Monday, December 26, 2011

A Belated Christmas Present

On Christmas our daughter and son-in-law made the official announcement that Brooke will soon be a big sister. A little brother or sister is due to show up on July 24.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Different Christmas

Today mom is at work and I am playing at cleaning the house. I will admit my standards are not nearly as high as moms but I'll try to get he big stuff.

Tomorrow, Alex the girls and their families will come over to our home for Christmas. This will be a good day. I truthfully cannot remember a year except when they were babies that Alex was here for Christmas or not high if he was here. It is easy to sit here and recall the horrors. "Lost" presents, blank out of this world stares, nodding off on on, mysterious disappearances, and all of those other things you all know very well.

It may not be wise to have expectations but for me it is impossible not to look forward to tomorrow. There will be 4 children here from 4 months old to 9 years old. Gifts have been wrapped and I hope they all meet the kids expectations. Our house will be a home full of joy and laughter. It will be so nice to have all of our kids together and have Alex clear and sober, it has been so long.

I wish everyone could be writing a post like this but I know some of you are still struggling with those lost years. We know how hard it is and our thoughts are with all of you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa is a Fat Man

I have been thinking a bit about others. This time of season Santa is usually front and center in my concerns.

I've come to realize that Santa is fat man. My assumption with him carrying all that extra weight and binge eating cookies he may be suffering from at least a mild case of heart disease. This is a serious condition for a man of this great importance. A heart condition can quickly deteriorate into a disabiling condition. Especially with all of his work and strenuous activity coming up in a few nights. I'd hate to think that we could have a hand in Santa's heart attack due to being over worked.

Today I texted mom about my concerns about Santa's health and suggested that tonight she should be a very naughty girl when I get home. That way Santa would have one less house to visit and that would lessen his stress and workload.

We should all do our part to help Santa.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Food For Thought

I'm sure everyone that reads our blog has strong feelings one way or another about "The War on Drugs." For me the idea of "For or Against" shouldn't be the argument. The first step I would hope is we could reach one common belief, what we are currently doing, doesn't work!

Richard Branson has written on his blog a thought provoking article that I want to share. I know elimination is an unrealistic dream so what do we do to get to a better place than we are now?

Richard Branson, "Time to End the War on Drugs"

What do you think?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Same Thing Every Day, Change Happens, Life Goes On

Life goes on for us all. Alex continues to get better and our grand kids get bigger every day. But on the other end of the spectrum we have our elders presenting other issues as they age.

My mom is doing fairly well. It is like she has settled on a plateau, for how long no one can know. There are better days and some that aren't so good but she goes to lunch with me and others. She eats well and is completely aware. She still talks about her job even though she retired a year ago. Her big joy is her grand kids and great grand kids. Mom is aware how well Alex is doing and she is proud of him.

Darlene's uncle is not doing well, he has cancer and hospice was called in this last week, it is very sad. When Darlene and I first got married 35 years ago I learned he liked to hunt and fish. He and I spend many Saturday's hunting and fishing together.

My aunt has Alzheimer's and is going downhill very quickly. This is my mothers sister, it will be very hard on my mom.

Darlene's dad has knees that are shot. He has already had replacements in both knees once and does not want to do it again. He will need a lot of help, he will not give up the farm and cows. I tease Darlene that she better get down there and learn how to drive that tractor and chop holes in the ice on the pond. Those cows need hay ALL winter.

All of these very close relatives are over 80 years old. It is hard to see these health issues and how they are being affected. Instead of dwelling upon the negative mom and I are trying hard to see the joy of all those years they have lived and great contributions they made to our lives and family. Our Christmas wish is simple. Our wish is they will continue to be an inspiration to us for many more Christmas's in the future.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Recovery and Me, We Don't Get Along

This isn't what you think from reading the title. I like to switch things around sometimes. Recovery is about me.

I haven't been keeping up on blogs much last week. I just got home from my second trip to the doctor in 4 days. After x-rays and everything else he confirmed it, pneumonia. Now he tells me I need to take it easy. He told me that pneumonia is nothing to mess around with. I ask him if he had told pneumonia I was nothing to mess around with. He said I need to take it easy. So now I am stuck trying to recover from this crap for a couple weeks. It's a good thing I was never an addict, 30 days of rehab and recovery, I'd have killed somebody by that time. Taking it easy and not doing much does not fit me very well at all.

I'll try to keep up on my reading blogs but comments my be sketchy. No one should be required to endure comments from a person that is making every effort he can to OD on any antibiotics that I can find. (pssst, whispering) Anybody got a street connection for antibiotics, cough syrup and oxygen?   LOL

Friday, December 9, 2011

Addiction DVD

We have an Addiction DVD, new in package that we like to give to someone that needs it. It's a documentary produced by HBO.

If you would like this leave you e-mail as a comment. If you prefer to not leave your e-mail in a public forum just e-mail me your contact info.

On next Wednesday we will draw a name from a hat and send the DVD. I'll pay the shipping.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Only A Little Weed

This last week a I spoke to six more high school classes about what it does to you and your loved ones if you choose to use drugs.

During one class I had a vocal student that questioned my opinions on smoking marijuana. During these talks I don't hold back on my experiences as the parent of an addict or what I observed happens to a young person that makes that initial choice to use drugs and then become addicted.

This 14 year old student began his comments as, "What's wrong with a little smoke?"

At the beginning of my discussion I preface everything with I am not here to be another person telling you not to use drugs. My whole reason for being here is to provide you real life examples to what could happen to you and your loved ones if you make that choice to use.

"What's wrong with a little smoke?" First of all it is illegal. If you are dealing with someone that is using or supplying an illegal substance you will be or eventually be exposed to other illegal substances. There is the danger of an unknown product, who regulates the quality and composition of this product? There is always the risk of arrest.

This student then wanted to engage in an argument as to the merits of legalization of marijuana. Not going there. That's not the purpose of my being in the classroom.

The student is stuck on his issue and subject re-surfaces again later in the discussion. My questions to the class, "Is weed a "gateway" drug? If you smoke weed will you become a heroin addict? Not everyone that smokes weed becomes a heroin addict, but I have not yet met a single heroin addict that didn't smoke weed first, which one are you? I've never met a heroin or meth addict, or cokehead that started with heroin have you? Do you believe that someone just wakes up one day and decides, today I am going to stick a needle in my arm?"

As the end of class alarm sounds and the students are leaving, "I don't care what you say, I am not going to stop smoking."

I know 14 years old may be too late to start talking, but what do you say to your 14 year old when you hear, "It's only a little weed."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On Thanksgiving

On Thursday we all think about what we are to give thanks for in our life. This year I have decided to limit my thanks to my hero’s.

Here is my short list:

Mom, my bride is my hero. She is the one that suffered through the role as the mother of an addict. But she also stood beside me through all of the frustration and hell I dished on her because of my inability to control my sons using.

Alex is my hero. I never knew anything about addiction, he drug me through hell, but I know his hell was much, much worse than anything I experienced. He climbed out of that place. He did it because he wanted to do it and he did it alone because that is the only way it can be done.

My daughters and their husbands are my hero’s. They were there when I needed. They allowed me into their life when I needed someone that was a part of me but was able stand alone and strong.

Brooke and Tyler are my hero’s. They appeared at just the right time, there is no way they can understand that they saved my life; they are my grandchildren.

My family and friends are my hero’s. A family that did not give up on Alex or us. They offered a shoulder to cry on and a hand to hold when it was needed. Friends that were there when we needed them and knew we needed time and knew how to listen.

Kristy and her girls are my hero’s. They could see through the disease to the real person inside.

The people at my work are my hero’s. They knew it was not the normal me. They carried my load when I couldn’t. They never stopped believing.

Every single person that reads my blog and left a comment or had us in their thoughts are my hero’s. You people did more for me than I could ever re-pay or begin to describe. One day I hope to do as much for all of you as you have done for me.

