not judge it.

Move your toes around in your shoes.

Feel your toes the top and the bottom of the shoe.

If you are barefoot, feel the air between your toes

Feel the air above and below your feet.

Feel the texture of the ground beneath your feet.

Slowly bring your awareness back to the rest of your body.

You are present in this very moment of time.

You are okay.

“We Can’t Arrest Ourselves out of This Problem”

Prison Stats.PNG
Screen grab taken from BOP Statistics

If you watched the recent special, “Dope Man” on A&E Network, you might have heard Tim Ryan say, “We can’t arrest ourselves out of this problem.”


But what does that mean?

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 46.2% of the current prison population is incarcerated on drug offenses. This percentage is a stark contrast to other populations, with the second highest offense, Weapons Explosives and Arson, following far behind with only 17%.

I want it to sink in that almost half of the US prison population has been convicted on a drug charge. Almost half.

Although addiction may cause individuals to commit acts that warrant consequences, it is saddening to know that close to 80,000 people will not be receiving the treatment they desperately need for their progressive and chronic disease – addiction.

I contribute this mainly to the stigma of addiction. Many people believe addicts need the structure and adversity of prison. While this may work for some people, it is a gross misstep to believe that putting an addict in prison will “heal” them.

As Tim Ryan said in “Dope Man,” If you lock a cancer patient up in a cell would you expect them to be released in a month cancer free?”

We need to start looking at addiction in the same way.

Addiction IS a progressive and chronic disease. Illinois alone saw a 7.6% increase in overdose deaths from 2014-2015, according to the CDC.

We need to urge lawmakers to start looking at addiction in this way, and to stop punishing people for their illness.

I believe if we started actually rehabilitating addicts instead of throwing them into a prison cell, we would save our towns from the crime that go hand-in-hand with addiction.

The war on drugs has largely failed, and it is up to future generations to repair the damage that this mass incarceration of drug addicts has caused.

Addicts need help, not jail cells.

Overwhelmed with Love & Support

After last night’s airing of A&E’s “Dope Man,” we have been overwhelmed with love and support from people across the nation.

Hundreds of phone calls, text messages, and Facebook page requests have been flooding in and we are doing everything we can to get back to them as soon as possible.

It is our hope, with the airing of this show, people will gain a better understanding of what addiction is. How it affects families. How it can exist anywhere, and take a hold of anyone.

The drug epidemic can seem incredibly overwhelming at times. Many people have told me personally that they could not work in this field because it is “too depressing.” Or they say, “The success rate is so low, how could you do this?” “This field will chew you up and spit you out.”

I doubt those people have witnessed the true beauty of recovery. I doubt they have seen the color return to someone’s face as they begin to grasp sobriety and feel alive for the first time in a long time. Although these transformations can be few and far between, when they happen it is nothing short of magic.

We hope that “Dope Man” provided a glimpse, not only into the dark world of drug addiction but the light and hope that comes with a flourishing recovery.

We are so thankful to those at A&E who believed in this show, and to those who have continued to support AMIRF throughout the years. We promise to continue to guide and direct addicts into treatment and to continue bringing individuals from Dope to Hope, one addict at a time.

Your House Your Rules: Why parent’s need to reclaim their kid’s technology

With the near-constant onslaught of text messages, social media notifications and the power of the world wide web at their child’s fingertips, it can be difficult for a parent to monitor what is going on in the palm of their child’s hand.

But is it really important to know everything that is going on in your child’s life? They deserve their privacy, right?

As long as they are paying for the device being used, a parent has every right to go through it.

Endless possibilities, endless dangers

The trouble with technology is that it can be used for good and evil. It can be used to form and maintain connections, to entertain, or to document and share ideas. Yet, it can also open the door for faceless bullying, inappropriate content, drugs, and the dark web.

The device you are paying for might be the key to your child’s gateway drug or ruthless bullying.

Warning Signs

If you notice that your child has changed friend groups, isolated themselves from family and friends, or has a lack of motivation, it is probably too late.

As a parent and provider, you always have the ability to protect your children before these warning signs occur.


There are resources available to you if you are concerned about what is on your child’s technology.

BeSure Consulting, created by Detective Richard Wistocki, provides monitoring software and other resources to help keep your child safe.

And if you have any other questions, please contact AMIRF at 844-611-HOPE (4673) and we would be happy to provide you with more resources.

The fight against drug abuse and cyberbullying begins at home. Do not make the mistake of waiting until it is too late.

Please reach out if you need any help.

The Good Fight

We at AMIRF are fighting a battle against addiction. And unfortunately, as with any fight, there are casualties.

Since his son passed on Aug. 1, 2014, the founder and CEO of AMIRF, Tim Ryan, has attended 103 funerals.

The incredible weight of the opiate epidemic in this country is not lost on us at AMIRF. But we still wake up every morning, put on our armor and continue to fight the good fight.

There is hope for recovery.

There are people in this world that are fighting for you and your family.

