Blog

Author: Lisa Hillman

Does neatness count?

Does neatness count?

I’ve often wondered if personal messiness was cause or symptom of an otherwise disorganized life. When Jacob was using, I tried to ignore it, rationalizing – didn’t all kids go through this phase? Or at least some? Surely he would grow out of it if I let him alone.  There were bigger battles. But his …

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

She was small with glossy brown hair and a pout that ensured she got what she wanted.  At age 18 she was what my son wanted.  Or so he thought . When Jacob was in his freshman year in college – and in active addiction – he visited his girlfriend in New England for Valentine’s Day …

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Even football coaches

Even football coaches

In this high season of football a recent article about a well-known coach caught my eye. Two of his sons suffered with addiction.  The chaos lasted years.  This was full-blown addiction with one or both boys in and out of jails, treatment centers and attempts at recovery.  It’s unclear if it continues. The coach visited …

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Engagement

Engagement

The day after I couldn’t stop smiling – until I saw him.  The man was all black.  His shirt, pants, the cigar he held to his lips, even his skin was black-brown. He was seated alone outside the small Italian café.  It’s a place I often walk to when we visit Jacob. I’d seen him …

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A new year

A new year

Each year’s end  – like an anniversary – stirs reflection. The new year marks ten years since since my son moved to Florida, ten years since our lives changed forever. Obviously, I don’t know what it is like to have an addiction.  But I do know what it’s like to love someone who does. Ten …

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Religion: harmful or helpful?

Religion: harmful or helpful?

Recently I spoke to an audience of some 50 men and women about how addiction affects their lives. This time it was in the warm, glowing setting of a Jewish temple.  The event planners had billed the evening to eradicate “shame’ and “blame” about addiction and mental illness.  In addition to telling my story, a …

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What we learned in Winnipeg

What we learned in Winnipeg

Recently Jacob and I were invited to Winnipeg, Canada to speak to families, students, and those still struggling with addiction. We learned that Winnipeg is at the very center of North America – a crossroads for all types of trafficking – sex, as well as drugs. Regardless of crime or geography, what struck us most …

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Does geography matter?

Does geography matter?

Often a parent will ask, “Should I send my child away?”  In other words, does geography matter? When Jacob finished his 14-day stay at an Annapolis treatment center, the counselor suggested we send him to Florida to continue his rehab. Aha!  That was the answer.  Getting him away from the drug dealers and drug users …

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“Dopesick”

“Dopesick”

I’ve always admired journalists. A journalist who spends years researching a difficult subject – sacrificing personal time with a ferociousness to educate the rest of us – is someone to admire even more. That’s how I felt recently when I met Beth Macy, author of “Dopesick,” at a charitable event in Washington DC.  Other journalists …

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I love you, but…

I love you, but…

How many times did I say this as my son grew up?  How often did I repeat them in the troubled days of his active addiction, sometimes at the worst times? I recall saying it the evening my husband and I returned from a meeting at the high school where Jacob’s advisor warned us:  your …

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