Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ego Out Of Control

Today is my birthday and I know that all over the world there are celebrations and parties planned for this evening. To many this may feel this is a great reason for celebration but all I want for my birthday is for everyone to be wise and safe for today.

Please do not overindulge on my behalf.  Above all, please do not drink and drive.

Not to stress anyone out with those resolutions, that none of us intend to keep anyway; today let's look back on last year. Tomorrow we can look forward to a new year. Today think of something you are grateful for this past year and share it with two people. We should all end this year on a positive.

I am grateful my son has found recovery and maintained his recovery but that is stating the obvious.

I am grateful that I have happy and healthy children and grandchildren.

I am grateful for people that help others because none of us should be alone.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Magic of Christmas

This is the time of year that brings much joy to some and unspeakable heartache for others. There is not much I can say on here that can help many but what I say here does help me.

There are many different beliefs around Christmas and this holiday season but there are a few things I believe:

I believe there is nothing like seeing a small children and grandchildren tear into presents on Christmas morning.

I believe no person has scared more 2 year old children than Santa Claus, any doubt in this, there is photographic evidence.

I believe it is possible to put aside anger or hurt for one day.

I believe Christmas has become too big of a production with not enough love and support.

I believe if I lived someplace warm it wouldn't be the same holiday without 10 degrees and wind.

I believe that forgiveness is the most wonderful gift you can give yourself.

I believe a fire in the fireplace on Christmas makes everyone feel warmer and nicer.

I believe Christmas wishes do come true.

I believe for each of our suffering children there is recovery for them to take.

And most of all,

I believe for each of us life goes on and where there is life there is hope. Look around you and see all the the life. Try to tell me then there is no hope.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday's to all no matter what your beliefs........Ron Grover

Sunday, December 22, 2013

You Never Know The Impact

Susan Mayberry is a teacher that has had me speak to her students for 4 years. She just forwarded me an article published in The Basehor Linwood High School Express, the newspaper.

I remember this student very well during my talk.

You never know how you help someone when you share your story. Attached is the article for you to read.

"The Story Behind the Story" by Liz Morris

Thank you Zack for sharing. Thank you Liz for writing about it.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Holiday Tradition (sic)

Twas the Night Before Christmas
at a Drug House
by A Very Sick and Twisted Person
(with a morbid, sick sense of humor, yours truly; it doesn’t rhyme)


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,
it got in our stash and overdosed.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
cause I was running around in the snow in my socks in hopes that
Nick soon would be there, cause he was holding.

My buds were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of oxy danced in their heads.
And Mama in her sweats, and I in my t-shirt,
had just settled our brains with some really good smoke.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Cops and a SWAT team, it’s a raid.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw out the stash.
Staring at a .45 and tazer.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
and me cuffed on the ground
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a sleigh and eight reindeer, that smoke was laced.

A little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Nick with a delivery.
More rapid than eagles, he drove by,
and he whistled and shouted and waved to the cops by name:

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!

On came the lights and out came the stop sticks.
Nick joins me cuffed on the ground.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the helicopters flew,
with the cabin full of SWAT.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of every one of those SOB’s.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney a fat man came with a bound.

He was dressed in black kevlar, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of weapons he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a mercenary just opening his pack.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were rosey, his nose red as a cherry, 
same as an alcoholic!

His droll little mouth was drawn up with a sinister grin,
and the beard on his chin was full of something white as snow.
A one hitter he held tight in his teeth,
and familiar smoke encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly; 
too many Oreo's and Taco Bell,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself,
tweakers can spot each other.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled bags with evidence, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose, 
leaned down to the table and giving a snort,
backup the chimney he rose.

He sprang into the chopper, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he flew out of sight,

Got us some good shit tonight.


"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"





For all my new readers here are links to my past holiday posts:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cheating My Blog

I want to apologize to all of you. I've had a lot to say and wish I would have written but you know how it is for all of us. Lately I've been busier that a cat covering up you know what. Pretty poor excuse but that's the best I've got.

Everything is wonderful at home. The construction on the house is nearly done, new siding, driveway and I've got all the new wood flooring installed. Just in time for the holidays. Now Darlene is a slave driver on her punch list.

Alex and all the kids are fine. Another year where we anxiously await our holiday season. Unlike a few other years that seem so long ago now.

Now I am cheating. I am wimping out on writing all my thoughts. Today I am going to post a couple links and I would very much appreciate you all watch the short video and read through the 20 Minute Guide.

So much is evolving in the treatment of addition, particularly in the treatment of young adults that start as teens, where 90% of addicts begin. If you're struggling with a young adult, please, please, please I beg you to read the 20 Minute Guide and begin shedding the thoughts and actions that haven't worked for you or your loved one in the past.

The video link is of Tom Hedrick a wonderful man that has devoted most of his career in helping parents of addicts. Tom will soon be retiring from his position in New York with The Partnership. But I am sure this a man that will never give up the fight and as many thousands of parents that unknowingly owe him a huge thank you today there will be thousands more in the future that will benefit from his work.

Tom is the one on the right in the red shirt.
Be sure to watch the link!!!!!!! 

