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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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What to do with “Worry”

What to do with “Worry”

When Jacob was using, my only worry was for him.  I never had to worry that his addiction might mingle with a deadly virus. Today I hear stories of families during this quarantine who shelter their sons and daughters suffering from addiction.  These parents watch their children come and go, unsure what frightening, new threats …

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Uncertainty

Uncertainty

Every good plan has a backup. At least, that’s what I learned in years of management. But with COVID-19, planning is difficult. When Jacob was using, I could never plan.  For a brief time we got into a semi-predictable rhythm.  He worked at a local coffee shop.  I worked at the hospital.  My husband kept …

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How long will it take?

How long will it take?

When my son was in active addiction, and I was lost how to help him – or myself – I feared looking too far into the future. For many months, each day brought a new horror.  There were discovered remnants of drug use in his room or his backpack, places I felt I had the …

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