Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Luck Runs Out :-(

We live in the corner of a county that allows access to 3 other counties all within just a very few miles. Because of that it was easy for our son during his time of using to spread out his offenses across many counties and many municipalities. Now he is going to court and trying to clean up the messes. Last week I told you all he got a couple of weekends in jail in two of the counties. Today he went to court in another county. It didn't go as well, he got 6 months in jail. They took him into custody immediately.

Looks like his luck ran out but I keep in mind that it could have been worse. He may not have the same opinion.


We all have many things to be thankful for in our life even if we do have a loved one addicted to awful substances. Sometimes it is so hard to remember that in the midst of drama and crisis that seems never ending.

So I don't forget I am listing a few from my list as it relates to addiction and this blog.

I am thankful my son is clean today. Today is what I have been given and tomorrow will be another not to be feared or celebrated, only to be lived.

I am thankful for all of our family and friends that support us when we needed it in dark times.

I am thankful for every word of advice all of you wise friends have offered on this blog and in person.

I am thankful for all of the parents that are lost in their child's addiction and have searched and found blogs and resources to help with their pain and education. We were those parents not so long ago.

I am thankful I never lost sight of hope.

I am thankful that there are people so willing to give of themselves to help others in this madness. They are the ones willing to stand up in front of others and admit that have walked this tangled path, there is a way.

I'm sure there are many more things but I have to get to work now, of which is another thing I am thankful for.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reading Material

I just finished reading a blog from a person that made a comment to one of my posts. This parent has a son that has been in recovey for 2 years, his drug of choice was opiates.

I want to highly recommend this writing. His writings and reflections are so insightful. Please visit his sight and read all of his posts to date. He just began writing in October and all of us should feel lucky that he has shared his thoughts and learnings on his sons addiction, recovery and his own recovery.

Addiction Journal

ps.: The Partnership @ has published another one of my essay's on their Intervene site: Been There, Done That: How Personal Stories Can Help Fight Teen Pressure to Use Drugs

Friday, November 19, 2010


Yesterday my son passed a couple of milestones in justice. He had two court appearances that could have carried significant time in jail. The first appearance in the morning he had been advised by his attorney chances were likely he would receive 90 days in the county jail. I don't know what was done or said, maybe the the judge did see a different young man standing before him. The sentence wound up being 2 weekends in jail, and my son gets to choose the weekends of his convenience.

The second appearance in a different county also carried a high chance of an extended stay at the county resort. Again only 2 weekends however the judge did mandate they be the next two consecutive weekends.

It's such a relief by all; the outcome was best as could be expected. Alex is still stressing from all of the fines. I tried to comfort him by explaining something that took me many more years to learn than he has been alive.

Money is easy. His initial response was a "HUH, yea!" I went on to explain, every single day we get an opportunity to make more money. Money is easy what comes today goes away tomorrow and more comes to take its' place. Money is nothing more than dirty paper and heavy metal. It provides a measure of comfort but fails by its very nature to provide joy.

Time and relationships are what's important. When you lose time and relationships that is irreplaceable. Every minute that goes by is gone forever, every dollar through your fingers gets replaced by another later. Joy is what you get from time and relationships. It's not the discomfort of jail that is the punishment. The loss of those minutes towards creating joy for yourself and in others is the punishment.

He seemed OK with what I said but I know from personal experience it takes a lot more life experience to accept a belief like this rather than acceptance because someone telling you it is so.

Lately Alex and his girlfriend have been joining us on Friday Date night. It is fun having them with us and we have been connecting with him in a way we have missed for several years. Looks like he will miss a few Friday's but that is OK. We'll catch up later.

ps.: almost forgot he does get to have Thanksgiving with all of us. :-) wonder if I will be able to think of something to be thankful for this year?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fair and Equal???

I just wrote a post about the philosophical meaning of fair and equal as I feel about the concepts to me. I read the thing to myself a couple times and thought to myself, what a load of crap. Just spit out what you wanted to say without justifying.

Fair and equal are not the same thing. Given a choice I'd rather be treated fairly every time over being treated equally. Fair means sometimes my expectations of myself and the expectations of others of me are much greater than for others. Fair means a recognition that my skills and abilities in some areas are below par and due to my nature I may never reach average or adequate in some peoples eyes. I want this recognition of me as an individual. I do not want to be just lumped into a mass and treated equally.

This subject is particularly striking today. Our system here in the US is based upon "all men are created equal." To me a fallacy in concept. None of us are equal. We all have differing strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, fairness is impossible to achieve on a mass scale so we settle for a flawed but easy concept of equality.

As parents we tend to waiver between fair and equal. How many of you with more than one kid has caught yourself saying, "If I do this for ____ then I have to do that for ____." A recognition that maybe you are doing something for one person that they need but in an effort to be "fair" we try to make everything "equal". Guilty as a parent here at times, equal is so much better than hurt feelings or explaining yourself.

This is weighing on my mind today because Alex is once again in court. This time he could be looking at up to 90 days in jail for driving on a suspended license. He got caught driving to work a few weeks ago and I didn't even know he had a suspended license. The harsh reality is that when he was using he got his license suspended and got caught once driving then too. Now he is facing the consequences. I am all for consequences but this is where the concept of fairness and equality get thrown into the mix and I struggle.

I don't envy judges and probation officers. How do you look at a person and recognize sincerity versus a con job? What does our justice system have in place to facilitate rehabilitation and restitution instead of punishment? And how do people in the system make an educated decision about a person when from what I have seen in courtrooms you usually get 10 minutes with a public defender and 3 minutes in front of a judge?

