Category Archives: Addict Child

Health, Education and Making a Difference

Recently, I applied to a job opening as an Addiction Recovery Specialist.  In South Carolina, there is a certification for this specialty – which I do not have yet.  But I thought that my coaching certification combined with my personal experience might make me a good candidate for the job.  I’m interested in helping people get healthy.  I’m interested in educating the public about drugs and families and recovery.  Where do you turn when all those efforts you made as a parent to avoid this experience slip through your fingers and here you are … wanting to wake from what feels like a nightmare?

I want to tell you there is HOPE!  As long as there is breath, there is hope!  For me, my first focus was the health of my child. And the next focus was education for me and my child. And amidst it all – a constant focus on God and faith.

Every now and then, I spend some time on Google looking for new information or resources. Recently, I came across a recovery center called, “Advanced Health and Education.”  Well – isn’t that on target!  Advanced Health and Education has a truly holistic approach to recovery which seems to be increasingly popular these days – for good reason.  Most of us have learned that recovery is about more than just resisting cravings.  It’s about rebuilding and redefining an entire healthy lifestyle for both the addict and the family.

In the west – states like Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Arizona – I have had excellent experiences with the Valley Hope treatment centers.  They have gone above and beyond in providing service not only to their patients, but to families as well – on the personal side as well as making treatment financially viable.

Now that I live on the East Coast, I’m snooping into what’s available here.  I have a friend who recently went to New Jersey for treatment.   New Jersey drug and alcohol treatment centers abound, but I’m interested to know how many have the comprehensive type of program offered by Advanced Health and Education.  If you are located in the NY/NJ area – a good resource for New Jersey addiction treatment centers can be found here: http://drugabuse.com/usa/drug-abuse/new-jersey/.   For New York (and other states), look here: http://www.recovery.org/browse/new-york/.

I want to follow the lead of Advanced Health and Education by advocating their example of treating the whole person – I’d even say, the whole family.  What should our next steps so that all treatment facilities – from California drug treatment centers to NJ drug treatment centers and everything in between, above and below, continually improve and provide excellent healing service to addicts and to us? How can we help? What can I do to make a difference?

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The search for 20/20

looking backHindsight is always 20/20 – or so they say.  But whoever made up that quip … I don’t think they had an addict in the house. Looking back doesn’t really make it any clearer.

Recently, a friend told me that she read this whole blog; so I decided to come back here and read it myself from the start.  I has been a few years and I was wondering what I would think. I tried reading as if I was a stranger to the story, which wasn’t very hard to do. I felt like I was a stranger to the story!

Here are some things I noticed:

  • The child who was in the most trouble (or causing the most heartache) got all the press – with only a few exceptions.
  • Insomnia inspires blogging.
  • Drug addiction sucks – for everyone in the family.
  • I was in some real denial even when I thought I had stopped being in denial.
  • This place and all of you here in blogland helped me preserve some sanity. Thank you.
  • My journey really has been God-centered.
  • The severity of the crisis made it seem (to me, at the time) like all this addiction stuff had been going on for years, when it was only one year from when I discovered the problem to when I chose to move away. (That left me feeling bad; like I gave up too soon – but I let that go quickly too).
  • I have so much to be grateful for.

Another popular saying:  “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”  Good advice.  There’s nothing I (we) can do about the past. Eyes straight ahead – forward, march!

Peace and Now

You are nowYou’ve heard of “peace and quiet.”  I suggest we change the phrase to “peace and now.”  Now is quiet – maybe not outside of us, but internally…spiritually.  At the core of who we truly are, now is silent and cannot be altered.

Sounds too easy?  It is and it’s not.  I’m reading Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now,” and I’m in a  section toward the back of the book titled, “Give Up the Relationship with Yourself.”  What? Isn’t our recovery about RECOVERING our own relationship with ourselves. It’s the same thing. Just roll with it for a minute and I’ll do my best to explain.

It’s this idea: “If you develop a sense of identity based on your [victimhood, loss, recovering-parenthood, etc.] you have escaped one trap only to fall into another.”  (That’s a direct quote from the book except for the parens).  This is because any identity other than your pure essence (some might say “God”) is frought with some earthly or ego-centered frailty at one point or another.

Here’s the peace in NOW:  Right now I am this breathing body filled with the spirit of life.  If, tomorrow, I experience a trauma and my mind/body experiences intense pain of some sort or another, at any given moment I am still this breathing body filled with the spirit of life.  What I’m trying to get to is this question (which we’ve discussed before in a different context): How do you identify yourself?  I’m thinking that the answer to this question begins any person’s true recovery.

I’m really just thinking through this “out loud” here on this screen.  But I’m experiencing access to an always-accessible quiet of “Peace and Now” lately. And this time it’s not just because my boys are in full recovery – because one of them had a relapse recently.  He had a relapse and I started to re-identify with my “parent-of-addict-filled-with-fear-and-worry” self again. But I was reading this book, and I find I’m changing a bit in my ability to … as A Course in Miracles says … “See things differently.”

Please know I’m not lecturing or making light of where you are, what you’ve been through, or what you’re feeling.  I’m just sharing an idea that might help others as it’s helping me today. Right now. God bless you.

