It happens frequently.

I’m on the treadmill at the gym, and a woman appears at my side.  She introduces herself and tells me she just finished “Secret No More.” Tears fill her eyes.  She thanks me, and says I am so brave.  Later, I wonder, why “brave?”

I walk through the Naval Academy, a common exercise route, and a colleague I’ve not seen in years slows her quick pace and calls my name.  We stop.  She tells me she hasn’t read my book yet, but it may force her to face her own “secret” issue with her family.  Why “secret?”

An email arrives from a woman in Texas.  She wants her sister to read the book because her nephew is having a problem and his mom doesn’t want anyone to know.  Why not?

Are we all still in hiding?  Is the stigma sill so pervasive, the shame  so overpowering that mothers and fathers even now suffer the fear and isolation that prevents their healing?  Is their isolation also affecting recovery for their loved one?

All I can do is keep talking, keep seeking that one mom or dad in the crowd, or on the walking path, who may need words of encouragement to seek help for themselves.  All I can do is suggest an Al-Anon meeting.  Call an addictions counselor.  See a knowledgeable therapist.  Talk to a trusted friend.

But please, don’t hide.  You deserve the comfort that sharing brings.

Only then can  recovery begin.

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