After listening to Tom please go to The Center for Motivation and Change and download the Parents 20 Minute Guide. Forewarned, it takes a lot more than 20 minutes to digest it but it is time well spent by any parent. (just click on the subjects on the left side of the page)

CMC: Parents 20 Minute Guide

I know this might be a lot to ask in the holiday season but the video is only 2 minutes.

ps.: I told my story to 150 more students 2 weeks ago at a high school where I have not been before. A representative from another new high school called me last week trying to get me into his school to speak.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Talking to Students

Talking to students is easy. There is nothing to it when all you do is recount stories and the horrors of parenting and loving and addict.

The hard part is maintaining your composure when those stories are ripping at your heart. When you tell about the experience many years ago when my son showed me so well that addiction is not a simple choice but is really a disease that must be treated and fought like any other disease. Trying to tell the story of my son crying and asking me to please help him. How do you tell 30 young people about how that feels when I can barely get the words out of my mouth.

Telling stories of how we shared tears, my son, his mother and I. Struggling to do what no one had answers for. Opening my life, our lives to make a impact on these young adults so maybe there won't be another set of parents living our life.

Then comes tears I see on students cheeks. Watching a student run from the room, grabbing the whole box of tissues from the teachers desk. Students relating stories to me during break of siblings and parents drug use. A student asking me a simple question during break, "Why do people treat addicts so bad? They aren't bad people they are sick. I know everything you said is true, my mother is a heroin addict. I am so sorry you had to go through this with your son." She is trying to comfort me. Setting my business cards on an empty table, they have my blog address, phone number and email address on them. Students taking them from the table as they leave the room.

A couple of people that I admire in this field stress to me that self-care is most important in this field. It is important to take care of yourself so that you can go on doing good things. I told them once that my best self care was writing and sharing with all of you wonderful people that read these ramblings.

Talking is easy. The hard part is listening.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Season on the Horizon

Holidays were such a traumatic experience while our son was using.

His abhorrent behavior never seemed to end. No matter if they were or weren't talking we imagined all the horrible things the relatives were saying. We took it all personal. We were the parents of the drug addict.

During the holiday while everyone was visiting we would notice our son disappear. We never knew how long he would be missing. Even if all it was that he went upstairs we knew it was for bad. Didn't matter if it was for drugs or if he just needed to go to the bathroom.

It was personal. Why did he ruin EVERY holiday or special occasion? Couldn't he just stop for ONE day and be normal? Why couldn't we be relaxed and enjoy just ONE day?

Our son was a drug addict. It wasn't personal. He was doing what drug addicts do, he used drugs. It wasn't about the holiday, it was about the drugs. Why does it take so much for us parents to understand that reality when all we want is one day?

When you are caught up in the personal drama it is impossible to see the reality. Looking back we struggled every holiday. We wondered aloud, "Why us?"

Today I understand that those feelings of hurt and disappointment belonged to us. We could hope but we chose to ignore reality. We set unrealistic expectations.

This holiday season we do not live in fear. We look forward to a thankful and joyous holiday season.

My thoughts for all of you that are not in that place where a dry turkey or cookie crumbs left around the tree from a messy Santa are your only concerns. This holiday season think of yourself and feel the love of those around you that deserve the person you want to be. Choose to feel happy. That doesn't mean you must ignore or be angry with your child or loved one that is addicted. It just means look to yourself too. Just like any other day of the year you can't fix them so you must make the best of your situation.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Putin' It All In Perspective

For the last couple weeks it has been very stressful and worrisome here at the Grover homestead.

A couple of weeks ago there was a mass found in mom's breast. This in itself is worrisome but with her family history we got stressed very quickly. Mom's family has a history of breast cancer in her family. Although her mother did not die from breast cancer, she died at 57 from ovarian cancer, most all of her family has died young from breast cancer. Her aunts and cousins have passed due to breast cancer. Her younger sister is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in her forties and is a seven year survivor.  So as you can see when a mass was found near panic set in for us.

The doctors were concerned due to her family history. They reacted quickly and appropriately. Sonograms were done to confirm what was expected. Once it was determined that "something" was there surgery was scheduled. A needle biopsy could be done but with her history we opted for surgical removal. Very quickly surgery was scheduled. The surgery was done on a Thursday. We were told results of the tests would not be available until Monday. Last weekend was a stressful time. Mom went on a girl weekend with her girlfriends. That was best for her. They probably took better care of her than I could or would, physically and mentally.

On last Monday we anxiously awaited the doctors call. Late in the morning the doctor's office called only to tell us that they we doing more tests and results would not be a available until Tuesday.

A very long twenty hours followed. I think we both handled it differently. My mind went to the dark side, mom felt it was more positive. We both handled the evening in our own way.

On Tuesday morning the doctor's office finally called. the tests showed benign, NO CANCER.

Getting that news causes instant happiness but it also causes a person to think and reflect on what has been. We are only here and together for a little time. Addiction, cancer, heart disease and countless other maladies are in our world to take our loved ones. Make good use of what time you have with your loved one today. Do what you can to enjoy each other every day.

