Saturday, March 21, 2015

The War on Drug ADDICTS

Just a short update on the family. Everything is going well. Each of us sleep soundly at night. I am at a new job, Darlene is happy at her job. Alex is doing well, going to school, and training on his job as an industrial technician, with PLC programing and robotics. All of this has given me time to think.

My deliberations may be construed as political but I'd love to have someone explain to me how what we are doing is working.

The War on Drugs was formalized by President Richard Nixon in 1971. Since that time our nation has been hell bent on eradicating drugs. What we have been doing has NOT worked. I have come to realize our War on Drugs has been in reality a War on Drug Addicts.

If we truly were fighting a war on drugs we wouldn't be pouring over 80% of our resources into law enforcement. A real war on drugs would see 80% of our resources put into eduction, rehabilitation and treatment. A War on Drugs would include research and mechanisms to ensure approved drugs cannot be used illegally and could not enter the market until that was ensured. That would be a war on drugs. Reduce or eliminate the need and desire, in turn that reduces drug usage.

The way we have been fighting our War on Drugs since the 1970's and before has been a miserable failure.

The same applies to our War on Poverty. President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in 1964. Since that time we haven't fought a War on Poverty. We have been fighting a War on Poor People. It's well known what it takes for people to escape poverty. Good educational programs and schools, opportunity and livable wage jobs. A effective War on Poverty would include a minimum wage that lifts people to a livable wage. A War on Poverty would involve improving our educational systems and making college affordable for the poorest or make it free. A War on Poverty would include a health care system that treats all people equally regardless of their financial ability to pay.

The way we have been fighting our War on Poverty since the 1960's and before has been a miserable failure.

How about our War on Terror? President George W. Bush declared a War on Terror in 2001. How effective have we been at that war. We are at war with people not like us. What are we doing to stop people not like us from using terrorism against us? We now have an entire terrorist state called ISIS. We are killing them and we are killing their families, relatives and friends. How does that encourage them to live in peace when we continue to kill their families and friends? Fighting a war on terror involves more than dropping bombs from drones. Fighting a war on terror involves finding out WHY people want to kill us and dealing with the root cause rather than focusing on killing every terrorist in the world and HOPING none of them breed our recruit others to carry on their mission.

Maybe it is time as a nation to begin fighting our wars differently.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Prosper

Goodbye, Mr. Spock.

As our childhood hero's age and pass it forces me to realize that none of us are forever.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

School Talks

Another two days of school talks wrapped up. It is refreshing for me to do these even if it is only make believe that I am helping. But in critical reflection I believe it is making a difference.

  • Students that have heard me talk in previous years come back to listen again, to be refreshed I was told by a student.
  • Students stand up to the stigma and share what it is like for them and their families.
  • Non-student guests come in to listen and then suddenly share their story and pain opening up with strangers.

I cannot measure or gauge the impact six years of speaking to students has had on our schools, community and students. I don't know if there empirical data points I can plot. However, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming, I have made an impact on individuals and that is the most important constituency I can touch.

You Are Not Alone, are sometimes the most important words you can say.

 
BREAKING THE STIGMA
 
BEATING THE MONSTER

Friday, February 20, 2015

What Will YOU Do If It Never Gets Better?

This is another re-post of an essay that asks a questions we all must ask our self. "What if it never gets better?"

Who has the nerve to not only ask the question but who has an answer. This is what a parent of an addict never wants to face. When we face this question we face our self. It is hard , it is scary, it is real.

Another great part of this post is all of the reader comments. My advice, link to the actual post and also read the comments.

What If It Never Gets Better?

What if it never gets better? I bet that is a question every parent of an addict has ask themselves, probably more than once.

I admit I no longer struggle day to day. Most of my time in dealing with addiction issues involves reflection. Playing Monday morning quarterback is my best position in sports so I have adapted it to life.

What if it never gets any better is that question of frustration. It's usually followed by a statement like, "I've done everything I know to do."

Lately I have been thinking about this question and it is still troubling. For a fixer like me what does that really mean, I failed? I'm not one to accept defeat. There is a fix, I just haven't gotten the right formula. That was always my answer. I always seemed to disregard the real answer because I never really accepted the premise of the question. My failure to accept reality that some never do get better caused me much heartache and much grief for my son.