All of the rehab counselors, medical personnel anyone setting in meetings are my hero’s. These are the people that made an unknown impact on Alex and all of us during this nightmare. There is no way to thank them all but I have a feeling they do what they do not for the thanks but for something inside of themselves that we may never understand.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Outlaw Breathing

"You don't have any idea what it is like. There is no way you can even imagine it." said Alex.

I'm reading of relapses, rehabs troubles, a fatal overdose and general anguish and anger by parents coast to coast. E-mails are coming into my mailbox and I have even gotten phone calls. Must be getting close to the holidays.

I can pinpoint the exact time I got it. I moved farther and closer to understanding addiction than any time in my life so far. It was that light bulb moment.

Alex had been using we had our normal argument with me screaming at him. The anger, fear and frustration coming out that only another parent of an addict can understand. After I had hollered at him as long as I could I calmed down and we both sat down at the kitchen table.

Tears in my eyes once again I pleaded, "I just don't understand, just quit using drugs and everything will be OK."

In the next three minutes Alex taught me more about addiction than I had learned from all the counselors and meetings I had attended up to that time.

Alex ask me to play a game with him. "Dad, hold your breath, and I will make an effort not to think about drugs, want to use drugs or what drugs feel like. Dad, you will win the game every single time. You can hold your breath longer than I can go without thinking about and wanting to use. The only time I can go without me wanting to use more than anything in the world is when I sleep and even then I dream about drugs."

In that very moment I got a glimpse of what addiction must be like to an addict in active addiction. The urge and need to use is as strong or stronger than my need for oxygen. That was the very moment that I realized everything I was doing would never have an effect on his addiction. Everything I had done up to that point hurt me and hurt him but had no effect on the monster.

Based on the title of this, "Outlaw Breathing" this essay isn't about legalization of drugs. Truth is, I still don't know exactly how I feel about that, there are too many other concerns right now. This essay is about illustrating how overwhelming addiction can be at times. Even with periods of sobriety.

Even after ten years of effective management of diabetes a diabetic can go on a one day sugarfest and end up in a coma or dead. It's the same with addiction, the past is important, success builds upon success but the absolute most important day in the world it today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time For Christmas Season, AGAIN?

The list's are being created and the bombardment of commercials has begun. In my mind not so long ago when you mentioned a day with a descriptor of "Black" in front of it, well, it wasn't taken as a good thing. What a trap we have all fallen into as it relates to the holiday season.

Stress, expectations, disappointments all seem to be heightened this time of year. Decorations, meals, family gatherings all compound feelings that we expect to be good and wonderful but by the time everything rolls around we are too exhausted to appreciate anything about the holiday.

I'm sitting here thinking about simplicity. Several thoughts have come to mind but one memory of Christmas several years ago overshadows them all. There have been years we have spent way too much on presents and we probably aren't the only ones that have made that error. One year Mom and Dad ask for something different and small of cost. That present really brings back good memories for me.

I'm sharing this because it takes a little planning and action now to reap the good memories we have now of that present. Back before the digital age we decided there was nothing we really needed. You know how the kids always ask, "What do you want for Christmas?" And we struggle to come up with SOMETHING that we really need. Our list was simple one year. On Thanksgiving evening we gave each of our kids a disposable camera wrapped as a present plus the money to have the pictures developed. (told you it was quite a few years ago.) We ask each of the kids to use the camera and take pictures of their favorite things. Then on Christmas morning for each of them to show all of us their pictures and explain why those things mean so much to them.

That Christmas morning Mom and Dad got a real Christmas present. Simple but meant so much to us.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

??? Arguing With The Science

I just read Annette's blog and she had an interesting article linked at CNN about high IQ and drug use.

Us parents are always looking for the answer of "Why". There may not be many answers as to "why" but there may be indicators and predictors that we haven't yet noticed or examined.

Just like Annette's daughter, our son was smart. We always struggled with the question of, 'He is so brilliant and smart, how did he not understand what drugs would lead to in his life?" Maybe this answer isn't to be known.

I can't just throw every smart kid that seems different or is struggling for attention, must be the center of attention and hyper competitive under the addiction bus but as parents it is not wise to ignore the signs. Alex was very smart, hyper competitive and had a strong need to be center in attention as a child.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


You know how dents and broken things would happen to your child's car when they were using and they never seemed to know what happened or had several lame excuses that you knew were BS. Alex has a new dent in his car.

We all know how it got there. Not paying attention and Dad backed into his car while he was parked in our driveway. I need an excuse, anybody got any good suggestions on how I can blame this on his addiction and those DAMN drugs?  LOL

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Parents and Recovery

Alex stopped using a over one year ago. Today he is drug free and working to put his life back together.
There are countless books and websites about addiction, rehab and recovery. Most of them are filled with valuable pages of information that help both the addict and the parent. I won’t discredit anything on these sites in books but I want to share what I have learned about being the parent of an addict in recovery not from reading but from the experience. No long drawn out processes or pages explanations. This is just some words and actions that seem to help me.
  • Recovery is hard. Sometimes they need a hand, make sure your hand is out for them to grasp when needed. But, don’t hold on too long.
  • Addicts dig deep holes for themselves. Contrary to what you may think filling the hole is faster when only one person has a shovel. If you help to shovel it will take longer to fill the hole.
  • Forgiveness is for me. The sooner I understand the faster I heal.
  • “Believe” or “doubt”. I choose believe. Have you ever had someone tell you that they believe in you?
  • Normal is right. “Fragile, Handle with Care” is not stamped in big red letters on a child in recovery. To stop using means they want a normal life again.
  • I love you. That is a reassurance we ALL need.
  • Nagging, suspicious looks and reminders of past mistakes really irritate me. Addicts in recovery probably don’t need them either.
  • His recovery is his to manage. I know that for the last seven years he hasn’t been able to manage ANYTHING. But, we all have to learn and begin someplace.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yesterday Alex told his mother a bit of good news. On Nov. 8 he was released from probation. He is no longer on probation in ANY jurisdiction! He still owes a couple places money but he has payment plans with the courts that he follows religiously.

The steps are long to get back but they are worth all the effort.

Alex is an inspiration to many people. I'm not sure he realizes it or understands. I hear it from people all the time. I see people that know Alex or know him from this blog and the parting comment to me is always, "Please, tell Alex hi, and tell him I am happy for him and proud of him."

Dad and Mom are proud of him too.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Talking to Students Again

I'm out doing my thing again with students. Spent the last 2 days in health class at out local high school talking about the effects of addiction on an individual and a family.

My talks center around what you will become if you choose to use drugs. I don't do the "Don't take drugs or Just say no thing". I just lay it out to the students as if they are young adults and capable of making informed decisions if you make the choice to use, this is what you will become. No judgement just the facts and reality of addiction.

A student from one of the media classes was sent to take pictures. Here are of pictures of me doing my thing. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another Mom Writing

Here is a link to another mom writing about this insanity. Please visit her and make her feel welcome as so many of you did for us.


Friday, November 4, 2011

No Magic Bullet

As I said in my last post. There is NO magic bullet to end this addiction monster. It will take work by thousands and thousands of individuals reaching out and touching another person. The real answer is that personal touch. Here is a story about one of those people. Many, many more deserve the same recognition but, from my experience, the recognition isn't the reason we do this work.

"BLHS softball coach Mayberry wins MLB award for drug-free education efforts"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Skipping Down the Path

Life is happening. It's not the drama and crisis of life with an addict. It is the life that we thought about before an addicted loved one changed everything we believed about our children.

Last night Alex and Kristy moved into a house they rented. Out of an apartment where the playground for Kristy's girls was a parking lot. It is a smaller place but "home" is what you make it.

Halloween is Monday. Mom told me that Alex and Kristy are taking the girls to Leslie's house and they are going to trick or treat with Brooke in her neighborhood. This will be Brooke's first year to realize that extortion and blackmail are legitimate and viable methods for obtaining sweet snacks. She already knows that manipulation works on PaPa and Grammy. Mom and I will be there to share in all three kids excitement and fun.