Critical lesson learned: Because of mom's vigilance in doing her mammograms regularly the doctors and her knew exactly what was happening and what to do. When the doctor can put up multiple years of mammogram results it is graphic what is going on in her breast.

A special message to all you mothers and women reading this. GET THE GIRLS SQUEEZED!!! Do your mammograms regularly. There is no acceptable excuse, nobody is too busy.

To all you men reading this, make sure those women in your life that you love read this and make their appointment. Drive them if they resist. Just make sure they do it, imagine your life without them.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Back To School

Going back to school to talk to more kids. This time it is Shawnee Mission South in Overland Park, KS. Like always, anyone that wishes to join me on Friday let me know. I'll make the arrangements. I have not been to SMS before. A whole new group to hear my story.

I always tell the teachers to be sure and invite parents. Sometimes they show up. It seems so more powerful when there are parents sitting there. One once told me she spent the whole hour holding back tears was scared to death about what can happen to a good kid.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mistakes

As you all know I am a FIXER. Yep, I capitalized it on purpose. Fixers exist to fix and in that put everything in order.

It took me a long time to learn I couldn't fix it all. Some things just had to work out on its own. The outcome was to be whatever it was to be.

Most of us fixers are perfectionists at heart. Control freaks that must have order. This leads to an awful lot of turmoil inside of us that sometimes translate to many different emotions. Of course mine was always anger, especially dealing with Alex.

Fixers and control freaks most always have goals. I have learned I am not perfect so now I try to live my life with this simple goal:

Make only NEW mistakes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Random Updates

Alex is doing great. I'm still at that point I do pinch myself sometimes. How is it possible to reconcile what seemed hopeless only three years ago to the reality of today? I watched him wrestling in the floor with Tyler last night and there are no words to describe the feeling I get when a scene like that when it presents itself in life.

All of the grandkids are a special light in my life.

The house remodeling and construction is going well. The new drive is poured and I can't wait to drive on it but I know better that to put that kind of weight on concrete that isn't cured properly. Next comes new siding and Darlene has already picked out new wood floor for the family room and kitchen. That happens the week before Thanksgiving week.

Seems like from reading blogs many of the parents I have read for years are experiencing times of success or moments of hope. This makes me feel so good. I still think often of so many parents that are still struggling. My thoughts are with and you know who you are. Trust me, if you are reading this and are struggling, you ARE in my thoughts.

Why do I still write on this blog? That's a question I ponder at times. For so long this blog was one of my lifeboats. I had to write to maintain my own health. Today, why do I still write and read blogs? The only answer I have and this answer is good enough for me. I write and read blogs today for the same reason I did when I began. This helps me. I guess I am a selfish person. I do this for me. Writing helps ME to become a better person. reading and commenting on others blogs helps ME to be a better person. plus maybe along the way sharing helps someone else too. If one day it stops helping me and helping others you may see a "The End" on a post but I cannot see that happening. I get too much out of this.

I have an ever evolving schedule speaking to students at schools. Two schools I have never been to before have invited me to speak. On November 8 I go to Shawnee Mission South, November 26 Shawnee Mission West and on December 6 Shawnee Mission East. I hope these kids are ready, I don't let up. I give them everything everyone of you want me to say, with pictures. Thank you so much to one special parent that sent me two pictures of her son, they make such a huge impact. Pictures like that are worth more than a thousand words. What I say to them is for each one of you that have gone through hell.

The teacher at Shawnee Mission South ask me if I would be willing to speak to their PTO and Father's Group if she can arrange it. Of course I will.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Detaching FROM Love

When I think back about our experiences while Alex was actively using many thoughts and emotions come to the surface. It's hard thinking about what exactly DID we do right? A couple things come to the surface about what we did wrong; tough love and detaching from love.

I wrote not long ago about the importance of listening. I saw my own shortcomings in that area. Still I do a lot more talking than listening. I've always heard that you are never learning if your mouth is open. It's amazing that I can even walk and breath at the same time.

Listening is so critical in parenting an addict, but sharing carries much weight too. Darlene and I would listen to anyone no matter their credentials or experience. We were lost without a map. As I look back not a single person in our history gave advice that wasn't sincere. Every single person was trying to help and we felt so much love from our family, friends, bloggers and even strangers. I guess most people can relate to a parent that fears they may soon lose there child at any time.

How do you separate and analyze the advice that helps and the counsel that harms everyone involved? That takes a person much wiser than me to figure that one out. However, I have decided one thing that I would never say or do again. Call it what you may but I'm going to cut straight to the chase, TOUGH LOVE.

Tough love is one of those generic terms that gets thrown around very loosely. First, I HATE the term, I have written about it before. But as soon as you hear tough love everyone has an opinion but one thing it seems everyone agrees within the definition is "throw'em out".

We tried it, many times in fact. Nearly every time it was done in anger. Which is the worst time to make a decision and set a plan. Throw the little bastard out, "I don't care if he is cold and is hungry. I just can't take it any more. If he doesn't like it then he'll stop using," said by a father. I'll steal a question from Dr. Phil, "How's that working for you?"

Detach FROM love, if I try not to care then I won't hurt. Out of sight, out of thought.

