Sunday, September 8, 2013

"Does someone's drinking bother you"?


One of the public service announcements for Al-Anon says,


"Are you bothered by someone's drinking?

I always laugh when I hear that. When you live with someone with active alcoholism or addiction it is a little more than being  "bothered".

BOTHERED  is a fly that won't go away!

BOTHERED is slow traffic!

BOTHERED is poor service at a restaurant!

When you live with active addiction you are slightly more than


There are days you feel like you are losing your mind. There are days you think  that the most logical thing to do is to just get in your car and keep driving.
When something is bothering you, you know that the way you are feeling will go away, and that in a few minutes or maybe even hours you will go back to feeling normal again.
When you are living in active addiction you become consumed with someone else's behavior. You live in constant fear of what the next knock on the door or phone call will mean.
There IS no relief from the fear and worry that rules your every waking moment. When you live with active addiction it feels as if you have fallen into a dark hole and can find no way out.
 Each day more and more dirt is piled on top of you and you fear that one day you will just die,
 alone on the floor of this cold, dark hole.
But you hold on...
You wake up to another day
and you are still alive
The dirt keeps piling on,
 and you keep doing the next indicated thing and slowly,
one day your eyes open,
and you see that you are no longer at the bottom of that dark hole.
 There is warm sunshine on your face,
you can see the blue sky and hear the birds chirping.
YOU stand up and see that
All that dirt that piled up around you
has filled in the hole and you can



Friday, September 6, 2013

Better Days Ahead

There is a moment when you decide to stop fighting and accept what is. A moment when you can finally see that all your attempts to beg, plead, lecture, and force your solutions on the addict have not changed the situation. There is a moment when you can see clearly for the first time that you
It's as if you suddenly find yourself behind the wheel of a sailboat on unfamiliar waters. At first you are frightened and unsure that you will know what to do or which way to turn. Slowly you relax and you begin to feel the warm sun on your face, the cool breeze blowing your hair. Your eyes focus on the horizon as you feel your heart race with the excitement of what is ahead.
 You never, ever forget what you left behind but you accept that you
and you pray that one day your past and your present lives will converge again but for today you make the life you have been given the very best life you can.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The t-shirt controversy continues

Parents Outraged By Kitson Drug T-Shirts - Los Angeles Local News, Weather, and Traffic#.UiANaoVRD8Y.facebook#.UiANaoVRD8Y.facebook

That mom who spoke up on this interview was Jodi Barber from Overtaken She lost her son Jared to an overdose of Opana which is another prescription drug that teens are abusing.

Way to go Jodi. You are amazing.

It is so amazing what can happen when people ban together to accomplish a goal

I am so happy to know these amazing women who have all lost a child to a prescription drug overdose. They have all taken the tragedy their families experienced and are educating the public about prescription drug overdoses.
When Kitson stores displayed t-shirts with the words, Xanax, Adderall, and Vicodin on them Facebook was flooded with protest from parents who have experienced the first hand destruction these drugs have caused either by addiction or overdoses. In just a few days the local news in Southern California was reporting on it, Brian Lichtenberg's facebook page and website was flooded with letters from angry parents, the three companies who own the trademark names were notified and are now talking about the legal ramifications of their names being used without permission. Today the story was broadcast on the national news after actress Kirstin Johnson who is in Recovery joined the campaign to get the t-shirts off the market.
Natalie Costa, who produced Behind the Orange Curtain, wrote this on facebook today,
"This is how the national media storm started. I tweeted Kristen and she went re/tweeted - so don't ever underestimate the power of social media. Thanks! Kristen Johnston. We waged rallied the troupes, waged a war, and got results. Next big thing --- get Kristen's school funded. People buy a shirt - help open SLAM! Sober Living High School in NYC."
Never underestimate the power we have to create change.  I am so grateful to have met so many amazing people who are tirelessly working to educate the public about the prescription pill epidemic we are experiencing all across the country.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Think this may promote drug use? YOU THINK???

I always check my Facebook page when I wake up and this is what Natalie Costa of Behind the Orange Curtain had posted. It seems these t-shirts are for sale in LA stores and are selling out.  


Natalie immediately went to battle and started posting these pictures on Facebook as well as some contact numbers to let the designer know that we have a prescription drug epidemic going on in this country. She also contacted the press. Last night Natalie was interviewed as well as  random people in front of the store that was displaying the t-shirts.