Brooke is 3 years old. I can't believe that little thing I am holding in our profile picture is now 3 years old. She is a big girl for 3. She wears a size 6x clothes and 13 shoe. Girl must have come from good stock.  LOL

The newspaper interviewed me about nominating Susan for the MLB Play Healthy Award. The article will come out next week. I'll put a link to it when it is published. Something I told the person that interviewed me is something I have come to understand and work each day towards. "There is no silver bullet or magic wand that will end this addiction monster. Our only hope is hundreds and thousands of Susan's and parents reaching out and making a difference with one kid at a time." All I ask of each person reading this blog is: Each day try to "touch" one child in some way. Maybe it is your own that is struggling with active using or maybe it is a sibling, relative, or neighbor, Maybe it is some child you don't know in a school, church, a team or a club, just make an effort in someway. All it takes for evil to win is for the good to do nothing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Tonight, The Partnership at held their 25th Annual Gala and fund raising event. As a part of that event an announcement was made about the 2011 Play Healthy Award winner. This is an award sponsored by Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Charities and The Partnership at This award is given to a single coach and a player from nominations of deserving coaches  and players from across the nation.

Tonight in New York City at the Waldorf=Astoria, SUSAN MAYBERRY, coach of the Basehor Linwood Bobcats softball team was introduced and announced as the National Play Healthy Coaches Award Winner.
Susan's efforts in coaching and working with her players and students concerning the risks and dangers of drug use in the pursuit of success on the field and off the field made her a winner of this National Award.

I had the proud honor of nominating Susan for this award and she was chosen by Major League Baseball and The Partnership. I nominated her based on her initiative to bring the experience of drug abuse and addiction right into her classroom. Along with her efforts along with Ms. Knowles the drama teacher at BLHS in presenting "Under The Influence" play. You can read about our first hand experiences here:

The Play Healthy Award:

Congratulations, Susan. You deserve this honor and keep up the good work.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Writing On This Blog

It seems to get tougher and tougher to find things to write about on this blog about addiction. Addiction is no longer front and center in our life. We don't take a breath and hold it like it was so easy to do for so many years. We allowed addiction to consume our lives. I'm sure so many of you know that feeling and may still be living in that manner.

I don't know what tomorrow holds but for today I am going to be conscious of life today and enjoy the peace.

Sometimes I think hard about, "What really happened for seven years? What have I REALLY learned? How did we survive? What caused this change in our life?" I'm sorry but I really don't have any solid answers. This sometimes troubles me but I am trying to let go of my need for a concrete answer to these issues. I guess I have to learn with some things "it is what it is."

Now I am satisfied with just trying to relate our experiences to others. Hopefully, it will help them through the nightmare or it will persuade a young person not to follow a path to addiction.

The little things matter as we relate to our son. A, "thank you" that is sincere. A text message or phone call that isn't originating from a police station. Having an open change jar in our bedroom that is slowly filling with silver. Hearing the words, "Mom, I'll get that diaper." Watching him take responsibility with his own health insurance card. Some people not experienced with addiction may read this and think, "Big deal." Yes it is, it is a big deal.

My son is someone I enjoy being around. Couldn't say that with honesty a few years ago.

Where there is life there is hope. But isn't just about hoping for your son, daughter or loved one to stop using. That's certainly part of it but life is happening all around us and allowing addiction to steal life from us is a terrible waste.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Festival 2011

It was another great time for Fall Festival. The weather was warm and didn't resemble Fall at all but the leaves on the trees were turning yellow so that puts you in the mood.

The real positive was that it was warm enough for the babies to be outside so that enables the moms and dads to have fun outside too. If you want to see the pictures to Fall Festival check out the pictures link.

Fall Festival 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Big Head Alert!

I just went to The Partnership's website and they have my 7 Truths essay highlighted on their Homepage.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Parents Help Line

If your looking for someone to talk to about your child using drugs or drinking The Partnership at staffs a parent help line for you to call. This is not a 24 hour emergency line but a line staffed with clinical professionals that you can talk with to get info or make plans. This is a bi-lingual line.

1-855-DRUGFREE  (1-855-378-4373) 

Our Helpline is open Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET. We are closed on weekends and holidays. The Helpline is not a crisis line. If you do not connect with a parent specialist, please leave a message and we will make every effort to get back to you by the next business day. If you are in need of immediate or emergency services please call 911 or a 24 hour crisis hotline.

Our parent specialists are licensed social workers and psychologists with years of experience helping individuals and their families prevent and overcome substance abuse problems.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alzheimers and Addiction

As I have mentioned before, my mother has Alzheimer's. She has good days and bad days. She still lives at home with my sister and is alone all day while my sister works. It hasn't gotten so bad she needs full time care.

I'm an impatient person. I'm not sure I could be a primary caregiver like my sister but one never knows what they are capable of doing until it is required of them. However, in dealing with Alex I have learned very good life lessons about patience and acceptance.

I see at times similarities with Alzheimer's and addiction. Patience and acceptance are characteristics highly valued in dealing with either condition. In the past I could see myself not understanding the limits of a person, even with a disease. It just wasn't my nature. Fortunately I had enough time with Alex that I learned the necessity of  patience and acceptance. I can't imagine how I would have handled it if something tragic would have happened to him before I got to that place.

Alex is getting better. I see him maturing and growing. I'm not saying that it is over and he is cured. I am just saying that progress can actually be observed in his life. Nothing like that comes without struggle and I am sure there are struggles for him I cannot imagine but that is his world and I try hard to stay out of that world so that he continues to grow.

With my mom, there will only be good days and bad days. There isn't long term recovery. But I see her doing all she can too. It would be easy to become impatient, answering the same question, telling her the same thing over and over but I have learned a great deal from my son, even as he was addicted.

Alzheimer's, just like addiction, you must accept what they have to give. These are diseases of the mind. Each disabling in a way I do not understand but must accept. Each person doing exactly what makes sense to them at that very moment, is that wrong what they do or is it just the way it is? The way it is must be accepted. There really isn't an alternative with either person. They are both doing the best they can.

Once again I need to work on myself. I need to find a way to use my time more wisely. The urgent must not overwhelm the important. The important is watching my son grow. The important is being a hero grandpa to a couple of little ones. The important is to see my mom smile when I visit because she still recognizes me. The urgent can wait, the garage can remain a mess another day and the grass may grow a little higher than I like.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tough Love - The Language of Negativity

The language of addiction is laced with many terms that seem to be designed to scare everyone. Many words and descriptors of addiction make me cringe “Hitting bottom”, is a term I have written about before. Another term that I recently been exploring and considering is “Tough Love”.

TOUGH LOVE is harsh. Tough Love is another descriptor that bothers me. For a parent to do what is necessary with an addicted child isn't "tough love" it is REAL LOVE. Real love is letting your child sit in jail (protective custody) when for only a few dollars you could get him out and spare them from the confines of jail. (Only to find them using again with two hours.) Real love is telling your child they cannot live in your home as they continue to use drugs. Real love is seeing your addict hungry, dirty and homeless, buying them a meal and giving them info of people that can help them and encouraging them to seek help and not offering to "fix it" for them. Real love is selfishly taking the time to work on yourself so that when your addict has a "profound experience" you ARE able to help in the right way instead of just falling back into old habits of enabling.

Addiction is a disease. When we see a parent sitting bedside of a child with cancer taking chemotherapy, holding their hand, wiping their head, combing their hair as it falls out, holding the pan as they get sick we admire that parent and comment how much they must love their child to be by their side. That parent doesn’t love their child any more than you or I. That parent is only doing what they can and must to help their child get better; just like we are doing when we practice tough love real love.

Real Love is why you are here reading this post.

Tough love is easy, throw them out and leave them to the world.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Peace and Serenity?

Is it possible for an animal to find peace and serenity?