Sometimes it is easy to forget, there is a person inside there. Addiction destroys the body and convolutes the mind but there is a person in there with all the needs of any human being. There are basic life survival needs and the same emotional needs as the rest of us. Most of all I believe the need to be loved never goes away. What hope is there for an addict if love is absent, withheld or conditional?

Taking care of yourself is imperative. You must do what it takes to stay healthy in yourself. If that means detaching and your child cannot live in your home that is right. Detach from the drugs and things that go along with addiction, do not detach from your child. Detach WITH love toward that human being that is such a huge part of your life.

If you have read this blog for any time at all you have been exposed to my many analogies. I use them because I am a simple guy and by breaking something down for myself it's easier for me to understand. Many times I have used the word "path" to describe the life my son was living. "I was on a path and he was on a path and no longer could I walk his path." There is nothing more true than that statement.

I now picture it like this: The snow is three feet deep. My son is struggling and trudging through. Laboring every step. I am not there to lift his legs or hold him up. I am beside him on my path however I am guiding a huge snow blower in front of me. It is helping to clear my path. My son is only ten feet away but he cannot come to my path if he continues his path. Every day I tell him how welcome he is to join me on my path, I tell him I would love to help ease his struggle. Every step my hand is out with encouragement but I cannot put him on my path. He must grasp my hand AND do the work it takes to make it to my path. We are separated but we still love.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Making A Difference! I Hope???

It is refreshing to go and speak to students about drugs use and addiction. It is also very hard.

It is emotional for me to stand in front of all those students and recount all we went through. I can only speak to what happens to a person and family when someone becomes addicted. I am very clear to these students I have no idea what it is like to be an addict. But I do know what an addict goes through and what the family and any loved one endures while someone so dear is addicted to drugs.

I stand in front of up to 30 students and I can feel 60 eyes focused on me. It is hard to relive the horrors. Every time I tell the stories it is like yesterday. I talk about that addicts overdose. I tell of Alex's episodes. I tell of our friends son and his death in January this year. I made him a cradle 31 years ago, the first night he ever spent at home with his parents he slept in that cradle. I show the picture a mother sent me 4 years ago and ask me to show the students what an overdose looks like in an emergency room and then I show her sons picture and that last year he died from drugs, 22 years old. A picture of him when he was 18 in an emergency room and he lives through it that time but in June 2012 he didn't.

I'm not to strong or so tough that I won't admit my voice cracks when I share my fears. In front of students maybe that isn't what you're suppose to do but I can't help it, it still hurts even with a son in recovery for over 3 years. In every group I tell the students this is personal for me, this is my son and our family I am talking about but I want for them to learn and no matter what I say never doubt that I love my son and have always been proud to call him my son, even during the horror.

Students listen to me. I see it in those 60 eyes. I see sadness hearing my story. I see tears on their cheeks at times, they smile when I talk about his recovery. Questions are ask of me to clarify sometimes. The hardest time is when a student shares their own experience with a brother, a sister, a parent or relative. When one of their own tells their own story and it is just as hard for them as it is me. They share with tears running down their cheeks, everyone in the room is moved. But, the real story is after class when students gather around to hug and comfort their classmate.

This is why I take my time to speak to these young people. I am one of the luckiest people on Earth. My son is in recovery. I am grateful that teachers see the value in helping their students become educated on the horrors of drug addiction and allow me to talk in their classroom. I have two more schools scheduled and an inquiry from another school.

Am I making a difference, I hope so.

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Little Housekeeping

1.   Tuesday and Wednesday I will again be speaking to students at Basehor Linwood High School. As always anyone that wants to join me in these classes let me know and I will make the arrangements and get you the times.

2.   The Partnership at Drugfree.org and Major League Baseball Charities are still looking for coach and player nominations for this years Play Healthy Awards. If you know a coach or player that exemplifies the play healthy and drug free message in their words and actions nominate them for this award. Winners receive a trip to New York City, tickets to the Partnership Gala at Gotham Hall, $500 gift certificate to a sporting goods store, a plaque identifying their award and national recognition.

Here is a link to the nomination process and forms: http://playhealthy.drugfree.org/Awards/Awards.aspx

This is the real deal. I nominated Susan Mayberry a couple years ago and she was the national coach winner. http://parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com/2011/10/congratulations-susan-mayberry.html

3.   If the notice to be with me to talk to students tomorrow and Wednesday is too short I will also be speaking to students at Shawnee Mission West on November 26 and students at Shawnee Mission East on December 6.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

I Just Don't Get It

I saw a post by someone on Facebook about addiction and just not getting it.

I just don't get it, I've used pain killers before and I never got addicted. I just used them while I needed them and when my recovery was over I wasn't addicted I just stopped taking them.

How many of you have heard that before? I sure have, in fact when I was first involved with this stuff and my son I said it many times. It took a long time to come up with logic that I could understand for myself to grasp addiction versus the beneficial use of many drugs that destroy so many lives.

I come to a personal understanding slowly but it finally sunk in after much heartache and deliberation. Not everyone gets to have that experience and has that much time. How do you explain it to the friend or acquaintance that wonders why, "Why don't they just quit? It's that simple."