The last few parents I have spoke with I have ask this difficult question. It's a hard question for me to ask because I know by the time someone would write me, a stranger, an e-mail based solely on this blog there is a desperation and hopelessness that I do personally understand very well. They aren't writing or calling to find someone to tell them give up, they are looking for an answer and sometimes just someone to talk too.

Not until the last six months of Alex's active using did I learn what I needed to know and understand the first six weeks. Understanding and dealing with addiction isn't about the addict.

Understanding and dealing with addiction is about dealing with a disease and yourself.

Granted I can't ask this question to someone that has been dealing with this six weeks but it is something we all need to answer. Put aside the anger, the fixer, the disappointment, the guilt, put aside the past. Don't try to analyze and understand ideas like powerless and acceptance. Make it simple, go off by yourself or with a close loved one.

What if it never gets better? 

What type of relationship do I want to have with my son/daughter/brother/sister/mother/ father/friend or whoever your addicted loved one happens to be? 

When you get to that answer it is easier to begin working on making your own life better despite the heartache you feel for your loved one.

Sometimes it is OK to have a one sided relationship. Life is give and take. Sometimes the scales do not balance no matter how hard you try. (thanks dad, you still speak to me even after 32 years gone.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Practicing Self Care

Just a short break from re-posting past essays.

Last year was a very stressful year in my life. Family issues, health issues, personal issues and work issues and even an accident that was very traumatic for me. All in all I am glad to see 2014 in my rear view mirror.

One of the changes I made in which I had control was my job. I left a job in January in which I had worked with the same people for 16 years. A new job was one step in which I did have control of in my life. For me that's a big step for someone 59 years old and looking forward to retirement. I did not retire I got a new job that I am excited about and making worthwhile changes.

So much of our lives we believe we can control. Especially for us control freaks we think we can not only handle anything we can control anything. This is a major personality issue for me. It is struggle for me to let go, always has been.

Slowly I have been learning the limits to my control. However, one of the things I thought I couldn't control is the very thing in which I had the most control. We all become secure in our lives and that includes our jobs and careers. Going to work and getting a paycheck each day is out of our control. YEA RIGHT!

Work is important to a person's psychological well being. It should not be the thing that is hurting your psychological well being.

I have a learned lesson late in life. That seems to be the time I have learned all my important lessons.

Lesson learned: Money is the easiest problem we have to solve. Each day we wake up and have a chance to make more of it. Every single day we get to make more of what we let cause our greatest stresses. Think of all the things that each day we wake up and whatever we missed we can never get back, like time and broken relationships.

Ron practicing a little self care.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Detaching With Love

As our son progressed in his addiction we did not. We struggled with first one thing and then another. We tried loving him well, negotiating away his addiction, throwing him out of the house, tough love and anything else heard that might be a fix. Nothing improved until we tried what we had be told in the beginning, take care of yourself first.

Boundaries and detaching are critical steps to understanding where we as loved ones fit in the whole disease and puzzle of addiction. Detaching with love is easy to say but the big question for each of us parents is HOW?

Below is another reprint. "Detaching With Love". Learning to detach is learning to establish boundaries.

I have received many comments and personal e-mails asking me to explain exactly what or how do you detach with love. The other day I was again ask for an example of exactly how do you detach with love and I answered with a typically philosophical answer. That evening it bothered me because here I was answering the question again and I am not being clear to what people are asking. It finally stuck me to use the KISS it methodology. (KISS, keep it simple, stupid)

So I wrote about when detaching, enabling, boundaries, values, rescuing and a whole bunch of other things began to click with my wife and I. Below is how one step by step transformation occurredfor us and our son.

My son shoplifted to support his addiction. Needless to say he got caught several times. The first few times when he was a minor we'd get a call to come pick him up and he'd get a ticket and we'd pay a big fine and take him to court services for his probation and take him to a psychologist. This went on for a couple years.

When he turned 18 he was no longer a minor and with his record they'd take him to jail. He'd make that phone call from jail, "Please come and bail me out. I'm never going to do this again." Off we'd go. After a while this was getting expensive and no one was learning their lesson. I mean, Darlene and I were not learning our lesson. ;-) and by the way neither was our son. We were doing the same thing over and over, and our son was doing the same thing over and over, nothing was changing. He'd make the same promises, we'd take the same action and we couldn't understand why HE kept using!