Our old cat, Bailey is not doing well. For the last few months he has be especially affectionate, always wanting to be on your lap or close. The last month he has wanted to go outside, he has never been restricted from the outside. When he was a kitten and young cat he was outside a lot always hunting and many times bringing back mice and birds. Then I don't think he went outside for over 5 years.

He has gotten steadily thinner this summer and stopped his grooming probably a month ago. He stopped eating about 3 days ago and now all he wants to do is lay on the rocks around the goldfish pond. This is where many of his successful hunts took place. For some reason he seems at peace. Is peace and serenity only a human characteristic or can an old cat find that place too?

Day After Day

Just a little update. I find I am not writing much about the day to day any longer. I guess when the drama and crisis lessens then the need to unload is diminished.

Alex and Kristy's baby is doing great. Tyler is just a little, squirming bundle of happiness. He is growing so fast. Already lifting his head up when he is on his stomach, which he doesn't seem to like much. We took him some of those black and white cards last night. He really seemed interested. It is amazing how those work. When Erica, Alex's oldest sister was born they were first experimenting with those and gave us some at the hospital and they really work. Even as small as Tyler is he was really intrigued and you could see his eyes following them.

Darlene is getting better after her emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. Although she had a minor setback last night, we received the hospital bill, just the hospital, over $43,000. Someone should be ashamed. Luckily we have insurance. What about those that don't? We have a broken health care system and those that don't believe that have their heads in the sand. Or worse yet have been brainwashed by the industry and politicians.

Working on preparations for our annual Fall Festival. This is the 8th year. The invitations went into the mail yesterday. Any readers close the KC area let me know and I will send you an invitation too. As it says on the invitation, "Bring anyone you want with you, we love making new friends." We always try to introduce something new each year. This year I am going to construct a real size Angry Birds game. I am gathering materials to build the piggies area. Some type of blocks, boards, posts and ladders, Leslie had a good idea about painting milk cartons to look like the piggies. I know how to build a big slingshot, Erica and Leslie are going to paint up some red playground balls to resemble the angry birds. I hope this game doesn't flop.

Another new thing is a guy that works with me is a national tournament level yo-yo'er. He has invited a bunch of his friends in the KC YO-YO club to come and they have partnered with the KC Jugglers Club. A bunch of yo-yo'ers and jugglers are coming to Fall Festival and going to demonstrate their talents. I am really looking forward to seeing those tricks.

Fall Festival is something we really enjoy doing before it gets cold here in KS. The price of admission is low. The ticket price is you must sit for a picture. Erica and Darlene construct a photo book of each Fall Festival and family photos are a huge part of the experience. We post them all online and I was amazed at how many Christmas cards we got that had the Fall Festival family photo as part of the card. Erica said, the photo book this year is about 65 pages. I can understand why, with all the family photos and all the photos of the games and winners and kids playing. We always have all the years photo books on a table outside during Fall Festival and people are looking at them all day comparing years, new gray hairs and weights I am sure. Here is a link to last years photos: Fall Festival 2010

BTW, I read all the other blogs and I read where some of our kids and some adults writing their own blogs are clean. Every day I think about how lucky I am to be experiencing this life. Every day I hold out hope for every other child or parent that is fighting this terrible disease. Where there is life there is hope. When we look around there is life everywhere we look. Hope is every bit as real as you are reading this right now. My hope today is that no matter the circumstances you will find a moment of peace in your life and feel the love of those around you.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We all know what it means to ass-u-me but I was pretty bad about making assumptions based upon past experience. While my son was using my assumption most of the time was it would never end. A logical assumption was that every weekend there would be drama and a crisis, and just to stay prepared there was always practice dramas and crisis all through the week too. So naturally my assumption was that nothing would ever change.

After taking time I began to understand that my assumptions were destroying whatever peace that happened my way. It was a real struggle for me to get over my assumptions. I have lived my life with high expectations of myself and just about anyone around me. In my mind constant and consistent learning renews me makes me better, from that the natural assumption was that everyone would want the same. My assumptions were toxic to my well being and mental health.

Living life based on assumptions left me very little time for another even more important "A" word, appreciation.

Today I am better about dropping assumptions but I am still pushing myself to get better every day. As I work on that I am learning I have more time to appreciate life's rewards and struggles. I think of where we all were 12 months, 18 months or even 5 years ago and can better appreciate the place we are today. It would have been my nature to take things and people for granted.

Appreciation is slowly replacing ass-u-me. Appreciation is being able to just sit and watch my son play football and golf in the backyard with his sisters and brother-laws on Labor Day. Appreciation is seeing my son and daughters play games with the kids, forgetting that there is a 20 year age difference. Appreciation is the way a granddaughter grabs my finger, looks up and says, "Papa, swing me" or a tiny grandson that falls asleep when I hold him.

When I am able to release the turmoil inside I get these rewards. I think I have made a good trade. No matter what happens in the future I like this place better and I am going to try my best to remain there.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anderson Cooper's New Show

I got an e-mail from a producer of Anderson Cooper's new show debuting on Sept. 12. They are looking for parents of addicts on the east coast, New York area or able to travel there on this Friday. She said they are doing a show on parents of addicts and would love to have parents in the audience to interact. 

If you are close enough and interested here is Shana's, the producer, e-mail: 

Here is her phone number: (212) 275-8929.

Shana ask me to publicize this to people reading my blog and 
might have an interest in attending the show.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Partnership Post

The Partnership at has published another one of my essays. This one is not just a repost of something I put on the blog.

My Sons Drug Addiction, What I Learned About Myself

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Negotiating Recovery

We've all done it. Seldom, if ever does it work. We make deals, we are willing to sell our soul, our dignity and our future to an addict in an effort to stop the madness.

My efforts to negotiate recovery involved buying things, providing gifts, paying for medical treatment, rehab and rents. All this in a fruitless attempt to bargain away the addiction from my son. This all happens while we enable our addicts and deny the reality.

Then we begin to get smarter about enabling and stop wasting our treasures. But all that does is lead us to a  new phase of negotiating. We begin negotiating with our self. We whisper inside that if I see this and this and that then I can do this and this and that.

How do you negotiate with an addict that has no sense of justice or fair play? How can you negotiate with an addict that suffers from a disease that results in behaviors a sane person would deem insane? An addict will not and cannot negotiate away their addiction. As long as you indulge in negotiating with addiction you have everything to lose and there is nothing to gain.

So what's the answer? You must live in the world of a reality that involves seeing the picture as it is not how you want it to be. Stepping back and taking in the holistic nature of this disease and how it not only affects the addict but all those that they touch is the first step. From that place I was able to see that negotiating was hopeless. Then it came down to figuring out where I actually stood in relationship to the disease and my relationship with my addict.

At that point I began to understand what boundaries meant. At that point there is no negotiating. The only thing left is deciding where you can go and where you cannot go.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Us parents are an imperfect bunch, but we try really hard.

(just a reminder)

Friday, August 19, 2011

A New Moniker

No matter what my son has been called in the past by me or anyone else. The reputation, the names and the past actions mean nothing today because today he is saddled with a new moniker that will be with him the rest of his life, Daddy.

Tyler Alexander Grover
5:38 pm    8/19/11
7 lbs 1 oz
Don't they both look good.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

You Are Not Alone

The Partnership at has launched a new program. It is called "You Are Not Alone".

It is parents talking directly to parents in short video clips. If you are interested you can check it out here:

I've done one video but I promised them I would do more when I get the time. It isn't easy. I can stand in front of people and speak naturally all day but as soon as that red light came on the video camera it was if a gun was pointed at my head. I'll have to work on my delivery.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Recovery Doesn't Mean Perfect

This post isn't about any specific action or thing. This is simply a reminder to myself and others that recovery doesn't mean perfect.

It's important that I think of my son and treat him as a human being, not a special case of someone in a weird place called "recovery". Human beings work, play, think, have dreams, wants and are free to do whatever they believe is important to succeed financially and spiritually. A person in recovery is free to live that life and it is important that I recognize that fact. A person in recovery must also be free to make mistakes and experience hardship just as the rest of us do each day. Without the freedom to live learn grow and make mistakes there can be no growth.