Once I was having this discussion with a friend who is a retired professional athlete. He questioned, "I took many painkillers in my professional career. I never got addicted. There were many times on Mondays I could hardly move after a game. I took the pills and I could go to practice and see the trainer. When I stopped playing the game I no longer needed the pain killers like I did when playing and I just didn't take them any more."

I knew that I had a very few words I could use to explain this without losing him. He is a very smart man but no one sits still for a bunch of medical and complicated explanations, not even me. I had to relate addiction to something in my life and his life that made sense to his paradigm.

My friend is a hunter, like me, but his passion for hunting is times ten to mine. That provided the perfect scenario. My explanation went like this:

We both hunt. I mainly hunt pheasant and quail, upland birds. You hunt waterfowl, deer, elk, bears and turkey. Your real passion is turkey's. If you took me turkey hunting before the frost we would never see a bird. I would sit there sniffling, sneezing, wiping my eyes and squirming like a kid in the waiting room of a doctors office. That is because I have hay fever. Hay fever is a recognized medical condition. I am allergic to the pollen. It affects me drastically. But, you can walk in the woods and fields endlessly while the pollen invades your nose, eyes and mouth. Your body has no adverse reaction, it handles the pollen and you go on your way.

Think of the different reactions we both have to the same thing. Now translate that over to those painkillers. You used what you needed and it was over. Now think of a person addicted to the same pills. That persons body handles those drugs differently than yours, maybe you might say they are allergic to those substances. Just as your body handles pollen differently than mine. Something in their body trips a trigger that makes it nearly impossible to stop using them. They become addicted to the same thing you and I can take and stop easily, they can't live without them. Addiction then becomes a disease just as hay fever is for me and as much as I would LOVE to go turkey hunting with you I know that I cannot go to that place without suffering a reaction that is miserable to me.

That simple conversation was the beginning of my friends understanding that drugs addicts aren't just low life criminals and that they are sick people and need help.

I have used this explanation many times and it seems to work for most people. In fact I even advised my own son when he goes to the doctor and fills out the long medical questionnaires when it asks if he is allergic to any medications, I told him to put down any type of opiate based painkiller as his answer.

Our friends, family and aquaintances don't need long winded scientific explanations about addiction and the disease model. We must find ways that allow them to discover our reality without suffering through the special hell we all know so well.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's A Man Thing

Parents of an addict??? Parents is plural. It assumes two people, a man and woman, two men or two women. Sometimes in reality it means more, step parents become included and then there are grandparents functioning as parents. This disease touches so many very close loved ones that feel so much responsibility.

This post is about a dad. A dad that thought the plan was laid and implementation steps were in place. Milestones marked our progress. The track was straight and we were riding together. Then came drugs.

There came a time when living a life of honor was only a dream, watching a son barely survive and nearly die made me appreciate the simple fact he was alive.

My emotional state was slipping away nearly as fast as I saw my sons life slipping away. Of course as a man I was to handle things and fix not only him but in my spare time fix myself too. That's a man thing. Of course there was no way I could recognize my own limits, I could do anything I set my mind to do, not just for myself but for others too.

It's a man thing, asking for help and looking for help is not in my nature. Finally there comes a time when you are beaten into submission. If I don't take care of myself I can't be that man for anyone, not my son, not my wife, not my other kids, not anyone.

My way was to write this blog. I had gone to meetings and talked to counselors but that didn't work for me at that time. This was my therapy.

I read blogs, read comments, read emails and by a large margin most are written by mothers. Of course there are significant exceptions, Syd, Dean, Mike, and some others but mostly it is mothers.

It's a man thing. We don't talk about our fears and feelings. But I will tell every mother and wife out there that we are just as scared as you.

It can be a man thing to talk or write to others about how you feel and what is working and what isn't. There are other men that can relate to your experiences that are just as manly and just as controlling as you. From experience, it helps.

Dad, you are not alone and it does work when you let others help with the load. All of us are stronger than any one of us.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PTSD

Yesterday Annette posted on her blog about a family wedding and seeing her two kids drink. She said it bothered her greatly and after the wedding she was very emotional about the episode. Her kids did not get drunk but it was just the fact of a joyful occasion and seeing them drink was upsetting.

It's best if you go to her page and read her experience. She writes it very well. And chronicles what she needed to help herself.

I made a comment about PTSD. I know, I can hear you all now, quite a diagnosis from someone 1000 miles away. However I feel I am very qualified. Probably most all of you have a copy of my diplomas and degrees hanging in your bathroom, they come in 500 sheet rolls.

Parenting an addict or loved one is a traumatic experience. Being raised in an alcoholic household has a long lasting effect. I spoke to a friend and she related how she feels even today after 30 years when things are out of hand and a male raises his voice.

Not to minimize the effects of war on soldiers but all of us can suffer the effects of trauma on us very deeply when such an emotional event goes on for such a long time.

I have my own experiences. When I speak to other parents especially parents new to experiencing the effects of drugs and addiction on their child........it's hard and sometimes impossible to keep my own emotions in check. Feelings of fear and hurt take over even after years of sobriety by my son and thousands of words written by me about taking care of myself and detaching.