Why am I whining? I was an advocate for locking him up when he was using, we wanted him locked up and believe each time he was incarcerated that was a step forward that helped all of us to get to the point we are today. We are at a point today that my son is a different individual with very different values than he had 6 months ago. 6 months ago my son was suffering from an active disease and its symptoms called addiction. Today he is struggling but his disease is in what I think of as remission. Never cured but controlled.

My hope is that today in court someone recognizes that the young man standing in front of them this morning is not the same person that has been in that room so many times before.

case continued - waiting on background reports. (whatever that means, I'm not very literate in all this court stuff)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Tangible Outcome

These are a couple of messages the sponsoring teacher left for me following our talk. One she posted as a comment in the last post and the other was an e-mail. I hope they are as inspiring for you as they are for me.

a comment:
I am the teacher who was present when Alex and Ron spoke with the students. Today I spent 45 minutes talking with a student who was moved by the experience. This person had been involved with drug, and her brother is a drug addict. She said seeing Alex, and listening to him, gave her more confidence that she did the right thing getting away from the drugs and her brother. She says she is the only one in her family clean, and that she knew how much strength it must have taken to come speak with the class. She said, "Alex was amazing! I know he'll make it! I hope that he will come back and talk with other students because he made a difference in me."

an email:
Uh, tell Alex, he did have an impact.  Since the 3rd block 
presentation, I've had 3 kids speak 
out about someone in his/her family being an addict.  And, the pain of not being able to see 
him/her because of the addiction. Opened up some 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Unbelievable is the only way to describe what happened speaking to the students at our high school.

This morning I went out to speak to Alex and tell him I wouldn't be having lunch with him today. He inquired why we wouldn't be having lunch together and I told him I was speaking at the high school to students about addiction. In the past my speaking and writing sometimes irritated him, especially if I was speaking to people at his former high school. So naturally I was reluctant to tell what I was doing but I was straight up with him.

His response to my speaking today was an inquiry if it would be possible for him to go with me. He wanted to talk to the kids himself about what he had been through. I was nearly speechless. Do you have any idea how huge this was.

We went for lunch and headed to the school. The sponsoring teacher was actually a teacher Alex had in school. I did my talk and Alex contributed some comments and after the main talk was finished the teacher ask Alex a couple questions and then the students opened the floodgates with questions. Alex handled everyone of them. The students were riveted to him. I just sat down at an empty desk.

I'm am telling every person that reads this blog; I cannot remember when I was so proud of my son. I was so proud I stood up in front of all of those kids and told them with my voice cracking how proud I was of him to step up to this place with me.

What a day, what a thrill.

ps.: I had invited the Superintendent of Schools for our district and he attended the talk and listened right along with the kids.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Invited Back

Last year I was given the opportunity to speak to students at our local high school about the effects of addiction on a person and family. I have been invited back to speak to another group of students at our high school again on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

This is a chance for every one of you to stand with me and send your message to freshmen students with a few sophomores and juniors sprinkled in the mix. Tell me the one thing they absolutely need to hear from us. My plan is to use the same basic presentation format but if someone has a point that needs to be said please let me know. It's not to late to add something that may be the key to a message.

For those that didn't read about last years presentation and its effect here is a link to the communication from the sponsoring teacher of that presentation.

The Response

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Follow-up To Previous Post

Two requests/questions have been ask by readers concerning my post about how much work it is parenting an addict. One, detaching with love, how? Two, what is, working on things that didn't accomplish or mean a thing? Both of these questions are complex. The difficulty in these issues involve relationships with your child and yourself.

Detaching does not mean not loving or believing in your child. Detaching does not mean walking away and giving your child to the drugs and washing your hands of the whole situation.

Detaching with love is difficult. Mom and I struggle with this daily and it it is ongoing. But it is something that is good for us and good for our son. If, as a parent you want to do what is best for your child no matter how old they are and how much they are struggling you will work on this every day.

To detach with love requires a little bit of selfish behavior that rewards both entities. Detaching with love requires good boundaries. Without taking the time to set good boundaries and understanding exactly how your boundaries match your core values you will find yourself forever in rescue mode.

Operating in rescue mode means you will react to every emotion, crisis and incident of drama in both your life and your addicts. Rescue mode will consume you and every ounce of your energy and it is self perpetuating. The more rescuing you do the more you will find to rescue. Think of those people that have made it their life's mission and job to rescue: firefighters, police officers, military specialists, lifeguards; not a single one of them attempts to rescue anyone without first understanding their boundaries. Without clear boundaries rescuers become the rescued. This applies to parents of addicts too.

Detaching with love means you understand and buy-in to your own personal values and how they relate to the behavior you exhibit to your addict. I know very well this is complicated. This requires you to study about boundaries, create the quiet time to really analyze what you believe about addiction and your child and depending on the person and family it may require you to seek outside counsel of friends, counselors or outside groups. But even with all the help this is a deeply personal task.

Working on things that did not accomplish a damn thing. With most of us this does not just apply to our addict, it applies to our lives. A wise man once counseled me that if I spent my life making only new mistakes then my life was truly a life of learning. When I think of the things I did and worked on with my addict much of that time could be considered wasted or even worse repeating the same mistakes I had already made. Many of the specific examples I could cite are actually repeated mistakes and most of them relate to being in rescue mode that at the time I didn't even recognize as a method of parenting or living with an addicted child.

Wasted efforts and wasted time is the effort and time in which you learn nothing and in which you do not change yourself. That's the simplest answer that only becomes complex when you think about application. The problem is the application again can vary based upon the family, addict and circumstances.

Monday, November 1, 2010

20/20, Teens Hooked On Heroin

In case you missed the ABC News show 20/20 did on teens and heroin here is a link to the entire show.

Teens Hooked On Heroin