One mother holding her toddler said,

" I think their kind of funny, their cute"

Are you kidding me?

 Funny? Cute?

Parents of teens today are in a battle everyday to keep their teens away from drugs. It's not enough that we have to fight the music industry but now the clothing industry is bombarding our kids with these messages.

How ignorant are these people? When Natalie spoke to the designer yesterday morning he stated that he knew nothing about the prescription pill epidemic. Seriously? 

 I have been appalled at comments on Natalie's FB page. Some have said, "it's just a t-shirt".  Then there are the people that think we just need to educate our kids about drugs and they will "just say no" We know how that worked with the Dare Program.

Please join us in having your voice heard. If we say nothing Brian Lichtenberg will continue to produce this crap. Brian says," If they open the door to a much needed dialogue, as they seem to be doing then mission accomplished".  Brian didn't even know about the thousands of lives lost to prescription pills in our Country when Natalie contacted him yesterday. He is full of BS. He doesn't care about the kids, the families or the impact on our culture. Let's be honest, he is in it for the money.
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Letting Go

We just returned from a visit with our son.
To be perfectly honest with you, I told my husband I just wanted to get away and it just so happens that our son lives near my favorite get-away spot.
So I have to admit I left with a bit of an expectation. I thought....... since we were so close ....... we might be able to slip in a dinner with him or a short visit in the 3 days we would be in town.
I knew he was working and that he would only have one day off while we were in town.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS....................
After our short visit with him before we headed home
We finished the lunch my husband and I brought to his apartment and then our son reminded us that he had a lot to do.
We were only there about 45 minutes when he let us know that we should get on our way.
His room-mate and his girlfriend were in the room at the time and I was really hurt and embarrassed. The whole 7 hour car ride home I reflected on my hurt feelings.
Was it WHAT he said?
Was it HOW he said it?
Was it WHO he said it in front of?
Was it honest?
Was it the truth?
I knew before I even left home that our son was REALLY BUSY.
I knew that his first day off was the day we would be leaving town.
We hadn't checked with him BEFORE making plans to see if he would have time to see us.
We just made the plans and THEN informed him we were coming! (rude)
ASSUMING he would fit us in.
it makes an ASS out of U and ME!
What I have decided is........
my feelings were hurt, but he had a right to say what he said.

Today I will be reflecting on what my part was, expectations, assuming,and treating my son like an adult with courtesy and respect

Sunday, August 18, 2013

"We have traveled a rocky road, there is no mistake about that."



"We have had long rendezvous with hurt, pride, frustration, self- pity, misunderstanding and fear." 

Every once in awhile I come across some little reminder of the ROCKY ROAD  our family has been on. Our son has not lived in our home for many years and yet, I continue to come across mementos of his life in and out of sobriety.

The past  few weeks I have been cleaning out closets and boxes marked "keepsakes".

 Tucked away in the bottom of a box of treasures I found an AA chip.  As I sat starring into the bottom of that box I thought about how many times my son brought an AA  chip home and proudly presented it to me. The first 24 hour chip and then the next 30 day chip brought with them hope for better days. I had no idea how many of those 24 hour and 30 day chips would end up scattered throughout my house.

As I was sorting through a  box of cards and letters from our children I found tucked between the sweet handwritten notes a letter our son wrote from jail.

 Today I was organizing my computer files I was reminded once again of the ROCKY ROAD we've been on. When I opened the file with my son's name on it  there were documents labeled, COURT RECORDS, RESTITUTION, ARREST RECORD.

When I opened my husbands file I was reminded of the deep hurt he experienced
several years ago. His file contained a letter he wrote our son after a particularly difficult time in our lives.

Chapter 8 of the big book says, "we had a long rendezvous with hurt, pride, frustration, self- pity, misunderstanding and fear. "


We have all worked really hard over the years to LET GO of the past. Most days our lives are filled with the blessings of peace and serenity that recovery bring.