Through fear, past experience or whatever it is not fair for me to put unrealistic expectations on my son just because I fear the past so much. Unrealistic expectations not only hurt me they hurt everyone around me. I must not walk lightly around my son and I must not expect perfection. He deserves to be treated and loved just the same as my other children. Each of them are different and have different needs based upon their own lives.

The past is past, I will get better as learn to allow the past to be in the past.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Addict In Recovery

Here is another addict in recovery writing to help themselves and others. She has just started blogging.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Is It A Matter of Public Relations or Education?

This entry is about our children that die from addiction. Too many parents lose children from addiction and it is tragic, the pain affects us all but nothing like the parent that suddenly finds a hole in their life that will never be filled.

In our area we have had a number of teens die from automobile accidents, it is tragic. They make an error in judgement or do something stupid and the consequences are fatal. We see it here all the time, speeding, bumper tag, inattentive driving and yes, driving while intoxicated. Another parent loses a child. There are memorials, candlelight ceremonies, an outpouring of grief from the community. All in an effort to ease the grief and comfort all who are hurting.

We have also had young people in our community die from addiction. All is quiet. The family and friends suffer in silence.

We have all heard the comments whispered, just another addict. If they hadn't been doing drugs it wouldn't have happened. That's what you get doing drugs. But, no matter this was a child loved by parents and family. This was a child that did the same thing as the child that dies accidentally in a crash or accident. They made a mistake in which they could not recover.

I have come to believe until addiction comes out from the darkness and we recognize it for what it is our children that have made the mistake of using and becoming addicted there will always be a devaluation of a person suffering from addiction.

There is too much pain in this disease, why do we make it worse?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recovery and Me Blog

Here is a link to a young woman with a young daughter working on her recovery. She has just started the blog and her few postings so are very insightful, raw and enlightening for me as a parent of an addict in recovery. Her story of getting busted and time in jail and prison is worth a read for any parent going through the pain. It's worth visiting. Please support her, plus her hometown of Warrensburg, MO is not that far from me.

Recovery and Me!

Contest Results

A few months ago I posted about SAMSHA contest for young people to make a short PSA video about substance abuse for national distribution.

I just got an e-mail from Tracy Farmer with a link to the winning video:

"I Am More Than Meets The Eye"

For anyone that is interested in the 2012 contest here is a link to a video with information.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Dead End Road?

We just got back from the lake. My brother has a place on Table Rock Lake and we went there with the family for a few days. While we were there Mom and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Nothing special just a day together.

While we were out of touch I saw that Amy Winehouse died. I don't know for sure but I assume from the circumstances it was from an overdose. Unfortunately this is the end of the road for some addicts. Never able to find the ability to seek or maintain a life of sobriety. The illness has too great of a hold.

But, this is not the road for all addicts. Whether her death makes a difference to anyone else we will never know but the truth is every single day thousands of addicts and alcoholics across the globe give up their using drugs or drinking. This is not a miracle this is just the way this disease works. All we can really hope for is that the addict in your life lives to see their day. Unfortunately Ms. Winehouse's parents doesn't get to see their daughter reach that day, but that doesn't mean your son or daughter won't.

Mom and I are lucky, Alex lived to see his day. He was one of thousands that made that step a year ago. Truthfully, we thought it was touch and go for a while but he did live to see his day. In fact I look back on what I told an emergency room doctor a few years ago when he gave my son less than 50/50 chance of living through the surgery he urgently needed. I told the doc in the emergency room prepping him it was our job to keep him alive today because every day thousands of people quit and Alex just hasn't reached his day yet. The doc stopped working for a second, looked at me took a deep breath and worked harder. Later the doctor told me he had never heard it put that way.

For those parents with kids struggling through this, no matter if they are 14 or 60 we all hope they reach their special day. The day they see the light of a profound experience.

It's difficult to describe how good it feels with Alex today and nearly impossible to describe how bad it was a year ago. Hold on to hope, take care of yourself and do what you can to support recovery when that day comes. Until then, where there is life there is hope.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Still Work To Be Done On......ME!

It's been about 3 hours now and it's taken this long to finally getting into rhythm here at the office.

Upon arriving at the office this morning I had a text from an associate in the plant. His message was that another associate, who I had just hired on Thursday would not be at work this week due to a family emergency. The new associates name is Alex.

When I saw that message I knew of no family emergency on my side of the family. Of course we are expecting a new grandson in a month, we all know babies keep their own schedule. I text my Alex, no response. I called my Alex no response. I called his mother and she got no responses form text or voice. Of course internal panic begins to grip us. We can see bad places in our minds but we are doing our best not to go there.

A co-worker asks me, "What's wrong?"

As I relate the story I am reminded by him of the new guy hired on Thursday, whose name is also Alex. My Alex is out there on the laminator where he is suppose to be on a Monday morning for work. Of course he doesn't answer our texts or phone calls, he is working.

Maybe it takes longer for you to naturally go to good places in your mind than it does to make a leap to the bad places.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Some of us have children now in recovery. Some are still watching the tumble and dealing with their struggle. Fortunately, here in our home we are in the first group.

After struggling for so many years it sometimes seems strange to not be dealing with the constant crisis and drama associated with addiction. However, the new normal presents its own challenges, just as life always has a way to keep each of us grounded. I guess the real question is, "What is normal?"

Even without the addiction crisis and drama it is important for me to stop at times and consciously think about what I am doing and what impact my actions have on others, personally and globally. 

What are you doing in your recovery? No matter if you child is active or clean, what are you doing to improve your life and what do you believe/hope is the effect on those that you touch?

-  We are re-introducing ourselves to our son and learning about him. Showing him despite all of everything in the past it is just that, past. Forgiven, but not forgotten. It moves no one forward to re-live past pains and experiences so those feelings are now put on a shelf. Acceptance is a lesson I have learned. Accept today for it's own joys. 

-  Give without expectation. Giving provides its own reward. Giving heals more inside of you than any medicine or therapy ever could.

-  Model behavior that is congruent with your own values and beliefs. I don't know what our son believes now or what he remembers about the life lessons he was taught as he was growing up. Actions speak much louder than words, I try not to miss opportunities to demonstrate in life how I want to live based upon my own values. This is most important for me, keeps me conscious of what I am doing or not doing in my life and the effect it has on others.

-  Express appreciation. We need to tell people thank you. Family, friends and acquaintances stood by us and held us up so many years. They should hear how much we appreciate them shouldering our load when we needed help. That includes every one of you out there reading or commenting on this blog. Thank You All.

These are just a few reflections on my recovery. I'd love to hear from anyone about things you do. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July

Much better this year. No rain. No power outage. No plugged toilet. No water running down the hallway ruining the floor. no water dripping into the basement.

This year we had fun, no one "overindulged" and I think everyone had fun. Lot's of big booms and bright lights in the sky. Plus, son-in-laws, and nephews used their "special firecrackers" on one of my trees. There were splinters 30' away.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Remembering Last Year

As everyone is preparing for their Independence Day celebrations on Monday the 4th it makes me think about last years events at our house. (a reserved chuckle here)

We are hoping for no repeat of last year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Art of the Scam

I just finished visiting my mother. Physically she seems pretty good but the Alzheimer's is taking its toll on her. Sometimes she seems pretty good and decent and other days it is very confusing.

On the way home we stopped at the Quik Trip for gas. We were in Darlene's car and she was empty so I thought it better to fill her up tonight rather than her stopping on the way to work early tomorrow morning. I pulled into the pump and got out and was about to slide in my card and a Ranger pickup, kind of trashed, pulled in beside me and before I could finish sliding my car he didn't even get out of his truck he began his spiel. I don't know if he targeted me or not, we were in mom's Lexus so it probably didn't hurt.