This is where the idea of detaching and setting boundaries started with us. We are no longer going to pay bail. As a mom and dad it is very hard to think of your child sitting in jail. In Jackson County, MO jail he witnessed a person get stabbed. The food is universally bad at all jails, without money on your books you can't even get a toothbrush to brush your teeth, he had food stolen and had to fight at times for his food, spent 2 days in solitary for defending himself against another inmate that attacked him. Some jails they put the crazies in with the criminals like rapists and murderers, in with the drug addicts, makes no sense to me.

It's hard to think of yourself as being a loving parent when you know that for just a few hundred dollars we could get him out of those situations, but if you don't pay the bail are you really a loving parent? Finally the day comes when you don't pay the bail money. Once we let him sit in the Johnson County Resort for 11 days because we wouldn't post a $50 bond. Sounds mean doesn't it?

This is about detaching with love and not enabling.Your boundaries must match your values. It works for us this way. Overriding all is the value that we love our son. When you sit down to think about and discuss boundaries this goes at the top of the page. Every single boundary is tested against that value.

Another value we hold close and taught our kids, Stealing is wrong. Stealing carries consequences and it should. Bailing him out removes or minimizes the consequences. Contrary to our values we were bailing him out. But we hated what he was exposed to in jail. However, we had established a pattern, he got caught, he called, we jumped with cash in hand. It's not fair to change the rules without telling all the parties.

So Darlene and I sat down a determined where we would go and where we would no longer go. This began to establish our boundaries. You will never cover all of the situations, you just cover what you can and know that once you learn how to judge behaviors and rescuing against what it is you believe inside the exercise becomes easier and more natural.

Then you must sit down with your child, an addict that may or may not be high at the time and explain where you will no longer go with him. In fact you can even start each sentence with, "Because we love you........... we can no longer bail you out of jail. All your life we taught you that stealing was wrong and you know that in your heart so we cannot support your actions by bailing you out of jail when you do something you have been taught all your life is wrong. I hope you understand this and can accept our decision."

Each boundary that we had discussed the conversation went like that. Our son hated it when we turned off the TV and ask him to sit down at the table to talk. This satisfied our need to tell him our expectations and it told him what to expect from us. Yes, he still called begged, pleaded and cried from jail but what we had been doing in the past didn't work and was bad for us and him. We had to change the rules, but that didn't mean we loved him less. It meant we loved him more because it hurt us terribly to let him sit in jail.

Even with his begging and pleading we were still able to sleep at night and have a moment of down time. He was in jail and we knew jail was safer than being on the street shooting more heroin. We then began to see jail as "protective custody."

We detached from Alex's crimes and actions, we did not detach from him. We still loved him, took some of the $10 for 10 minute collect calls from jail. On those calls we always ended with that we loved him and please help yourself. We were doing all we could and all we knew to do. Detach from the actions, crimes, drug use, lying and every other terrible thing a drug addict does to himself and others. Love and support the person inside not the addiction controlling the life.

Does this help explain what detaching with love and how it works for us? Then you begin applying the same formula to all other areas in your relationship with your addicted loved one.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

7 Truths About My Addict That Took 5 Years To Learn

It is a different life today than when our son was in seven years of active addiction. Our son got clear and sober in July 2010. I have writing this blog for over 5 years. I am going to reprint some of my posts that helped me the most and seemed to have a good effect for readers. Hope this helps new parents living this nightmare.
I feel deep empathy toward parents just beginning the terrible journey of their child’s drug addiction — and those facing the turmoil of a next step: rehab, incarceration, dislodging the addict from the family home. These are still open and fresh wounds for my wife and me.
Following are seven hard lessons we’ve learned in our journey, all of which we denied in the beginning. We fought with ourselves and with each other about these things. It didn’t matter who was telling us the truth, we knew better, after all he was our son. We have come to accept these truths and now it is much easier to deal with the heartache and we’ve become more effective helpers for our son/addict.
1. Parents Are Enablers

We love our sons and daughters. We would do anything to remove the pain. Take away the addiction. Smooth the road. We’d give our life if it would help. I once wrote a letter to my son about using drugs. I used the analogy of him standing on the railroad tracks and a train (drugs) is blasting down the tracks and blaring its horn but he hears nothing. I told him it was my job to knock him out of the way and take the hit, that’s what fathers do. I understand now, I was wrong. All that would do would leave me dead on the tracks and he would be standing on another set of tracks the next day.
We raised our children the best way we knew how. At some point they made decisions that set them down this path. We can only support them and provide them opportunities to make another decision. This is a hard one. That is why at times sponsors, recovering addicts, police officers, probation officers, corrections officers, pastors, counselors can all do a better job than we can in showing our addict the correct path. That is difficult because no one loves our addict like we do but we cannot do what they need when they need it.
2. I Cannot Fix This