 Some days God lets the wreckage of our past surface and we are reminded that the bumps in the road are smaller these days

we are reminded that  the moments of joy we experience in our family today are

oh so good.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Walking through addiction

When I decided to name this blog Walkingthroughaddiction I had no idea where our son's drug addiction would take us. We had been to some pretty dark places and there were times I didn't think we would ever see the light again. The journey through addiction is like a bad dream that you can't wake up from; a cycle of pain and heartache.  Just when you make it through one crisis you are faced with another one. I had become numb and was filled with hopelessness and despair.
When I finally found myself in the rooms of Al-Anon I began to hold on to a glimmer of hope that things could get better. People would say, "wait for the miracles". I stayed because I desperately wanted to believe that things could change. And although our family continued to struggle I began to witness miracles in other peoples lives. It brought me hope that one day our lives would be better. I CAME TO BELIEVE that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. I slowly came out of the fog I had been in and began to enjoy my life again. I learned that I had choices and that although I couldn't control my son's addiction I could control the path that I chose to be on.
I am thankful to say that our whole family is walking on a path of recovery today.
 The journey we are on is filled with peace, serenity, joy and laughter.
A few weeks ago our son came for a visit and we took a walk to the river where I was overwhelmed with gratitude as I watched my son and his girlfriend gaze at the river.
These two young people fought a hard fight to find their way THROUGH addiction.
They are committed to staying on a path that will lead them to continued sobriety.
We don't know what tomorrow will bring but
for today I am filled with gratitude! I am so glad I stuck around the rooms long enough to witness miracles in my life and the lives of these two young people as well as countless others.

Calls from Jail

Now and then I hear a parent in a meeting talk about the collect calls they receive from jail. In fact, tonight at my meeting a woman was speaking about the recent collect calls  her son had been making from the county jail. She mentioned that there really isn't a lot to talk about when he calls and that sometimes she just feels depressed after speaking with him. I remember all too vividly the overwhelming sadness I felt the first time I accepted a collect call from my son who was locked up. He was frightened and begged me to get him out. It was heartbreaking but I knew he needed to stay where he was. When I hung up the phone that day I vowed to never again accept a call from a correctional facility.

Today as I walked into a public restroom I heard a mother accepting a collect call from her son. I am not sure she realized that she was on speaker phone but I could hear both sides of the conversation. The young man sounded cheerful and happy to hear his mother's voice, the mother on the other hand seemed surprised and a bit weary. She told him she had expected him to call this evening. She then went on to say that she would put money on his books later this afternoon.

Only a parent who has been through the minefields of addiction would understand what was behind that brief encounter between a mother and her child.  I walked out of that restroom and said a silent prayer for that mother and her son.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Life through glasses blurred by addiction

Yesterday I was enjoying a relaxing afternoon getting my hair done when the teenaged son of one of the hairdressers came in asking his mother for gas money.  Before his mother gave him the money she asked the typical questions; where are you going, and who are you going with. My mind immediately reacted the way I did when my son was using drugs. I was suspicious. My first thought was "he is lying". Then I thought "he wants to buy drugs". When he told her he was going to a movie I thought to myself , "no he isn't". As the young man left his mother explained to her client that her son had been volunteering at their church all summer doing landscaping. She went on to explain how proud she was of him and what a good kid he was.

It made me think how distorted my thinking has become. Living with the lies and deception of addiction for so long has jaded me. I see the world through the lenses blurred by addiction now. For the past 10 years I have attended at least two Al-Anon meetings a week. Twice a week for over 10 years  I have sat in rooms filled with anywhere from 50-100 parents whose lives have been turned upside down because of their child's drug use. I have met at least a dozen families who have lost their child to a drug overdose. I have become a well informed parent and a professional student of addiction studies. My son's drug use became very apparent to me shortly after he began experimenting with drugs. It was impossible for me not to see the changes in his behavior and his appearance. For some parents it takes a couple of years before they recognize the signs of addiction. They may sense that something is "not quite right" but they don't want to accept the fact that their child may be using drugs. They rest in the comfort of denial. It provides a false sense of security.  I was forced out of denial long ago. I don't think I will ever again see life through rose colored glasses. There are moments like yesterday that I miss the bliss of denial. I have to remember there really are teenagers who "just say no" to drugs. There are teenagers who don't have to lie to their parents about where they are going or who they are with. There are teenagers who know how to have fun without using drugs or alcohol.
There are families who will never face the nightmare of addiction that my family and thousands of others have had to face. I forget that sometimes. The blurred lens of addiction has hardened me.