His line was he was from Joplin, MO. In case you don't remember Joplin was the Missouri town almost destroyed by a tornado about a month ago. He told me that his alternator was out on his truck and he needed $7 to have enough money to get a new one and get home. I looked close for a minute at his truck then all of a sudden a guy at the pump right behind me that had heard the story ran up and handed this guy $30, a 20 and 10. Of course the thank you and bless you came pouring out of that truck. I looked closer he had said the alternator was out and his truck was about to die. Funny when I looked he had his foot on the brake and his brake lights were shining very bright. As soon as the guy that gave him the money turned his back to go bad to his truck the scammer turned the key and the starter spun like new. I'm not a mechanic but I have repaired my share of cars before and built my share of hot rods when I was a teenager. If the alternator was out and the truck was about to die then the battery would be the sole source of electrical power and at night when driving would kill that battery quick. No lights would burn brightly and no starter would spin like a top with a battery being drained from no alternator to recharge the battery. THIS GUY WAS SCAMMING!

I got back in the car when I finished filling up with gas and mom ask, "What did that guy want?" I relayed the story and her first response was, "Obviously that other guy had no experience dealing with an addict." She then wondered, "Why $7." We just figured that was probably pretty close to what a hit costs.

Our feeling then was how that guy was using the tragedy of all those poor people in Joplin that had lost everything they had and this guy was using their tragedy to soil their name and plight. But we know the story of what a scammer or addict will do to the generosity and kind heart of others.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Parent Help Line

The Partnership at is just beginning a new feature. It hasn't been officially introduced on their site yet but I have been ask to make some info available to anyone that needs to speak to someone about their situation.

The service is a confidential Parent Help Line where you can call toll free to ask questions about drugs, alcohol, addiction and any situations you don't know how to handle; or just need to talk with a professional about some situation involving drugs or alcohol.

1-855-DRUGFREE   855-378-4373

Monday, June 20, 2011

Clean on Father's Day

Want to see what clean and sober looks like on Father's Day,

and a granddaughter, too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day Coming Around, again

WOW, it's been a while since I last posted anything and I can remember so well not too long ago there was a need inside me to write sometimes twice a day. I guess we are getting better here.

I have to believe for many, or at least for me, Father's Day is somewhat bittersweet. As a few people reading this may know my father died 30 years ago. So it isn't like I can say all the things I want to say or missed saying due to youthful inexperience in life. It just comes down to processing the learning and experience in my own way. Out of that I try to live a life of honor that respects not only my life but honors his legacy.

Out of my own experiences this father's day I am not dealing with or overly concerned about a crisis or emergency interrupting my day in fellowship with my family this Sunday. (maybe fools confidence)

However, my thoughts this year are not so reflective upon my own father and the lessons learned or missed but upon what does it mean to be a father. Wish I could share all the wisdom one needs to be a good father but I am still figuring that out. I'm not sure I'll get that equation right before I die but I'm working on it and I'm sure there is not one true answer to the equation either. All I can do is the best I can.

So for now all of us fathers can sit back on Sunday and enjoy our "designated" day. Meat on a blazing grill, we stand at the ready with a spatula in our hand and a smile on our face we can be on the top of the world no matter what the circumstances.

The horrors of years past are real. The not knowing if my son would live to another Father's Day can at times drive you to madness or paralyze you in fear. That is real for any parent of an addict but we need to remember it's not just the addict in our life that lives day to day. We all live that way. On no day are we guaranteed that when we see the sun rise that we will see the sun set. Father, mother, brother, sister no matter what you are or who you are it is your day every single day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nothing More Than A Personal Update

Nothing profound here today just a peace and happiness that is growing inside of me that has been gone for so long that I had forgotten about that place.

Alex works hard at work and it is such a point of pride for me to see where he is today. He goes out to lunch with the young guys at work. I don't worry these guys are straight up, I've worked with them for a few years and in fact actually hired them all. Alex seems to fit in perfectly.

He did his weekend in Douglas County last weekend. He went to court in another county on Monday, just got a fine, quite large but he isn't stressing. It seems like the only thing that is a priority for him is being a good dad to his girlfriends daughters and he will proudly show anyone that will look the ultrasound pictures of their baby due in August.

Maybe I shouldn't say something like this but it seems like once I lived in another life. There are memories and nightmares of that time but it truly seems like another lifetime ago. For Mom and I we were hurt badly but the healing for us has been nothing short of a miracle cure. When we let go we all came together.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

There Will Be Another Crisis, I'm Skipping This One

With time to reflect I look back and think about my reactions to life parenting an active addict. As you all know each of us only have to change the names, our lives are the same. One crisis after another. Down time is nothing more than a pause to breathe before the next crisis.

In my way of thinking it was my role to react to each event. I'd worry that if we weren't in the middle of the crisis, the immediate crisis would cover all of us over and there would be no digging out of the mess. Like I said, does this sound familiar?

How do you take care of yourself? We all need downtime. I'm not talking about climbing aboard our lifeboats this time. I am talking about how do you process life when life is like a machine gun ready to cut you down at every move. It is not enough to work on ourselves when time allows. We have to take time purposely, selfishly regardless of the crisis of the moment.

I had to really work hard to figure out what worked for me. Each of us must figure out what is effective for us to maintain sanity in an insane world. What worked for me was writing. Writing organized my thoughts, affirmed my deliberations and my thoughts set my resolve in doing things that at times seemed contrary to my natural instincts as a father.

I heard these words from Darlene many times, "What are you doing on that damn blog now?!"

This blog was my therapy, my counselor and my meeting time all rolled into one. It was as if I was in an intense therapy session and each of you were in sitting in the room with me.

Living life as a parent of an addict I cannot stress how important it is to be selfish. Each of us MUST explore and find out what works for you. There is not a single answer that works for everyone. There is not a right or wrong because someone tells you this is how it is suppose to work. I'm not talking about dealing with addiction, I talking about how do you deal with yourself?

Go to a meeting, see a counselor or therapist, go to church or pray, deliberate, meditate, scream from the top of a mountain; just do something and do it regularly and it is most important to do it when it seems the crisis are never ending. It OK to skip a crisis, don't worry there will be another one real soon.

Most of the time I forgot to take care of myself, my inner self needed treatment as much as my son and if I didn't take that time I would surely become as sick as my son.

This is just a little reflection on my own actions over the past few years. The most important learning in our lives is the learning we have about ourselves.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


On Tuesday Alex was released from the county jail here in Leavenworth. He still has to do a weekend in another county but we all think that should be his last but you never know when you still have court dates to attend.

I am proud of him. Some may question, "How can you be proud, he just got out of jail?" Those would be the people not familiar with addiction and what it does to a person. They don't understand that some illegal activities are symptoms of addiction. Addiction is the real problem, not the activities. But when you do the crime you gotta do the time.

Jail time comes and goes. This was not his first time behind bars. Despite what some may believe jail isn't a cure for addiction. Jail may facilitate time to reflect and think but that in itself does not ensure recovery. Time and time again behind bars will attest to jail wasn't the solution. It may be a piece of the puzzle to a larger solution but to anyone that has ever put together a 1000 piece puzzle knows that without the larger picture you are fighting a losing battle.

His profound experience? I don't know for sure. That is his private strength, it matters only to him. What matters to me is I have what appears to be a lost son that has found his way home.

ps.: Please go here, say hi and give a mom a hug: My Beautiful Son - The Addict

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk, Go KU

Our daughter, KU Graduation Ceremonies, 2011.

Erica Jana Grover-Woodbury 
Masters of Nursing, Kansas University

Friday, May 20, 2011

Living Our Own Life

I know we aren't suppose to allow the actions of our children to dictate our reactions and what type of moods it puts on us but this weekend I am going to throw that out the window.

Two daughters, one graduating with her Masters Degree on Sunday from KU. The other one is nothing short of an amazing mother to our granddaughter.

A son that is being released on Tuesday that is a pleasure to be around. Nothing less that an miraculous change from less than one year ago.

