Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Part 2, has posted part 2 of the interview I did with them. You can find it here: My Son Was An Addict, Part 2

I was to speak to another 150 students at Shawnee Mission West today but the old flu bug got to me. I am weakly recovering today. Yesterday I knew I was not dying because I would have to get better to be considered dead. It was one of those ugly ones where you have no control over what decides to exits either end of your body. Hopefully, we will be able to reschedule my talks in the near future.

Another mother writing about her son, please visit: Mothering Addiction

Thursday, November 22, 2012

More Than Happy Thanksgiving

Today is the day designated to give thanks for all people and those things in our lives we are grateful for in our lives. I wrote about my list of gratitude and thanks last year, On Thanksgiving. Nothing has changed from last year however there is something different this year.

This year there is a deeper feeling of thanks and gratitude that words are not adequate to describe. It's not a joyous feeling or happy dance type thing. It is simply a deep feeling of peace inside. A deep calm that allows me to reflect on the gifts given to me after so many years of turmoil.

This week I received several letters from mothers, fathers, siblings and even one from a daughter about her mother concerning loved ones struggling with addiction. Each one of these letters I answered. I spoke on the phone to a mother that lost her son this year and this is her first Thanksgiving without her son. I cannot even pretend to know how she feels. I referred her to another friend that has experienced that and I know he can help her.

Today amidst all of the food and celebration and thanks take a minute to think about or pray for all those families still troubled with children and loved ones fighting the monster and especially for those parents whose child was lost to the monster.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Where there is life there is hope.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Interviewed by

Last week I was interviewed by a writer for They have posted Part 1 of  the interview on their website. If you are interested in reading the story here is a link. My Son Was An Addict

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Me?

Why me, how many have wondered that? That simple refrain was uttered more often than I want to think about while Alex was using. There never seemed to be a satisfactory answer. We went to all the school functions, attended all the ball games, active in the schools and community, we read to him when he was little. Kept him involved in family activities, took him to the lake for wakeboarding, family vacations were a normal activity. We had family dinners together every chance we got. We supported his interests and bought him all the latest toys and games. Why me?

Of course that question was always expressed with a heavy heart. Too many times laying in bed at night Darlene and I would try to find the answer. What did we do wrong? Why are we being punished like this?

It has been a while since I asked that question with a heavy heart. But, the question has never left my mind. Lately I have been deliberating again on that question. With the benefit of time my thought process is quite different. In the past I was looking for an answer to the question. Today I have come to the understanding that the real question to ask concerning this should be, “Why was I asking the question of, why me?”

Why me is about a search of the past; as if knowing will change the present. Parents are problem solvers. Our “problem” was not ours to solve. Our question and problem involved us but our answer was always focused on Alex.

With the benefit of time and experience I see how much those two simple words derailed our own life. This was an exercise in futility. Searching for answers that meant nothing delayed our healing and supported our co-dependence. Why me allowed us to continue enabling because we took ownership in our loved ones addiction. Our role in the past must have contributed therefore without our active involvement in problem solving the “situation” will never right itself. I know this is convoluted thinking about addiction but it is a period all parents endure.

The learning process concerning addiction was one of the hardest things I have ever endured. Not because information and counsel was not out there, it was because it involved so much fear, love and the consequences are so dire. The world becomes topsy-turvy. Jail becomes protective custody, love is unconditional but loving actions become a no-no. Nothing seems to makes sense, we try to create sanity in an insane situation. Nothing seems to work the way it should. Why me, why am I having to go through this crap. What did I do to deserve this?

Why me leads us to believe there must be something or someone to fault. If only I could find the answer I could jump in our time machine and go back to fix our problem.

Many times I am ask, “What would you have done different?” Only a fool would answer with something like, I can’t think of a thing. There are many things I might have changed in the way I did things prior to addiction but that only leads to the “magic bullet” solution. Child rearing and addiction doesn’t subscribe to the magic bullet theory.

At some point as a parent we must allow our child to accept some responsibility in this situation. When I speak at schools I always ask every group if they have ever been told don’t do drugs. Every kid says yes they have been told. As parents we lament, they won’t even make their bed, it’s no wonder they wouldn’t listen to that simple commandment. So logically we assume it must have been something we did or didn’t do, why me?

This is a long post but it is a tough question. I am positive that I have not reached the conclusion of my thinking concerning this simple question. Maybe this is one of those life questions I face until I die, never an answer but always a question. The answer may simply be living for what happens now. The concrete on my sidewalk behind me is already cast and hardened. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Today is the day. If you haven't already voted please get out there and share your thoughts and beliefs by simply marking that ballot.

No matter if it is Romney or Obama that is your man or someone else. Voting isn't about choosing a side, voting is about bringing us together. We have the privilege to choose leaders to lead instead of being forced to follow.

Tomorrow I hope that everyone can come together as one. We are Americans first. Neither Democrats or Republicans have all the answers. It is time we all remember America first, arguing politics is just a hobby.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Points Here, Forward and Unknown

Nothing ever ends, the world spins, sun rises and sun sets everything in between is just life. When you think about it, aren't we lucky. The drama and crisis is miserable but without the valleys we would have no realization what we are seeing when we stand on top of the mountain.

Last weekend Darlene and I traveled to western Kansas to visit relatives. The occasion was their farm sale. They are retiring and sold all of their farming equipment at auction. These are people that had been farming for all their life. A very large operation but in western Kansas they are all very large farms to me. Thousands of acres of corn, wheat, beans, the stuff we all depend on for life without a thought of what it takes to get it to our table each night. Massive equipment (mostly green, mid westerners know what that means) brings the earth to life growing and harvesting what we need.

On the 350 mile trip back home we took our time, stopped in Hutchinson, KS and visited a salt mine. 650' underground we went. Decades of salt miners toiled in this deep dark man made cavern. I thought of how these generations of miners complimented what my relatives were doing on their farm. How bland tasting all of that food they were growing would be without the miners so far underground. (if you watch Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe this is the mine he went to mine salt.)

This trip also gave us many miles to discuss the spinning world and time to come with our own retirement. Even ten years ago retirement was not even something we considered but I guess when you are 55 and 56 you start thinking about that question, "What are we going to do with the rest of our life?" Truthfully I cannot imagine retiring for at least another 10 years, no so for Mom. I've got a great job that I love, mom has a job that she is very good at but works for a large company and is just a small cog on a very big wheel.

The world just keeps spinning regardless of our life. As I see others close to me opening new chapters I become aware of the chapters in my life. It's important to keep in mind that the chapters in our own book of life are not yet written. We aren't predestined to be happy or sad. We are all given the opportunity with pen in hand to design and write our own book. Others may impact the narrative of our book but never give up your pen to someone else.