Afflicted By Addiction | VoiceAmerica™

Afflicted By Addiction | VoiceAmerica™

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

There was a time that my life revolved around my son's addiction. 
It seems like I was either trying to prevent the next crisis or cleaning up the mess of the previous one. There were short periods where my son was sober for several months but I was unable to relax and enjoy my life because I was preparing for the next crisis. I lived my life feeling anxious and depressed. That has changed for me. Through my own recovery I came to realize that my son was grown now and although he was living a very risky lifestyle, it was HIS life to live. It didn't matter how much I loved him, or how much I feared losing him, I could never change the course of his life. That was HIS JOB
What I could change was THE COURSE OF MY LIFE. I came to see that his addiction had taken me down a dark and  bumpy road, but I didn't have to stay there. I have heard it said, "Let go or be dragged", and that was what I decided to do. I decided if I was going to have a purposeful life I needed to let go of my son and follow the path that brought joy and meaning into my life. I think I had to accept that the path that my son was on could lead to his death and I had no control over that. I had to live my life in a way that I would be able to go on if I lost my son. It was not easy. I had a lot of grieving to do. I had to accept that the dreams I had for my son may never come true but that I could and would dream new dreams.
  I saw my life as a gift that I had been wasting. I began to see the blessings in my life that I had taken for granted. I saw that I had other family members who loved me and needed me present in their lives. I saw that  I had been missing out on sharing precious moments in their lives because I was not emotionally available to anyone else. I began to start and end each day counting my blessings. 
I know there were times my son felt abandoned but I knew in my heart if I was going to survive I had to let go. I came to see that I was wasting the life God had given me filled with worry and fear and I had to make a decision to do something different. When I turned and walked toward a new path my heart was heavy but I knew it was best for myself as well as my son. Today I am so grateful that I had the strength to do that and that my son found his way home. Life is good. Be patient, be believing, Trust God. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't

When you love someone affected by addiction there is certainly drama. 
It's the fallout of this disease. As the parent of an Addict it took me a long time to realize that my life became unmanageable every time I chose to be a part of the drama. When I took phone calls from my son when he was active in his addiction I would get sucked right into the current crisis.  I didn't realize how quickly I was making his problems mine. When I became immersed in his drama I was not available emotionally or physically for anyone else in my life. It's very difficult for most addicts to maintain any sense of normalcy when they are using. It's nearly impossible to keep a job or pay the bills. Promises are made and broken until relationships are destroyed. As a parent it is hard to stand back and watch the destruction that Addiction is causing in our child's life. It took me a very long time to accept that


My attempts to jump in and put out the fire were only fueling it. Every time I stepped in and took away the consequence of my son's addiction it kept him from seeing the devastation of his addiction.
We hear the slogan "Let Go, and Let God." in the rooms of Al-anon. The first step to me getting better was learning to let go of the controlling, step away from the drama and turn my son over to his higher power.

I never stopped loving my son. I never gave up hope. I never stopped believing he could get better. I just accepted that I couldn't do it for him. I accepted that he had a higher power who loved him more than I ever could and that he would be there to carry my son when he needed it.

When my son was in the darkest moments of despair and he would call me I simply told him I loved him and would be here when he was ready for recovery. It was painful. It broke my heart but I knew in my heart that my letting go of him was what he needed to find his way home.

When my son was in his disease I prayed for him night and day. I woke up several times a night filled with worry and I got on my knees and turned him over to his higher power once again. Those were difficult times but they brought me closer to my higher power than I have ever been. As my higher power brought me peace and comfort and came to see that if he was there for me he would be there for my son as well.

Letting go wasn't easy. It still isn't easy. Even with my son sober I find myself wanting to manage his recovery. It's not my job. How he works his program is his business. I have to remember daily to focus on the things that I have power over and that pretty much is just my life.  When I begin to get in other people's business my life becomes unmanageable again. I don't want to go back to where I once was. Life is too short. Today I am working on gratitude and accepting the things and can not change and changing the things I can.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Addiction changed my life

When I held my first baby in my arms 33 years ago I never would have imagined the direction my life would take. The early years of babies in diapers, watching them learn to walk and talk swept quickly by followed by soccer games and karate lessons. Then it was school dances and football games. All this to be replaced by the nightmare of Addiction. In AA they refer to the destruction that follows Addiction as "the wreckage of our past". Our family soon became engulfed in that collision course.

