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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Setting Boundaries on your Vacation by Patricia Petrusik

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Pittsburgh is finally getting some days of sun in between the rain drops. Schools are done for the term and people are planning on vacations. For a person in recovery there really is not a safe vacation from the power of addiction.  Recovery is a day by day effort not to use a substance that will take over your life.  Can an alcoholic have just one drink and be okay.... maybe?  Can a person just released from rehab take heroin... maybe?  However, the odds are that the one drink will trigger the alcoholic to drinking again and the odds are that doing heroin again after rehab will kill the person as his tolerance has changed.

Yet we all need a vacation from our jobs, our responsibilities, our problems. Going back to using is not a vacation from life.

Boundaries are being blurred these days as people debate the use of marijuana. Most people are in favor of medical marijuana and many are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.  Marijuana can be detected in your system from one to thirty days. It depends on the amount and your metabolism. It can be detected in your hair for several months. Some states have legalized recreational marijuana, the federal government has not. What is your company policy on marijuana?  Let's say you smoke some joints over the weekend. You show up for work Monday. It is still in your system and your company invites you for a random drug test?  What if you are in a car accident after smoking a joint?  Are you driving under the influence and subject to criminal charges?

An article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Elvina Nawaguna discusses the shortage of truck drivers. Part of the blame is the legalization of marijuana and its use. Truck companies do not want drivers under the influence driving big expensive trucks. If you had surgery scheduled for Monday, how comfortable would you feel if you know your surgeon had used marijuana over the weekend?  Legal or not, the effects would be the same.  A person's decision making, concentration, and memory are altered by the marijuana use sometimes for days. When a young person starts using on a regular basis, their brain development is impaired. Many people think marijuana is a gateway drug. I worked with addicts for a long time. The vast majority of them started with alcohol and then marijuana. The average age of onset for my clients was age nine so I am one of these people who think that marijuana is a gateway drug.

I think vacations are necessary and people need to relax, chill out have some fun and bond with their families and friends. But, I do not suggest that people in recovery take a vacation from their abstinence. Find better ways to relax and enjoy those summer days. Enjoy the simple things in life and think about how marijuana use can affect your life and especially your jobs.

Another Year, Another Staycation by Fran Joyce

July 2019 What's for Dinner? Ask Linda