The Mourning Shall Rejoice

So my last post was a mournful one. Self-pity. Whaddya gonna do?

This post is rejoiceful!  My son, Dan, now 21 years old, completed his 1.5 year program in Recovery Court!  Yesterday they had a court hearing for all the Recovery Court people. And when it was Dan’s turn, lo and behold, he was greeted by: his current judge, his original judge, his parole officer, his counselor, his NarAnon sponsor, the people who worked in the jail when he was there, even the prosecuting attorney.  Even the judge’s clerk … and it was her day off.  They all came to congratulate Dan on a job well done and to give testimony, on the record, of what an inspiration it has been to watch him grow and heal.

I wish I could have been there. But his dad was there, which is good. I’m tearing up just writing it.

In this case, for my boy, “The System” worked.  The system I often railed against came through, partly because the program is a good one – a real example of the “it takes a village” philosophy.  So I hope that program continues to be supported.  But the program only works because of the people who run it.  They did their jobs with heart, and they — plus the hand of God — saved my son’s life.  And he has touched theirs as well.

I’ll write an official letter to someone there to express this, but I want to say it here: Thanks to all public officials who are in their positions for the right reasons, doing the best they can for everyday citizens.  Whatever I end up owing the IRS…it’s nothing compared to the gratitude I owe to all the people who walked beside my son at a time when I had to walk away.

God bless us all.

The Circle Game

Anyone remember this song that Joni Mitchell sang?  “Years spin by and now the boy is twenty. though his dreams have lost some gradeur coming true…There’ll be new dreams – there’ll be better dreams, and plenty, before his last revolving year is through.”

Yes, the years are spinning by.  And I’m so grateful!  One boy is 19 and one boy is 21.  And while their dreams might have lost some grandeur compared to those earlier, more innocent years of their lives, they are dreaming still.  So grateful.

Since I’ve neglected this page for awhile, here’s an update:  Dan is a manager now with the food chain he’s been working for.  He works too many hours, and contemplates backing out of the job for that reason, but he’s not rushing his decision about it (which in itself is a major sign of maturity).  He looks so great and I wish I could post his picture here because he’s such a strong and handsome young man! 

Al is doing well too.  He’s out of his halfway house and he’s living with a girl.  I guess they’re not supposed to enter relationships so quickly (especially with someone else in recovery) but the two of them have made this decision.  They attend meetings together and he helps her family with various chores and child care, and they’re helping him find work in the town he’s settled into.  He’s very active in the recovery community and contacts me regularly.  So…while I still have those occasional nights when I wake up with a heart of worry about him, I think he’s doing well.

My daughter has friends now, and a car, and we’re going to visit colleges this summer!  Wow…my youngest has only one more year in high school.

I’m enjoying my nonprofit job, and getting along much better with my boss.  So gratitude is the attitude of the day.  And here’s the best thing:  “Addict” is not the first thing I think of when I think of my boys now.  I never thought this day would come.  I know that we could find ourselves back in that someday.  But right now, “there are new dreams, there are better dreams – and plenty…”  God bless you all.

A Mother’s Day Update

First things first:  I want to wish all you Moms out there a wonderful, restful, peaceful, loving Mother’s Day!  Even when I’m not showing up here on the Blogs, I keep you all in my prayers. 

Update:  Life has been busy, that’s for sure.  And things are looking up these days for my family…

  • DAN is doing GREAT!  Last month I went to visit Colorado, saw the judge, got the restraining order lifted and, for the first time in eight months, got to spend time with Dan.  I gave him so many hugs!  He’s being promoted in his job and planning to apply to college for the fall.  I know that an addict can slip at any time, but I’ve allowed myself to fully accept Dan’s recovery right now.  He looks fantastic,  has a great outlook on life, and is succeeding in all his programs.  It’s amazing how a life can turn around in God’s hands.  Amen.
  • AL has 80 days clean!  He is still looking for work, but he has also managed to stay in his sober living home and manage his life.  He’s had some bumps in the road, but as far as I know they’ve not included using.  I still worry about him a little … but each time we talk my worry lessens.  It almost seems too good to be true that both boys are in recovery mode and staying there.
  • LYNN is starting to open up.  She asked me if she could go to church with me tomorrow — first time since we moved last July!  I’m so happy.  We’ve been getting along better.  And she did really well on her ACT exam for college. 

What else can I say?  I’m working two jobs – which is a little nutsy – but I’m also getting back on my financial feet somewhat.  I’m doing a 13-week program at my church “Financial Peace University.”  It’s time to put that piece of my life in place.  In the meantime, the warm weather is settling in here in South Carolina, and an hour on the beach today did a lot to calm my over-active brain.  Now prayer and sleep, and a new day tomorrow.

God bless your Mother’s Day!

His Next Move, Pt. II

Update:  Al is hoping to be accepted into a sober living facility in either Kansas or Nebraska!  He is choosing not to try to come here or go back to Colorado.  If he accomplishes this, I will call it Check Mate and declare him a winner in this round.  God opens the doors, but we each have to walk through onto new paths.  And the boy is walking.  Amen!