Blog & News

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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Alcogenic

Alcogenic

The first time I read that word my son was fighting for sobriety.  He was early in recovery and I was reading everything I could about addiction. Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of “Drink,” describes our society as ‘alcogenic,’ meaning a “’drinking culture.”  Because so many Americans drink,  social events revolve around alcohol.  On weekends we …

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When listening is enough

When listening is enough

Recently I overheard a young man in recovery talking by phone to his mother.  A distance of several states separated them. But it sounded like the distance was far greater. The man – barely out of adolescence – was downloading details about an incident at his job site.  By his raised voice and staccato phrases, …

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Don’t relapse when I die

Don’t relapse when I die

It wasn’t church, but it sure felt like it. On a Sunday morning some 65 men and women sit in a large room, chairs scattered around rectangular tables, their eyes focused on two speakers at the head. Feeling awkward, I sit quietly in the back. Not an alcoholic, I don’t “qualify” to attend AA meetings. …

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Two mothers, two sons

Two mothers, two sons

Going to AA meetings with Jacob during family vacations has become as routine as visiting the “100 Flavors” of ice cream on the boardwalk each evening. But this year held a highlight. It began when I learned that a close friend from Annapolis was vacationing the same week with her family nearby. Nine years ago …

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When a friend is hurting

When a friend is hurting

Often I am asked this question: “My friend has a son who is using. What should she do?” The question comes from a place of love. We want to help our friends when they hurt. When Jacob was using, and his world was so dark, I went dark, too. Sullen, silent, like a winged bat …

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