This goes to what I wrote above. This is a problem only our addict can fix. A concept such as this is very hard for me to accept because I try to fix everything. No one is allowed in our addict’s mind except them. They are the only ones that can decide to do something about this. This will not end until they decide to end it. Parents trying to make that decision for them only results in failure and frustration.
3. My Addict Is A Liar

Addicts will say anything to hide their addiction and take any action to mask the problem. I honestly believe at the time they do not even realize they are lying, they just say whatever they think you want to hear. I believe they have motives in this to seek approval and to give us pride. I believe addicts do not like themselves or what they are doing but at some point they can see no door out. Their only mechanism for survival is to seek somekind of approval through lying, even if they know they will be busted. I believe it offers a similar instant gratification as drugs. I think even a smile of approval from a loved one shoots off those chemicals in the brain that gives them a different high, even if it lasts only a couple seconds. When my addict tells me he is not using I really don’t hear it. I tell him often, “My eyes can hear much better than my ears.” Just as we seek evidence of their using, we must seek evidence of their NOT using. Do not rely on faith that they are not using because they told you.
4. My Addict Is A Criminal

Symptoms of this disease include illegal behavior. That is why he is incarcerated. Face up to it, Dad and Mom. He has done things wrong and he must pay the price, as they say, his debt to society. It does no good to bad mouth the police, the judge, the jail, the lawyers they did not put him there. He put himself there. When we see others on TV and in jail we think about how much they deserve to be there but our babies aren’t like them. We can justify and separate the wrongs by misdemeanor and felony but those are legal terms. The long and short of it, my addict has done things that got him put in there and he must pay.
5. Others Don’t Want Them Around
 
That is OK. He has wronged many people. We are the parents, it’s called unconditional love. It is not wrong for friends, brothers, sisters, grandparents, relatives to have their own feelings and pain about this situation. Some families have great support and no one abandons the addict, some people decide they do not want the trouble of an addict in their life. That is OK. We all get to make the choice and there is no wrong choice, it is just a choice by those people.
6. Life Will Not Be The Same

At 5 years old my son thought he was Michelangelo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Running around the house with an orange bandanna tied around his head brandishing plastic weapons fighting evil and the bad guys. When we look at our addicts we see that 5 year old and mourn the loss and try anything we can to get them back. My addict is now a 21-year-old man. He is every bit an adult with at times a child’s maturity. But our world recognizes chronological ages, not maturity levels. Parents must do that too. I believe Michelangelo is lost inside of him. Those that are lost sometimes find their way back, but some do not. I can grieve this loss but it will not help him or us to move forward. An addict does not live in the past or the future. An addict lives in the here and now, if you want to help your addict you must live in the same world he does.
7. Homelessness May Be The Path He Chooses

Mom works in downtown Kansas City. When you drive down there you see homeless people with signs and some of them living under the bridges. They are dirty and hungry. They very likely are addicts, alcoholics or suffer from a mental illness. The one common denominator for all of these men and women living alone and homeless is that at some point in their life they had people that loved them. They are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends to someone. That doesn’t change their situation. They made choices that got them to this point. They can make other choices, and there are people and organizations to help them change. The key is, they must make the decisions. If our son makes the decision to live this way, it will hurt me terribly but he will do this until it is time for him to change, I cannot change him or those circumstances. It will not help him for me to give him a bed in my home if he continues to live the lifestyle.
Why is This Important?

We struggled mightily against these truths, fought with every ounce of strength. We lost our fight. We have accepted what we wished was not true. My learning is: until you understand the truth you cannot find peace within yourself or really be able to help your addict. Accepting the truth is what allows you to help your addict by helping yourself.
I do not hate my son for using drugs and putting all of us through this pain. I hate the things he does. I hate the lying, the stealing, the using. I love my son very much, I hate his ways. It is perfectly okay to separate the two.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Driving While High/Stoned/Drunk

Everyone knows the danger of driving while intoxicated, high or stoned. Maybe just call it driving under the influence, no matter the intoxicant.