Today we are coming out the other side of that nightmare but my view of the world is forever changed. When I hear about someones house being robbed my first thought goes to the perpetrator not the victim. I assume it was a young person desperate to feed their drug habit. When I see a young person wandering aimlessly down the street asking strangers for money I see someone looking for their next high. When I hear about shop owners carrying guns and homeowners shooting intruders I don't see a "junkie loser who deserves it", I see another victim of Addiction.

A few days ago a young man approached me as I was on my morning walk. He asked for some spare change. His designer clothes were disheaveled, his hair unwashed and his face wore the fresh bruises of the previous nights brawl. I told him I didn't have any money. As he walked away I couldn't help myself and I yelled over my shoulder "go home". He replied back, "I don't have a home." My thoughts went to the mother who probably bought him those new tennis shoes who was home hoping and praying that her boy was safe. I saw him again yesterday as I sat in the coffee shop he came in to use the phone. I saw him scurry to a corner table and I heard the words "mom" followed by "I'm OK mom".  My heart broke for them both. When he hung up the phone he looked like a lost soul. I asked him over and I said, "I knew you had a home". He told me he did and that he had been speaking with his mom. He told me he knew he was breaking her heart. He joined me for a brief conversation. I could tell he missed his mom. I learned that he was an Alcoholic and had been in and out of the rooms of AA. He was scared and overwhelmed. I looked into the face of Addiction and I saw my boy. I saw your boy. I saw the wreckage of his past and as he walked out the door I said a silent prayer that Danny would survive one more day. I prayed that Danny would find his way home and back into the rooms of AA.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Healing Game

I just reviewed a wonderful book available on Kindle from Amazon.  It is called the Healing Game. One of the first things to go for parents who have a child struggling with addiction is HOPE. We get consumed by fear and we begin to doubt that things will ever change. This book follows the stories of three young people from the first time they picked up a drug or alcohol to the long road to recovery. Many years ago I started reading the blog of one of the authors, Parent ofAddict. It was during the time that I was desperate for help. I was on the internet a lot searching for answers. I came across the blogs of other parents of young people affected by addiction. I found that although some of those blogs were written by parents who like me, were filled with despair there were others like Parent ofAddict who offered hope and encouragement.

Over the years I have found my way out of that dark place I was in and I too have learned as long as the addict is breathing there is always a possiblity of recovery. I have attended open AA meetings as well as AA speaker meetings and I have heard first-hand accounts of young people who have found their way back to a sober life. Today after nearly 15 years of drug use my son is living a sober life. It isn't easy. It has taken a lot of work and a willingness to change. My son attends 12 step meetings, he lives and works with other sober men, he offers hope and encouragement to others who want to get out of the grips of addiction. He is living a sober life one day at a time. A few years ago I would not have believed that my son would be working in a drug rehab and receiving a recognition award for his hard work. Addiction once robbed my son of everything that was of value to him. Today he is reclaiming the life he was meant to live. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that I never gave up hope. 

If you are a parent of an young person struggling with addiction or if you know someone who is this book is for you. Never give up. Never stop believing in the possibility of recovery.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Was a sober year

a year of recovery
commitment and hard work
It was a year of healing for our family
It was the year that hope was restored
The past several years Addiction swept into our lives and cast a dark, gloomy veil on our world
There were moments of intense despair,and hopelessness, as we fought an unseen enemy
who would nearly destroy us all 
The memories of years past are woven together by fractured memories of the destruction addiction left in it's wake
Broken promises and shattered dreams
2012 was the year hope was restored
2012 was the year God reached into the dark hole and pulled our son back into the light.
It was the year of healing for us all
2012 was the year that I really came to accept my powerlessness
It was the year I came to know God,
It was the year I learned
that I am never alone
It was the year God offered our family  a second chance
2013 really is a
New Year
A New Beginning
A do over for us all
I don't know what 2013 will bring but I do know that I am filled with gratitude that hope has been restored! I know that God has plans for me and for my son and that we will both take what we have learned on this journey and  lead others back into the light. I will be forever grateful for one more day to love the boy that lit up my world
28 years ago