Contributing writers share their thoughts and inspirations.
In the early days of my daughter’s addiction, Simon and Garfunkel’s’ Bridge Over Troubled Water was the soundtrack to my life. It was an anthem for me, the Warrior Mom, the one who would do anything to rescue my daughter. The song played in my head. It spoke to me. Inspired me. I would “lay me down,” sacrificing my physical, emotional and financial health to save her. The best lyric? “I’ll take your part… when darkness comes… and pain is all around.” Yes, I was ready to suffer for her benefit. It was brave. It was noble. It was fearless. [...]
Note from the author: I wrote this in preparation for our upcoming parent group meeting focused on gratitude, because I am often able to write better than I speak. There is a quote I love by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, she said: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depth. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” I think you [...]
If you suspect that your child is using drugs, he or she probably is. I denied the classic warning signs of drug addiction in my son for years. The loss of old friends, the stealing, the lying, sleeping all day and going out all night. I was deluding myself into thinking it was a phase and did not dare to admit to myself that there was a problem. I certainly wasn’t going to talk to family or friends about my suspicions. I was embarrassed, ashamed and convinced I would be judged as a bad parent. The reality is that the [...]
There is nothing digestible or tolerable about discovering that your child is in the throes of drug and alcohol addiction. One of the first things you may notice is how outsiders marginalize you and reject the medical “brain science” of addiction. A strong belief exists that substance abuse is a moral or behavioral issue and a sure sign of weakness in you, your family, and your child. Whatever your personal “take” on addiction, it’s not until the monster invades your own home that you come face to face with the risks and chaos that define the lives of families battling [...]
Addiction is progressive and chronic. In the process, the addicted individual becomes detached from those he or she loves and the activities that used to bring joy. He loses a connection to the world around him. He or she eventually becomes isolated from life. As the parent of an addicted person, can you identify a similar trend in your own life? Has your child’s addiction resulted in a decline of outings with your friends or less participation in those special activities that used to bring you joy? Have you closed your curtains, locked the door, and crawled under the covers? [...]
I am not talking about Nancy Reagan's 1980's failed campaign to discourage our kids from drinking and taking drugs. That wasteful and misguided approach had the unintended effect of reinforcing the stigma that addiction and alcoholism are character traits, poor choices and moral failings, and not, as the medical profession had even then long recognized, but never (even to date, in my view) widely embraced, a chronic brain disease--"no-fault" mental illness. Okay, so we didn't cause our kid’s disease, can't control it and can't cure it. The "Three C's" of Al-Anon, a fellowship that has helped millions affected by their [...]