Long ago I wrote about putting those memories in a box in the closet. I related to Annette that at times my box is opened. I also said something yesterday in my comment about "I don't know how to throw away the box." I have been doing a lot of thinking about those words since I wrote them to her.

In reflection, I never want to throw away that box. Even with as terrible all those things in that box are they are me. It's not like I want to live in that box again but I want it to always be a part of my life. The pain hurt terribly and I would never choose to do it again but an important lesson learned is that I can if I must. Growth occurred with that life, not just for me but also with Darlene.

PTSD, yes I was traumatized. I still feel the effects. Being aware allows me to heal. The flashbacks and pain doesn't go away, I learn how to deal with it and know what it is doing as it occurs.

I see it sometimes in Alex too. Yesterday in a casual conversation something was mentioned about jail. The look on his face and his immediate response, "I never want to hear that door close behind me ever as long as I live."

Later in the evening I was thinking about his response and look. It dawned on me that he got what I was saying over and over for seven years of his using. "Son, please live a life of honor." HE GETS IT.......a life of honor, raising his family, paying his bills, working, no lies, no stealing, living and loving......a life of honor, he is living it every day.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Want My Life Back

"I want my life back." said the parent of an addict.

Have you ever said that or felt it? I did many times. Darlene use to say, "This is not the life I signed up for." Why can't it just go back to what it was before drugs? It's easy to feel that as the parent of an addict.

We went to sleep many nights asking those questions. Wondering where our son was and what he was doing, those were the thoughts driven by the fear. We just wanted it to all go away.

The day finally comes and drugs left our life.

In the beginning nothing changes. Fear is still the overriding emotion. Fear that the monster is still just around the corner. Our heart wants the joy and happiness of drugfree but our head understands the reality that the monster is still just around the corner.

So much you want to trust and come back to a normal life but you know better. How many times our hopes were dashed by that needle and we spiral back into the pit just as our son.

It's been three years since that day arrived that we hoped for so long. Honestly, not a day goes by that I still don't think of the horror. But it does not shape my life in the way it did while Alex was using.

A tough fact that I have learned is that you don't get your life back. There is no going back to the way it was before drugs. Our son was changed, but we were changed too.

It's easy to long for the past but the future is what allows us to grow. As every parent knows you are forever a father and mother. Those connections cannot be broken but they are re-routed in our life. For some it is impossible to maintain close ties but for us we kept ties close. This was Alex's choice.

Learning to be the parent of an addict in recovery is a hard road. You still have to think and be aware that the world is different. You don't put away the books or stop talking to others on the same road. But most importantly, you must learn to take care of yourself throughout the whole experience of active addiction and recovery.

I'll leave this post with one statement and two questions.

There is no going back, your world has been forever changed.

Knowing how much you love your child, if drugs completely left your child's life today are you healthy enough mentally and physically that you could help them in the right way when they need help?

What are you doing to prepare for that day?


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Catch Up Time

End of July and beginning of August has been a tough month here on the home front. So much going on and no time to take care of myself. But without a little self time I get to be a grouchy old guy. There is a lot to share, many good stories and I will try to do my best.

First of all the funerals and memorials are over, for now. Four deaths in 10 days was a bit tough. Two separate trips to western KS plus two in the greater KC area can wear you out.

My trip to New York for training with folks at The Partnership and The Center for Motivation and Change was exciting and enlightening. I am excited to become a part of a special group of parents working to help other parents.

It was so intimidating being in this group. There were parents that have lost their child to addiction. Parents that are working with state and federal governments and making a difference getting laws changed for our addicted children. There were parents that were directors non-profits helping our children. And then there was me, just a parent that got thrown into a world he never knew existed and pushed into a life I never asked for.

The dedication and knowledge of these other parents left me in awe of them and many times close to tears.

I found a picture on facebook of the parent group:


The training was intense. Learning new ways to listen, learning new ways to ask questions to help parents, learning new ways share my own story. This old dog struggled at times but he did learn a couple of new tricks.

I visited The Partnership offices. Got to meet the whole team. These are people that work every day at helping parents and loved ones of addicts. It was quite a humbling experience. To think that so many years ago when we brought Alex home from the hospital after an overdose and reality set in that he had a "real" problem we jumped online for help and The Partnership site popped up. Little could I comprehend one day I would be standing in those offices meeting those wonderful people. Everyone was so nice and taking pictures. I was so excited I forgot to have them take pictures with my phone too.  Becky has many pics, I need to have them share them with me. Here is one picture I did get with my phone.

Denise and Jerry let me sit in on a parent helpline phone call. I talk to a lot of parents on the phone myself but sitting there for 15 minutes and listening to two people do this that really know what they are doing, well I'll just say what an experience. I learned so much on helping just by listening. Thank you Denise and Jerry. If you need to talk to someone that can help you, call them at the Parent Helpline, 1-855-DRUGFREE.

