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Why Father’s Day?

Why Father’s Day?

My father thought it was silly. He called “Father’s Day” a “made-up Chamber of Commerce holiday,” commercial and phony. My husband feels the same. Maybe that’s why – when our son was in active addiction – the day came and went without much notice. Now that Jacob is ten years in recovery with a thoughtful …

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What therapists don’t know

What therapists don’t know

Sometimes therapists will call me. They know my story. They know I want to help other families. But often I am appalled at how little some therapists know about families suffering with addiction, and how uninformed some are about groups like AA and Al-Anon Maybe they skip the chapter on addiction during their training. Perhaps …

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Don’t lie to me

Don’t lie to me

Mom: “Don’t lie to me.” Son: “Then don’t ask.” This conversation never happened. But it could have. How many times did I want to grill my son during his last year of high school? Why did you drop off the track team? Did you know you’re failing English, History? Where were you last night? Questions …

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Where did you send your son?

Where did you send your son?

A question I often am asked is, “Where did Jacob go?” The rest of the question is…for treatment? To get well? To stop using? Regardless, the real question is always the same. Does it matter? Ten years into my son’s recovery, I cannot recall the names of the places in Florida where his last treatment …

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There was a time when I pretended he didn’t exist

There was a time when I pretended he didn’t exist

Impossible to believe today, but there was a time when I pretended he didn’t exist. I had no son. When Jacob was actively using, and I felt so hopeless that no matter what I tried he kept trudging down a dangerous path, I had an inconceivable thought. If I could steel myself against the crushing …

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Don’t you ever get angry?

Don’t you ever get angry?

He leaned in and asked the question without malice or presumption. Don’t you ever get angry? The counselor Jacob and I had been seeing waited for my answer. I was alone in his office, one of few meetings without Jacob. His question stunned me. Angry? It was an emotion fairly foreign to me. Disappointment, frustration, …

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The Three Cs

The Three Cs

When she sat next to me, I sensed her tension.  She was fighting hard to stay calm and stave off tears that inevitably would fall. As a “newcomer,” someone attending an Al-Anon meeting for the first time, she needed to hear the right message, words that would help to reach beyond her misery and give …

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What addiction has taught me

What addiction has taught me

Recently I was asked what – if anything — I have learned from my son’s addiction. And now that he has ten years in recovery, and I more than 11 years in Al-Anon, is there anything I want to pass along to someone living with active addiction? Yes, and this may be just for starters… …

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A Headline with Hope

A Headline with Hope

Maybe it’s our nature.  We dwell on the negative. With addiction there is good reason.  It is easy to feel depressed, anxious and fearful, just as those suffering with the disorder. Headlines don’t help. The pandemic and its forced isolation have fueled one of our worst periods since recording drug deaths.  Headlines scream: Yearly drug …

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Long-term “Recover-ers” offer Words of Hope

Long-term “Recover-ers” offer Words of Hope

When Jacob was actively using, what gave me great hope was the wisdom of those in long-term recovery.  They never failed to say what I needed to hear. Recently, I posed the following question to several men in long-term recovery: What words of hope can you offer to parents worried over a child’s addiction? Tom …

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