Contributing writers share their thoughts and inspirations.
If you would like to post your thoughts, information or inspirations, please submit your writing here.Submit Your Post
Note: This post was submitted at the time of our first program focusing on the impact of addiction on siblings. To learn more, visit conversation.zone/siblings By Ethan Tankel, MSEd., LPC, CAADC My brother and I are nine years apart and by the time I was five years old my brother had begun abusing substances. From age six to eleven, my brother’s addiction dominated my parents’ attention and reshaped our lives. For me, being the sibling of an addict meant late nights listening to fights. It meant not being able to have friends over. It meant [...]
I Believe in Change
Note: Diana Clark gave this Keynote Speech at Be a Part of the Conversation's Spring Brunch on Sunday, April 24, 2022. We thank her for so generously sharing her words and inspiration with us! Diana is the author of Addiction Recovery: A Family’s Journey. >> Click here to learn more about Diana. I Believe in Change By Diana Clark, JD, MA From 2004 to 2009, National Public Radio produced an essay series known as “This I Believe,” based on 1950’s radio programs of the same name hosted by journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each time I would [...]
A Letter to My Son’s Addiction
Note: Through my work with Be a Part of the Conversation, I am privileged to serve families who have been impacted by the disease of addiction. When I hear someone express anger and frustration with their loved one’s behaviors, I often recommend an exercise that really helped me once I became aware of my son’s addiction. The exercise is to write a letter to your loved one’s addiction ... not the child/spouse/sibling/parent, but to the addiction. This letter is not intended for our loved one’s eyes, but as a means to work through the emotions that are often present [...]
Mike Blanche, MSS, LCSW on Creativity and the Journey of Recovery
Be a Part of the Conversation recently launched our Creative Recovery series. The series' programs and workshops feature a variety of creative recovery topics. Participants have the opportunity to hear from treatment professionals and people with lived experience who share amazing possibilities for a richer, fuller life in recovery. This series is based on the idea that exploring creativity can dramatically benefit our recovery, whether we have a history of substance use, or have been impacted by another person’s addiction. As Be a Part of the Conversation's team put together these great panels, our goal was to providemembers of [...]
Reflecting on Our First Ten Years
Note: I could write a book about the development and evolution of Be a Part of the Conversation. The following post simply reflects the more personal aspects of this journey. Please know that my gratitude for the incalculable number of people who have inspired, led and contributed to the growth of Be a Part of the Conversation is beyond measure. Thank you. If you and I met any time after May 3, 2011, it was most likely because you attended a Be a Part of the Conversation community event or a parent support group meeting. Or maybe you got [...]
Who Knew? The Impact of Cannabis Use on the Developing Adolescent Brain.
It's hard to avoid the topic of cannabis (also known as marijuana). Several states have legalized it for recreational use or are on their way to doing so. Many states already allow medical cannabis, including Pennsylvania. Most of us have formed opinions about whether or not cannabis is harmful, addictive, medical, or helpful. While many adults are able to make informed decisions about using this substance, a facet of the this national conversation that needs to be highlighted is cannabis' effect on the young, developing brain. Here at Be a Part of the Conversation, our goal is to reduce youth cannabis [...]
Keeping My Ambitions to Myself / But it’s hard when your own son is homeless.
At my subway station, homeless people pushed carts, sat on benches, and propped themselves up against columns, seeking shelter and money on a freezing winter evening. I emerged from the train car, a middle-aged woman in sophisticated attire. Farther along the platform, a heap of a young man sat on the ground, his back hunched against the tile wall, head down, holding an artfully lettered sign saying “PLEASE HELP.” It was my 27-year-old son, filthy, wearing a long skirt, his hair curly and wild, with a placid expression of equanimity across his face. Jolted, I knew he didn’t have a [...]
As parents, we believe that we have the ability to guide and direct our children, to mold them into independent, honest, hardworking adults. We set a good example, discipline them when needed and provide access to educational, cultural , spiritual and athletic opportunities. It’s heavy stuff, this power we wield in directing our children toward a successful adulthood. We are proud of our effort and sacrifice. So, when the addiction nightmare enters our homes, we naturally believe that we can correct our child’s behavior and get them back on track. No biggie. It’s just a blip in an otherwise stellar [...]
“Curiously Enough” Podcast: Stigma Survives in Silence
Curiously Enough is a podcast produced by Grace Guggenheim. >>Click here to listen to more Curiously Enough podcasts! From Grace: "This is a space to shine a light on the shadows we hide in. This is a conversation to relieve the heaviness of silenced topics. Here’s to getting honest and getting real, feeling inspired and less alone. Thank you for joining me on this road to rediscovering the truth of who we are. "On May 3, 2019, we were thrilled to have Kim Porter on as our guest. Since 2014, Kim Porter has served as the Executive Director of [...]
Holding On by Letting Go
Holding On by Letting Go When someone you love is addicted, one of the most difficult things to accept is that you might need to let go. It’s part of the concept of detachment, and allowing your loved one to experience the consequences of their using. I fought letting go with every inch of my being. To me, if felt like giving up, and that’s not what moms do. It took me years to understand that my rescuing and enabling was not helping my daughter. It was keeping her sick. In time, I realized that letting go actually allowed me [...]