I think I may have created a slight reputation for myself in New York at the training. Keep in mind this training was being conducted by several very smart people with PhD's from the Center for Motivation and Change including Jeff Foote, executive director and co-founder. Plus many of Partnership people are very highly educated in psychology and addiction. Judy expressed her feelings as did many of us about our ability to grasp all of this and pass it along effectively. She said what maybe many of us felt, "All of these PhD's and we are just parents....."

Out of my mouth came the first of what Jeff began to refer to as "Ron ism's". Here are some for your enjoyment or disgust, whatever is your pleasure. I didn't create these I just shared these.

Ron ism's

PhD -- PhD stands for Piled Higher and Deeper. "Someone with a PhD on their name just means their bullshit is Piled higher and Deeper than my bullshit."

Sitting in a wooden chair while PhD's talk too long about what we are doing. -- "The mind can absorb only what the ass can endure, it is time for a break."

Three days of training, does that mean we are now fully qualified as a "Shithouse Therapist", t-shirts need to be printed.

Not sure if I will be invited back. LOL They should have known what they were getting into by having me there. I'm sure none of you regular readers are surprised.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Partnership Posting

The Partnership at Drugfree.org has published another one of my essays. It is the one about I wish I had learned to listen sooner.

You all seemed to like that post and made a lot of nice comments so I thought I'd share it more widely.

What I Wish I Had Done Differently with My Addicted Son

Monday, August 12, 2013

Trying to Get Back to Normal

It's been a trying two weeks. All of the funeral and memorial services are complete. Sometimes you just don't want to get out of bed.

I apologize to all. I haven't been reading blogs or answering emails. Just one wise crack on Madyson's blog. If all I can manage in a week is one smart ass comment you all know I am out of sorts.

I have promised an update to my training in New York. Honestly it was quite good but I am not ready to write about it yet. In my present mood I can't put the right words together. Need to take some of the advice of all the PhD's teaching the class and take care of myself first. Just a teaser, a few things I had to say became known as "Ron ism's". I'll share them later so be sure to keep coming back. I met a whole bunch of wonderful people doing a whole lot of great things for parents and young addicted people. I want you to meet them all.


Monday, August 5, 2013

and, The Bad News Keeps On Coming

On Sunday morning while I was in New York at the CRAFT training The Partnership set up I got news that another cousin died at 6:30am.

Darin found out not long ago he had cancer. It is another very sad time. He was a another young man with much life to live and love to share. Darin was 48 years old.

I'll post about my experiences in New York later. Not just my impressions of NYC, this was my first experience in the city. But more importantly about what I learned and how exciting it is to be a part of this initiative. I truly believe this is going to help many, many parents and their children that suffer at the hands of this monster

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some Weeks Aren't Good

Last week was one of those weeks. We got three phone calls telling us that family members and a friend had died.

Darlene's cousin had been fighting cancer for a while. He was 54 years old. On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings we spent them in the ICU waiting room. On Wednesday evening after we left Tim gave up the fight. We got a call. He was a double cousin to Darlene. Tim's mother and father were brother and sister to Darlene's mother and father. (damn cigarettes again)

On Thursday morning I got a call from a friend telling me that Marti, a friend, had died unexpectedly Wednesday night. This was a shocking call, he was only 52 years old.

Then early Saturday morning my uncle called and told me that my aunt, his sister, from Wichita died Friday night. She was 89 years old. Aunt Gladys was my dad's sister.

All weekend I was hoping the phone would not ring again. Now this week is filled with two funerals and for Tim there is a memorial service scheduled in August.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Impact of Drugs on Us

Next week I leave for New York. I have been asked to take part in some special training for a few Parent Support Network volunteers. I feel proud that I have been asked to take part in this program. I’ll give you all a complete report when I return.

I have been doing some thinking lately about the impact of drugs on our nation in a real life scenario. Truthfully, the more I think the more disturbed I become. However, I am beginning to understand more clearly our current national drug policy and beginning to realize why it isn’t working.

Feel free to disagree with me. I’m going to be sharing observations and self conclusions but most of all a bunch of opinions. I’d love to hear any dissenting opinions or observations you have noticed.

In no particular order are my thoughts based purely upon anecdotal evidence. I’m not going to dig up a bunch of empirical data and studies. (I’ve never been one to let facts confuse me or get in the way of my beliefs.  lol)

Friends and acquaintances in law enforcement tell me, with frustration, that probably 75% of their work involves people using or abusing drugs and alcohol. What impact on law enforcement would it have if there were suddenly no more issues with drugs and alcohol? Imagine 75% less law enforcement, 75% less attorneys, judges and courts. Imagine 75% less people in prison and 75% less prisons and correctional officers. Imagine 75% less parole officers and no drug testing centers. What happens when drugs are no longer smuggled into our country?

What happens to the DEA and all of the other alphabet soup federal agencies devoted to drug and alcohol interdiction, regulation and prosecution? How dependent has our nation become upon the tax monies brought in by the sale alcohol and drugs? What about all the monies we give to other nations to help extinguish the supply of drugs to our addicts, how much do we save?

With 75% less crime would we feel security systems and monitoring companies in our homes were a requirement along with security bars on our windows? How much less would our home insurance cost?

