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