So, we urge you to not give up hope. Yes, the sting of so many losses in our community can almost be unbearable. But we must remember that there are people who make it out of this disease alive. There are people that win this battle.

If you or someone you love is looking to be guided and directed towards help, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Thank you for continuing to help us in the fight.

Darek Horan (630)-730-8323
Ashley Buffano (847)-361-0422
Tim Ryan (312)-502-8671
Chris Reed (847) 307-1143

Accustomed to the Chaos

Odds are, at some point in your life you will find yourself in a “toxic” relationship.

As soon as you point your finger, another is pointed back at you.

Towards the end, everything becomes one jumbled mess of pain and heartache. A lot of the time, once it’s over,  we wonder why we stayed for so long.

I know from my experience, I am not completely absent from blame. Many times both parties in the relationship had been victimized and the tangled web of hurtful words and actions became indistinguishable.

It took a frank conversation with family members to get me to the point of ending the relationship. But, no matter how much I had been hurt and knew I hurt him I STILL craved a relationship with this person.

Toxic relationships can do this to a person.

At a certain point, we become accustomed to the chaos.

But why do we continue to put ourselves through this?

Why do we not get out of the relationship before its wreckage has piled up so high it seems impossible to break through?

I wish I had answers. But no how many articles I read about toxic relationships, or how many times my family members came to me with worried eyes after an explosive phone call, I was not able to see how this relationship was deeply affecting me.

I can not emphasize enough the importance of listening to yourself and your feelings, while also understanding you cannot fix people.

If you start noticing behaviors in your relationship that are troubling or cause you distress, do not ignore them. Saying “I love you” more, or spending more time with that person will probably not make that person love you any more.

If you feel unappreciated, giving your significant other the world will likely not change that. Making unhealthy sacrifices in your own life to make them feel more secure will not make everything better.

We tend to think each bad fight might be the last one, each hurtful comment, each tearful phone call will be the last time.

It’s not. I promise.

If you find yourself settling into this pattern, I urge to you look at your relationship from a loved one’s perspective. Often times I would use the excuse, “My parents don’t know my relationship. They do not see all the good things he’s done for me.” But they did hear me yelling from my bedroom on the phone, or crying after trying to prove to my significant other that I was not seeing anybody else.

Since ending my relationship, I have truly found myself. Instead of putting all of my energy into “fixing” it  and contributing to the chaos that it was, I am now taking care of myself.

I started focusing on friendships I had neglected during the duration of my relationship and have apologized to those I hurt with my absence.

The damage and chaos of a toxic relationship is not worth the absence of loneliness being with someone provides.

If you feel that you may be involved in a toxic relationship, lean on those that love you. And realize you are not alone. Making the decision to end a relationship is always scary. Nobody wants to feel alone, or like they failed.

But I promise you, as you begin to heal, you will know it is the best decision you ever made.

What Are You Willing to do for Your Recovery?

As 2017 comes around the corner, a lot of us are making New Years resolutions. 

Whether it’s to lose a couple pounds, quit smoking or to start and/or continue on your road to recovery, a new year always seems like a great time to start. 

But what are you willing to do for your resolution? What are you willing to do for your recovery? 

When difficult times fall upon you, are you going to reach out to your sponsor? Or are you going to reach for a drink? 

Are you willing to make amends to those you have hurt or wronged in the past? Are you willing to clean your side of the street, even though that may not fix everything? 

Recovery does not suck, but it is also not a cake walk. And there are times where you will be uncomfortable. 

But you need to be willing to walk through those times, and reach out to those who want the best for you to get you through it. 

If you are willing to put in the work, we are willing to guide and direct you to places that can get you there. 

Recovery does not suck, and there is so much hope. Happy New Years from A Man in Recovery Foundation and please reach out to us if you need help on your journey to recovery. 

Darek Horan (630)-730-8323

Ashley Buffano (847)-361-0422

Tim Ryan (312)-502-8671

Chris Reed (847) 307-1143

Slow Down

“Slow your brain down.”

If I had a dollar for every time my mother had to tell me this.

In this day and age, we are expected to carry the world on our shoulders and then some. We are expected to know about current events, execute tasks effectively and correctly, while we provide for those we love. And still, at the end of the day, we are expected to be a decent human being.

It can get difficult at times.

Especially when the world feels like it is spinning faster than you can keep up with, and sometimes you are not able to do all that is expected of you. Or, in my case, you start to lose credit cards, cell phones, pretty much anything that is important to you.

During this stressful holiday season, it is so important that we remember to slow down and appreciate every moment. There is an incredible amount of pressure to keep up with everything and everyone, but sometimes you can’t.

And that is okay.

If you are feeling extra anxiety during this time, I suggest you try this mindfulness exercise. It helps me get grounded and reminds me to just slow my brain down and focus on one thing at a time. ]

Happy Holidays everyone, remember to be mindful and present.

Hand Mindfulness Exercise