As a parent, we of course got our son a car when was in high school just as many other parents do every day. He was a good student and we wanted him to have the chance to be mobile and date. We were good parents.....????

What happens when you get your child a car and you know they are addicted to drugs or alcohol? They will drive. They will drive under the influence. Do not fool yourself dad and mom, it will happen.

Just like us, they will drive that car you technically own. Your name is on the title, the insurance is likely in your name. Your child is under 18, or maybe that car is in your name when your adult addicted child is driving under the influence.

What difference does it make? I can't stop them from using, I can't stop them from driving under the influence.

My story, my son drove under the influence. I began to realize one day he was going to have a serious accident under the influence of drugs. The car was titled to me. He was over 18 years old and driving a car titled to me and the insurance was in my name. I knew he was an addict and I knew he was PROBABLY driving under the influence.

What if he had an accident and hurt himself or hurt someone else? I knew he was driving under he influence. How much ownership did I have if he did hurt someone? How much of it did I own financially and morally?

I come to the realization that morally I would suffer long if he hurt someone. I owned that, I knew he was an addict and I gave him the keys, even though he was not using at the time, it was "his" truck.

What would my financial liability be if he hurt someone seriously and the vehicle and insurance was in my name and I knew he was an addict? For me, I am not an attorney, but it isn't a stretch to see an attorney putting financial culpability on my actions and negligence.

Dad and Mom, what should you do if your child is addicted to drugs and driving "your" vehicle?

What I did was take MY vehicle back. Told my son that I could not allow him to expose me to that much risk if he was using drugs and driving under the influence. I was NOT prepared to risk losing my retirement, IRA, house and everything I own because he was driving under the influence and I knew he did that regularly. I told him I could not live with myself if he killed or hurt someone seriously while he was driving under the influence.

He wasn't being punished. I established my own boundaries. I didn't say YOU can't drive my car. I said I would not assume that risk of him driving my car. "I" means boundary, "You" means rule. I established a boundary, I would not allow someone that I know that drives under the influence to drive a car I owned and put me at risk, morally and financially.

Took the truck away and it sat parked for two years until I sold it. I told my son he could buy the truck from me simply by coming up with the money to have titled in his name and to do that he needed to buy insurance and pay property taxes. We all know if an addict can  scrape up that much money it isn't going to the county and state to register a vehicle.  LOL

Do your want real evidence my scenario and logic is real then read this article published in The Kansas City Star on Wednesday January 28, 2015.


"Family of Man Hit by Teen Driver Sues, Cites Drinking Issue".


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 20, 2009

I just read that Annette posted about her hitting the mark of 800 blog posts. Congratulations Annette, thank you for sharing your life and wisdom.

Her post made me remember that my blog recently celebrated an anniversary. On January 20, 2009 I began writing this blog.

When I think back I recall why I began writing. I began writing because there was nothing left for me to try. I had gone to counseling, rehab, gone to Nar-Anon, NA, AA, and Al-Anon meetings, I had talked to friends and talked, screamed and cursed at my beautiful wife, nothing worked for ME. I began writing to save my life.

The lesson learned for me was that each of us must keep working to find our own answers for ourselves. Writing was my answer.

Six years later, thank you all for reading. Thank you all for commenting. I owe you all a debt that can never be repaid.

There are people reading this blog since I began writing. I know there are parents just now finding that they are not alone in this terrible journey. For all of us we do what we must and hope that peace can find us in some way. I hope that in some way I have shared my experiences that have helped someone.

I don't know what the future holds. Today my son is clear and sober. There was a day when we did not believe there was hope. Do not write the end of the story until the story is finished.

Where there is life there is hope.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

You Are NEVER Alone

My last post was about a son that was buried. A mother wrote me to tell me about her loss.

My heart ached and a shiver run up my spine thinking about how close and how many times we feared that we would bury our son.

Evidence to the title of my post comes in many ways.

Last week another mother that said she had been reading my blog for years wrote a personal e-mail to me. In that e-mail she told me how she lost her son under similar circumstances in February 2013. She told me how their lives were shattered and to this day they are heartbroken. She told me how they still feel guilty and feel they are damaged irreparably.

With all of those feelings this mother's final thought and message was to put her contact information in that e-mail and ask me to forward it to the mother who lost her son last week. She wanted to make sure this mother had someone that was walking in her shoes to talk to if she needed someone.