Dad and Mom are proud parents of three great children and son/daughter in-laws.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Answering Comments

In my "Excitement" post a couple of comments ask the question how do you know this it it?

The first thing this is how I chose to feel. I heard and bought into the promises before. Each time I was disappointed and hurt when the path was the same. Every time I looked at myself and ask the questions of "Why?" and "What did I learn?" Of course I was only able to seriously consider those questions after the anger and hurt subsided. My hope was each time of hurt and disappointment not only did I learn and become one step closer avoiding the hurt and anger but Alex also became one step closer to his time.

What do I see different? The actions match the words. There is no constant promises of sobriety, there are actions that demonstrate change, done privately and without announcement.

I am letting go of the past. Nothing I can do to change the sidewalk behind me. I can only shape today and tomorrow. Holding on to past hurts and disappointments is not healthy for me but I believe if I don't let it go and keep "reminding" Alex of his past disappointments it would be easier for him to live down to my disappointments. I've always been a believer in setting high expectations and getting out of the way because most people will surpass anything you can imagine. Of course if a person has an active disease such as addiction all those bets are off.

I guess the best answer to the comments is this learning. In the past I often let circumstances control my temper and emotions. My son's addiction has taught me a very valuable lesson. I don't have to go where I do not choose to go. I can choose to be sad or happy, I can accept hurt or put into place shields the mitigate the pain. I am not responsible for others actions or words, my responsibility is controlling how their actions and words affect me.

If Alex relapses, I've been there before. I am smarter about addiction and myself than I was yesterday. I am making a conscious choice to live today and accept him in his sobriety, for as long as it lasts, tomorrow or forever. Today he gets every bit of love, confidence and help that his sisters get. In my mind I am not willing to punish him because of his disease.

Do You Believe In Jinx

For some people when things are going well nothing is to be said about the good conditions or expected good fortune. Mom is one of those people, she says that if something good is to happen don't talk about it or you will jinx it. I'm about to jinx the week ahead.

In one week our oldest daughter will "walk the hill" in Lawrence, KS. A few years ago she graduated  with her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Baker University in Baldwin, KS. Since that time she has worked and she went to school in the evenings. Next Sunday she will graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing, majoring in Organizational Leadership and Management from Kansas University. Mom and Dad are proud. She was the first person in our family to ever go to college and graduate. She is the first to get a Masters Degree.

Alex is down to eight days. He will be released a week from Tuesday. We are sad that he can't be a part of this celebration next weekend but we are just as proud of him with his changes. He and his girlfriend have already got a townhouse set up for them to live when he is released. The doctors say the baby is on track and healthy, still due mid August. Alex is nearly unrecognizable from one year ago. His speech has changed, his attitude is bright, his behaviors are of a person dedicated to success and even his physical appearance shows a sign of health.

I just had to share my good feelings about the near future to come. Well I guess the jinx has been activated. It's all my fault.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Containing My Excitement

Two weeks from today Alex will be released. It is good to see him each day picking him up at the jail for work and taking him back but I think both he an I both share the excitement of his release.

I know he wants out. Just thinking out loud, what would be more miserable, being in jail can't wait to get out to use again or being in jail and can't wait to get out to begin a new life? I ask, Alex says this time it is waiting on starting his new life.

I know why I am so excited and I have told him many times. I can't wait to have him free to be with all of the family again to share all the good times, we all miss him so much. Six months seems like such a long time to the end of over 7 years.

To all those parents reading this and being so jealous and angry that I am writing about this event I know how you feel. For so many years Darlene and I would get so jealous and angry, yelling and crying, why can't we have a son that can be like that??!!! Our sincerest wish for every mom and dad, your day will come.

For some strange reason inside I keep getting pulled to and have gone back to this post many times in last few weeks, Tuesday, July 20, 2010.  This post was less than one year ago. Everyday the sun rises we get a new chance. One day at a time. Find a way to enjoy what is today, somehow, some way.

Where there is life there is hope.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why Do We Link Blogs and Follow?

This morning when I was getting ready for work I looked and there was new follower of our blog, Jane. Jane clicked on the follow button and there was her identification. So naturally I checked her profile and saw that she had just began writing her frustrations, anger and heartache in a blog.

It's not that long ago that I began An Addict In Our Son's Bedroom. First a of couple comments and then more and more people read our blog and I read others blogs and the feeling of doom and despair began to subside. We began to feel a comfort that we weren't the only people that had ever been on this path. We gained advice and reassurance from strangers that were soon to become friends.

That is why we link our blogs. I'm sure many of you have experienced the same thing.

We may travel this path individually but we are never alone.

Another Mom

Here's another mom writing a blog that thinks she has no where to turn.

Despair Comes A Calling

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Life Clean Sometimes Sucks

This is not a negative post, it is a reality check for us parents (me) tip toeing around our son's recovery.

It's hard to watch my son struggle with the problems associated with real life. We want to reach out and "fix" all of those problems. We feel this way because of our fear that bumps in the road will send them into the ditch and we are so fearful of that past life again that no problem within our power to correct  is worth that experience for us again. But, just as I imagine an addict in recovery at times must fight the urges to use we must fight the urges to fall back into our old life too. It's a matter of taking a breath and remembering my role as a father and role model, not as dad to fix everything.

It's rewarding to watch my son struggle with the problems associated with real life. He is fixing problems where in the past he would have responded by, "F it, I'm getting high." Bumps in the road are his to experience. It would be selfish of me to ride in on my white horse and solve all of the problems just to steal the pride and be the hero. It's time for my son to experience that pride and be his own hero.

Being the parent of an addict in recovery has its own internal struggles with self but I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spoke To Kids Today

Just an update of how the day went. You can't believe the responses of the kids. Multiple kids came to the front when the bell rang and thanked me personally for coming today. I had kids talk to me after class about personal issues and they took my card with my blog and contact info.

A special thank you goes out to The Partnership at I requested if they had any material I could use on the projector during class breaks. They sent me a DVD of the brand new, yet to be shown on TV, Public Service Announcements that will be used in 2011. They played like a loop between classes and as kids came into class they were fixed on watching the PSA's. Informally in my opinion they liked the 911 and Self Surgery spots the best. Maybe I have said too much, just watch for they these this year on TV. The PSA's were focused on parents talking to kids about drugs, maybe we need some focused how do kids talk to parents too. So many ideas to try, I hope I don't wear out The Partnership and make them sorry they ask me to be a Parent Ambassador.

The kids were so attentive, no heads on desks, questions from all classes. One class, the teacher said she couldn't believe the way they acted, they are never that intense in class. The teacher told me I really do make an impact on her classes, the kids talk about in class and to others.

When I do these talks it makes me feel like I am healing inside.

The biggest and best bonus was when I got back to the office. Alex came to my office and ask very seriously, "How'd it go today, dad?" I told him it went very well. He exhibited true excitement for me that it went well, smiled and told me I was doing a good thing.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Speaking at Shawnee Mission West Tomorrow

I have been invited in to speak with students tomorrow about the effect drugs and addiction has on a person and a family.

I will be at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, KS.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Giving Up Our Dreams

It’s worse than going to the dentist with a toothache; giving up on our dreams for our children. Why is it so hard when we stare reality in the face every day that we hold on to those hopes and dreams?

The day our kids are born we start making plans. We start squirreling away money into college accounts. We dream of smiling proudly as our child graciously strides across the stage at graduation. Nice, neat little homes in the suburbs with our grandchildren playing in the yard. Some of us even have the audacity to picture ourselves in the front row during inauguration on a cold January day in Washington.

It’s all possible for anyone.

Then we snap out of our dream and see our child addicted to a drug and wonder if the future is even possible. We mourn the loss of our dream. We experience suffering for our child because in our life and wisdom we know the hardship of life even without being saddled with addiction. We cry, become depressed and grieve this fading picture. Never really giving up the hope that all of the past will go away and we all get a “do over”.

Finally, after months or years we realize that today is all we get and tomorrow can be just as fearful as it can be hopeful.

