Blog

Author: Lisa Hillman

If one person gets better

If one person gets better

It sounds so simple. There’s a line in addiction literature that says, if one person in the family gets better, chances improve for the others. When I began to attend Al-Anon meetings years ago, I went alone. It took courage to walk into that church the first time on a stormy Sunday night. After a …

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Where friends are

Where friends are

I remember the first time I heard it. It is okay to glance back at your past. Just don’t stare. More than a decade after my son’s recovery, I sometimes look back at the years living with his active addiction, especially when a newcomer attends an Al-Anon meeting. Although I don’t stare, it is easy …

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Service to others

Service to others

Like most parents, we tried to raise our children with certain values. Among the top was service to others. As the English-born poet W.H. Auden said, “We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.” Our daughter grew up watching us volunteer. She witnessed …

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When someone you know dies from an overdose

When someone you know dies from an overdose

If you haven’t experienced it yet, you are fortunate. And probably in the minority. Recently, it happened to me again. A friend whose son had abused drugs most of his life suddenly lost his battle to overdose. Every day in America some 100 people die from overdose. Somewhere a mom or dad faces the unimaginable. …

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The conversation we never had

The conversation we never had

When my son was new to recovery – as was I – two conversations stand out One we had. One we didn’t. It was his first year in recovery. After five months in a South Florida sober living house, he had moved to an apartment with a young man also facing his first year. They …

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When words misfire

When words misfire

My son and daughter hate how I pepper them with questions. Whether it’s the journalist in me or just overanxious mothering, I have so much to ask them. Always. They just roll their eyes – there goes Mom again – and balk. When Jacob entered his senior year in high school, my habit got worse. …

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Isn’t it time to give up shame?

Isn’t it time to give up shame?

I still hear it. A mother or father whose child is abusing drugs or alcohol, locked away in a basement bedroom at home, is terrified lest anyone find out. Maybe they will share it with a counselor or a physician. But never to a relative or friend, and certainly not to a neighbor. What if …

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A laughing matter

A laughing matter

Recently our family gathered in New Hampshire for a two-week vacation.  Whenever we are together, there is typically lots of laughter. It’s probably genetic. My parents had a keen sense of humor.  So does my brother.  When we both married funny and smart-witted spouses, my father’s only lament was “I didn’t get a straight-man.” Fast …

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When trust changes

When trust changes

A parent will ask, when can I trust my son or daughter again? Until high school Jacob was healthy, smart, college-bound.  A cross-country runner, member of the band, surrounded by other smart, healthy and college-bound kids, he was the light of our lives. No matter how busy our days, his father and I made sure …

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Great excuses

Great excuses

I’ve heard them all. Recently, talking with a friend, we recalled where we were – physically and emotionally – when our sons were using.  We talked about how we never want to go back there. What saved us – or at least me – was Al-Anon. Never a groupie, I shunned the idea of joining …

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