No matter where each of us are in this journey, WE ARE NEVER ALONE.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tragic News

Today a son was buried.

A regular reader of this blog messaged me to tell me that last week her son died from an overdose. She found him in their home.

I cannot fathom the pain and grief a parent experiences in this reality. There are no words in the English language to express the hurt we all feel for a family experiencing this heartache.

Hugs go out to this family. There is nothing more I or we can do. The monster takes life from not only a young man but from an entire family.

Every day parents of addicts live with this fear. For a parent, every second of life is lived on a razor thin edge. It is so tragic as young people fall to this scourge. My heart aches.

If love was enough to stop the monster addiction would be nothing more than a memory.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

An End of Year Update

Many regular and long time readers may have noticed that there was no attempt at humor on my blog this holiday. For those not initiated you an go back and read other posts from right before Christmas. This year it has been more about a quiet appreciation for me.

Today is my birthday and the last day of 2014. Today I give pause to the pace of the holiday celebrations to think about what was and what is.

For those parents still embroiled daily in the chaos simply because you love someone that is addicted; give pause and count your blessing that no matter how bad it can be there are parents out there that would give their last breath simply to hold their child one more time. Where there is life there is hope. I am not trying to minimize your pain and anguish. Your pain is real, I know that pain in your heart. My point is that life today is not life tomorrow. I stand in awe every time I see my son. I know that in 2010 I had nearly give up son for dead. I could not find the hope to allow me to imagine the possible. I was drowning in the probable. When you find yourself in the pain I had come to accept step back and take care of yourself, you are not alone.

Today I have learned to appreciate the day. I was always looking towards tomorrow and did not allow myself to appreciate the gift of NOW. I was the guy that when a task needed to be done I did it because I could get it done so much faster myself. Grandchildren have taught me that slowing down, handing a grandchild a wrench and allowing a 2, 3 and 6 year old to fumble as I watch can create pleasure and satisfaction rather than impatience.

I have learned that what I am is what others had allowed me to become. I have resigned my job and today as I stood in front of a group of nearly 50 people in the break room I looked at these great people, most of them I hired, and I knew my success was the result of their success. None of us are islands in wild and angry sea. Every island is connected to every other piece of land in the whole world. There may be turbulent seas separating us at times but when you dive deep enough there is one big rock connecting each of us no matter the differences.

Today I have everything in the world I need. No presents required or allowed for this birthday boy. There are people in my life that love me, probably more than I deserve. There are untold numbers of people I love. I am one of the luckiest persons alive to be able to be connected this way to so many people. So many of you that read this blog carried me when I could not walk. I already have everything in the world I need. Thank you.

Happy New Year to All

Thursday, December 18, 2014

That Time of Year

As the first first snowfall of the season blankets Kansas City there brings a feeling of peace for the season in me. Although I am not a religious person I appreciate this time of year. When traditionally a feeling of peace and love is suppose to overtake us all and sweep everyone into a blissful state good cheer it doesn't always happen that way for all.

Parents of an addict know how painful it is during the holiday season. Our expectations lead us to imagine this perfect season. We ache for that time before the monster of addiction invaded our family. Then all of a sudden reality snaps us back to the heartache of a loved one afflicted with this terrible disease.

On another blog long ago, I don't remember who said it but I have always remembered the thought. "An expectation is nothing more than a premature disappointment." When I first read that I remember thinking to myself what a sad life that must be to be a parent that believes something like that to be true. Like I said, that was a long time ago. As I lived I learned more about myself and more about addiction, no longer is that phrase sad, that phrase is freedom.

This holiday can be a time of peace for parents of an addict as long as we remember to accept what is given and accept that our loved one is suffering from the disease of addiction.

Addiction takes no holiday. Share your love, share the holiday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thank You, My Brother

This post isn't addiction related but is an important event in my life and I would like to share it with all of you. Below is what my brother posted on his Facebook page today.

Today I take my boots off and hang my helmet up for the last time. Myself and my fellow firefighters have been in fires we never should have been but, all houses are occupied until proven differently. I have seen newborn babies take their first breath and some people take their last. I have carried people and animals out of fires with hopes that they take another breath. I have seen people that have lost everything and then say, we will be OK because we still have each other! To my sons that said they always worried about me, you don't have to worry anymore. I have made life long friends and if I have offened any fellow fire fighters, I was just trying to make you a better fire fighter and public servants. To my fellow fire fighters, please be safe and always go home to your families when your shift is over. So with that said: After 31 yrs. of service that I will never forget or regret......Battilion Chief Brian Grover....Out of service!!!