The next phase of our realization begins to become clear. These dreams were ours. That is why the pain is so great. We feel our dream slipping away. It’s such a shame we have imposed our dream upon our child and we see their addiction as a failure to achieve our dream. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean "reach their potential" is the way we say it as parents.

All I wish for now is that my son has dreams of his own for himself. His dreams and goals are his own, I don’t have to own them and I am not responsible for his success or failures.

My hopes and dreams now are that I can be a better father than a parent and that I will be regarded by some little ones as the best grandpa in the world.

…..The world of what is versus what ought to be.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another Lost Mom

Another lost mom that is struggling during a holiday. Please visit her and give a hug.

My Worst Nightmare

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Holiday. The Homeless.

This Easter holiday should be the last holiday and family gathering that Alex misses. In about one month, May 24 he will be released. Hopefully his other "indiscretions" (lol) in other counties the he has to answer for when he is released will not result in such harsh punishment. But those things are on his plate to eat not on my plate. we are all looking forward to having him back at family events.

Today I am taking some food and other items down to a homeless event in Kansas City. A friend in my office works very hard and diligently to help the homeless and less fortunate in our community. She is a great person in doing this work. It is good to be around people that give to others in not just money and things but in what is most valuable, time. Good work and good mission Dawn.

In addition, Darlene my great wife gives up lunch periods at her job every couple of weeks. She works downtown and she goes and serves lunch at the food kitchen to the homeless.

Honestly, true confession time, in the past I never gave the homeless much consideration. After all we have been through with Alex and actually seeing him homeless because we put him out of our (his) home I have a new recognition for the issues involved in this problem.

Funny thing with Alex. When we pass the people standing on street corners holding signs he tells us emphatically not to give them any money. He says they don't need money they need help. Give your money to the organizations that help them. If you give money to them on the street it will go to a drug dealer or for alcohol. Spoken by someone that has panhandled to get money to feed his addiction. I guess he would know more about it than I.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Partnership Posting

The Partnership At has published another of my essays. This is a reposting of my recent post here.

Parents of an Addict: What's it Really Like?

Friday, April 15, 2011

An Evolving Blog

The more things change the more they stay the same.

I was going to write about how my blogging and issues are changing but first thing this morning I find another mother that is just now wandering into our world. I put a link to her blog on my last post.

I write a lot less on my blog now. When I look back over the last couple years I was probably averaging 3-4 entries a week. Back then crisis never ended and disasters piled up on our door step like cars on a snowy Kansas interstate in January.

Our blog is evolving because we are evolving. We have learned, we have changed and our son has also changed. Our issues are different than they were a few months ago. I don't write as much about the day to day drama of being the parent of an addict. I am now trying to spend more time in critique of my beliefs, actions and reactions from the past years. I am writing more from the philosophical side of our life. What really did help us. And, what maybe failed our son but possibly we'd do the same thing again because things in time react differently to stimuli based upon a changing environment and time.

Also I am spending more time commenting on others blogs that are newer to this heartache or others that are in most difficult times. The Partnership has afforded me a wonderful avenue to write and give a wider audience to what I write, but it also has opened me up to a lot of other parents that write to me personally. I try to respond to every parent that writes and asks for help. With every letter I can picture a mother, father, brother or sister sitting in front of a screen and keyboard trying to find the right words to express how much they hurt. I see in my mind the strained expression and wrinkled brow when they finally get to the point of writing a complete stranger for advice on one of the most personal issues in life, the love of an addicted child.

Nearly every time I refer everyone to this blog and welcome them into our community by suggesting they click on links to all of your blogs and comments. I really do feel when we help one we all are helped.

So, if you don't find as many entries on this blog as in the past it doesn't mean I no longer care or I am no longer reading everyone's writings. Sometimes it just means I get to spend more time in celebration and less in grieving.

A New Mom

Please go over and visit this new mom. She wrote her first blog piece yesterday. Something to do with finding deformed spoons and a first visit to a Families Anonymous meeting. Can anyone relate?

Mom's Painful Awakening

Monday, April 11, 2011

Happy Birthday To My Son

Yesterday, Lisa over at Loving an Addict posted that this week was her son, Bryan's 23rd birthday.

Quite a coincidence but it is Alex's 23rd birthday today. So many things in Lisa's post I could just copy and paste over to here but I am not going to repeat the obvious of hope and joy.

The last few birthdays have been such turmoil, high, rehab, or in jail. That's hard on us all but we are making the best today. Despite him being in jail he is on work release and he is here at work and he is clean. Quite a step from the last few years.

I will tell a short story today about Alex's birthday in 2007 when he was 19.

Just before his 19th birthday we got involved in one of his tragedies where we intervened and put him in a rehab about 50 miles from our home. After 4 days of detox he was allowed a small measure of freedom. What he did with that freedom was call his "buddies" and they brought him oxy to use while in rehab.

Needless to say that didn't end well and I got a call from his counselor that he was being kicked out and I needed to come and get him. My response, "I don't know what I'm going to do, take him home, take him to a homeless shelter, stop the car 15 miles down highway 7 and throw him out in the middle of nowhere or just kill him and put him out of our misery. I've got about ninety minutes to think about it before I get there." The counselor said, "Don't make any rash decisions we will talk when you get here." During that drive the counselor helped me greatly.

When I arrived Alex was sitting in the counselor's office. He looked like a kid in trouble sitting in the principals office at school. Working behind the scenes the counselor had made arrangements for Alex to be transferred to another of their facilities in "BFE", Kansas, 350 miles away. Only if Alex agreed to go. That in itself was a struggle to get him to agree. But agree he did and it was my job to deliver him to this center by 10 pm that evening. It was about noon when I got this call. Off we went to VH in western KS.

When I said earlier that the counselor helped me greatly, he also made arrangements that if I was interested I could be a parent resident at the rehab and take part in ALL of the things a patient goes through, counseling in small groups and everything as if I was an addict. I did this for four days. The most educational four days I have spent as a parent of an addict.

During my time while I was there I was known as "Dad" to nearly every person at the facility, even to a couple of people older than me. Alex and I were not in the same groups except large group but obviously I got talked about as much as I talked about Alex because I had people calling me dad I had never met. Alex wasn't happy to be at a rehab over 350 miles from home in BFE, KS. He was pretty much an ass until I left.

However, as I said this was the time for his birthday and in our family we always try to do something to recognize birthdays. What was I going to do 350 miles from home in a drug rehab to recognize his birthday? I ask the staff if it would be OK if I went and bought a giant birthday cake and several gallons of ice cream to share with everyone could we have cake and ice cream after lunch? They thought it would be wonderful so I got the cake and ice cream.

True to form that day Alex was playing the role of an ass in all areas. When the staff announced at lunch there would be cake and ice cream for Alex in the common room everyone was happy except, guess who. Several women patients and I began cutting cake, scooping ice cream and serving. Alex was really showing himself.

One patient at the facility was an enormous young man of about 25 years old. When I say enormous I mean probably 6'8" and maybe 350 pounds and not an ounce of that fat. When he stood beside you intimidation does begin to describe the way you felt. But, he was not a grizzly bear, he was a teddy bear.

While I was scooping ice cream this big guy came up to me and ask me, "Dad, would you mind if I have a talk with your son?"

After Alex ate his ice cream, he like 95% of all the patients needed a smoke. Alex started for the door to go to the smoke hut and about a 2 dozen guys, a mob, led by that big young man followed him. I could see out the windows. Alex lit up and was immediately surrounded by that mob led by the big guy. I have no idea what was said but they were around him for about 5-10 minutes and what I could see glancing out of the large windows in the common room I think each one of those guys took a turn at him.

Like I said I have no idea what was said but when the group returned inside Alex made a public apology to me and the whole group.

Maybe sometimes we all should have a big guy and about a couple dozen others to set us straight at times.

That afternoon I had to leave and return home. Alex spent a month there but was using again within a week after his release.