Blog & News

When parents disagree

When parents disagree

A mom phoned the other day to talk about her daughter, just 19, living in a far-away state.  The girl had been abusing drugs for several years, drifting in and out of treatment centers.  She wanted desperately to “come home,” again. After listening carefully, I asked this distraught mother, “How is your husband handling this?” …

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A Thanksgiving Lesson

A Thanksgiving Lesson

Because of COVID, my family will not be together this Thanksgiving.  But we’ll be fine.  We have years of warm memories. All, except one. When Jacob was actively using and falling deeper into addiction, Thanksgiving brought only sadness. He was 21.  Weeks before the holiday he entered his first inpatient treatment.  After years of abusing …

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The Prayer

The Prayer

It always surprises me how many people don’t know it. It also surprises me how many do. When I first heard the Serenity Prayer, there was no personal link to addiction. In 1992 my work with a local health system landed me at the ribbon-cutting of the region’s first inpatient, substance use treatment center, called …

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Believing (in) my son

Believing (in) my son

Jacob was right.  I just didn’t understand it at the time. It was eight years ago and one year into his sobriety.  We were seated at an outdoor breakfast café in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where his recovery had taken him.  How clearly I recall his words, and the calm, quiet way he delivered them. “Ma, …

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What I didn’t say

What I didn’t say

Last Saturday I stumbled across a small gathering of people clustered in a circle at a street-end park.  They were seated on lawn chairs and beach blankets on a patch of green under a cobalt blue sky. As I walked by with Charlie, our two-year-old greyhound, I overheard one of the group who looked like …

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Where should we send our son?

Where should we send our son?

After months of trying to hide that their child is abusing drugs, parents often ask me, “Where did you send your son to ‘get well’?” I know what they really mean.  They know Jacob is healthy now.  So they must be asking about the treatment center I “sent” him to, because it “cured” him, right? …

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When friends await

When friends await

When Jacob was actively using, I shunned not only my family, but also my friends.  They sensed something was wrong.  But I didn’t want them to.  I blocked their every attempt to draw me out. Shame engulfed me.  I wasn’t ready to share the horror permeating my household.  I worked hard to hide my anxiety, …

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Recovery by Zoom

Recovery by Zoom

I knew it the instant I walked through the door. Only six people attended my first Al-Anon meeting, but I knew I’d found a home.  One of the men recognized me.  Despite my frantic, misguided need to shield my son’s addiction, it didn’t matter. What did matter was their stories were like mine.  Their faces …

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How do I know he’s clean?

How do I know he’s clean?

It happens often.  When my husband and I are invited to speak in family workshops to help parents and spouses of loved ones battling addiction, we learn more than we give. During a recent event – on Zoom – a mother shared her profound love for her adult daughter and her despair at not being …

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The Other Side of Social Distancing

The Other Side of Social Distancing

Social distancing may be saving lives during this pandemic.   Scientists say it’s an important step we each should take to help defeat the virus. But it may be taking lives, too. In a sad, tragic spin-off of COVID-19, alcohol and substance abuse are again on the rise in America. According to a recent research study, …

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