Thank you my brother for all that you have done for so many.



My brother with my daughter and two grandchildren

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Please Give Me 18 Minutes

If you have an addict loved one in your home please take 18 minutes to watch this video.

If you have not heard of or know what the CRAFT approach can do to help you and your loved one then you need to set aside just a few minutes for this introduction.

For any of you that are at the end of your rope then change your approach.

Be sure to watch both chapters.

Getting an Addict into Treatment: The CRAFT Approach



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's Thanksgiving to the Parent of and Addict?

What a question. What does the parent of an addict have to be thankful about?

I remember the horrors of holidays. It seems no matter the occasion Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays or anything that was special to our family our son while he was using found a way to bring heartache and sorrow to the occasion.

Why couldn't he just be OK for one day? Why do we have to have every holiday and special occasion ruined? These were the constants in our life.

Looking back it is easy to remember these events. A son showing up on Christmas Eve while we were walking out the door. Drug dealers delivering heroin to our home on Christmas Eve as casually as a pizza delivery person. Thanksgiving not being able to rouse him to join us for lunch. Going down to a prison located 125 miles away on Thanksgiving eve to pick him up after being released. Every holiday was an event.

The perspective of time and distance allows me to understand most all of our anguish and hurt was self imposed. We EXPECTED what was impossible to be delivered. My son was an addict. My son was addicted to drugs and I didn't understand addiction and what it meant.

My son suffered from the disease of addiction. He did what addicts do and all that is expected of an addict. He used drugs no matter what I wanted or expected. My heartache and anger was self imposed. I expected from him something he didn't have to give. At least not at that time.

If your loved one is suffering from addiction accept the reality of what IS and don't play a game with yourself of OUGHT to be able to be good for one day.

Secrets from a father about for surviving a holiday with an addicted loved one would include:

  • Temper your holiday expectations. 
  • Accept what is given.
  • Love with no return expectation.
  • Do not expect something from someone that they do not have to give.
  • Inside there is still a person. You loved them all their life, do not forget.
  • Where there is life there is hope. Look around you and see the life.
Never stop believing. Tomorrow my son will be joining us with his family. Hugs will be shared. We will give thanks to all and each other. 6 years ago if anyone would have told me this day would come I would have thought they were crazy. Never stop believing in yourself or others.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Another Mother

Another mother writing and trying to make sense of this chaos that we call Parent of an Addict.

Please visit, say hi and offer a hug.

The Addict In My Basement

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

More Parents Learning

Another mother has begun writing a blog in an effort to help themselves with learning how to be the parents of an addict. Please welcome her and help with your wisdom.

My Son's Drug Use - One Mom's Story

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peace in the Woodshop

I know why I was able to find peace in my workshop while my son was using.

In my shop I have a Coping Saw.


I know, I know, it's a dumb joke but it works for me.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Are You A Fixer?

The absolute worst thing that can happen to a fixer happened to me this week. This week the hard drive in my computer crashed. I am not a techie but that never stopped someone that is a fixer. YouTube is like crack and meth combined to a fixer.

Off came the back of my Macbook. Screws were laying all over the table. Why stop at replacing a hard drive, why not change the battery too, it's old and getting fire hot when I use the computer too. So old parts laying on the kitchen table, new parts installed now it is off to the Genius Bar to get an operating system loaded. Everything works and the installation of an operating system was free.

This is like mainlining for a fixer. My computer is working again, except that I didn't get a big enough hard drive. So more "fixing" will be in order.

Why would this be important to write about on a blog about addiction? Because us "fixers" don't stop at computers, cars, plumbing, electrical wiring and on and on. We believe deep in our soul that we can fix our addicted loved one too.

There is a world of difference between diagnosing a problem, watching a YouTube video, picking up a screwdriver and replacing the right parts and "fixing" our loved one.

It took this "fixer" years to learn that no matter what I tried and how much "control" I thought I had there is no "fixing" another person until they want to fix themselves.

The worst thing that can happen to us fixers is we dive in the shallow end head first and swim away triumphant. We get that Superman complex and all it does is handicap us when real problems confront us.

It is important we ALL understand our limits and boundaries. Sometimes a "fixer" needs to be a "supporter".