Without drug and alcohol issues what happens to the recovery community and recovery industry? How many less hospitals would be required? I know a person that is an ICU nurse that says at least half of her patients are overdose related. How many less prescription medications would be produced if they were only used for legitimate purposes? How far down could we drive health care costs?

With no driving while impaired or under the influence how many less automobile accidents would happen? How much less would our car insurance cost? How many less body shops and auto repair centers would be required?

I’ve always been told that when you see something that doesn’t make sense to “FOLLOW THE MONEY”. If that cliché has any validity what does our current methodology for dealing with drug and alcohol issues in our nation say to you and me? Are we so vested in our current system and war on drugs that it becomes impossible to seek other strategies in working the problem? Are there sectors of our economy so dependent on our war on drugs and war on drug addicts that it is in their vested interest to maintain our current failing system? Is that what makes it so hard to explore other trains of thought besides legal versus illegal?

There are a whole lot of questions here, not many answers. All I know is from my experiences what we are doing now isn’t working well. We can’t throw out an entire system without something else in place and it is impossible to turn this ship on a dime. Maybe it’s time for a bunch of people a whole lot smarter than I to take the helm.

This is a problem that affects us all no matter if you are a parent of an addict or someone that is lucky enough not to have this monster visit your family or friends. This is a problem that is so devastating on the personal level it is nearly impossible to view it in a holistic manner. The tentacles are too large and touch too much.


All I know for sure is that as long as addiction and alcoholism is stigmatized and shamed in the manner it is now we will be in lockstep to the methodology currently employed to battle these monsters. 

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Your Morning Chuckle

This weekend I am having my 40th high school reunion. True confession is that this is the first reunion I have gone too since our 5 year reunion.

Ours was a very large graduating class, over 800 students. Probably many of you would find it hard to believe today but when I was in high school I was the wall. I was quiet and shy. I wasn't someone that made any waves or did much socially.  Guess I worked my way out of that quiet and shy stage.

One of my classmates that I actually went all they way through school with from 1st to 12th grade posted a picture of me from 4th grade on Facebook. Thought maybe I would share it here so you all can get a chuckle worldwide. Feel free to laugh out loud.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Mom and Dad

Please welcome this mother. She just found out that her daughter is a heroin addict. She needs us just as we need her.

Track Marks On My Daughter

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New House

For those that might be curious here is a picture of Alex and Kristy's new home. They are all moved in and have the boxes unpacked. (It would be nice to have the energy of youth again.)

This a a very nice home in which they can grow as a family. All of the kids have their own bedroom and it has a very large family room. The kitchen is large with solid walnut wood cabinets. The previous owner or someone was like me, a woodworker. The kitchen, window ledges and balusters for the stairs have all been replaced with walnut wood.





Friday, July 5, 2013

Another 4th of July in the Books

Another 4th has come and gone. There are bittersweet memories because July 4th was my dad's birthday. There are always memories from this day long ago that rise up from so long ago. One of those memories is using my dad's cigarette to light firecrackers.

We had our usual day of blowing things up here on the Grover homestead. No one got hurt which is a good thing. We always have plenty of burn spray and a first aid kit at the ready. Just those statements should tell me that we may need to do something different but I think the friends and family would come here even if we were gone.

Once again we have little ones playing. For a while the kids coming over were older and bigger, now we have little ones again Brooke, Tyler and Owen. Plus there were several other little ones. They played in the water and had plenty of freedom to do whatever they wanted. Tyler ran everywhere, I was with Owen and decided to let him go, he walked and crawled over 200 feet just going as fast has he could. Guess freedom is one of the reasons they all like coming to Grammy's and Papas. But maybe all the cookies, homemade ice cream and Bomb Pops have something to do with it too. It's funny how even the adults want a red, white and blue Bomb Pop on the 4th of July. Everyone is allowed to be as young as they want to be at my house.

No disasters like a few years ago. Recovering From The 4th of July There was even people talking about that year yesterday. Closest we came to it this year was an hour before everyone was to arrive the power went out and a call to Westar Energy resulted in being informed that it could be out 3-6 hours. However, they were able to get it back on just before everyone arrived.

We all have have starts and stops at times when we try to do things. Mom and Alex talked about the new stop smoking commercials on TV. The one were the lady named Terri has to use a machine in her throat to speak spoke to them. Alex has been free of cigarettes for 30 days. My wish is that Tyler never has a memory of using his dad's cigarette to light a firecracker.




Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Have To Pinch Myself Sometimes

On Friday at 9am Alex closes on his house.

Sometimes I find my fingers striking keys on this keyboard that I never dreamed would be strung together in a sentence. Just shows me how limiting my dreams can be when they are applied to someone else. That's a good lesson for myself, allow each person to be all they can be and who knows, you may be surprised.

I always had high expectations for my kids. I kinda see the flaw in that thinking now. Nothing wrong with high expectations for them but allowing their success or falling short of those expectations cannot define me.

Monday poor little Tyler broke his toe and had to get a couple of stitches. I expected to go down there to visit him last night and find him limping and curled up on the couch being a hurt little baby. When we drove up he was sitting in a chair on the front porch with his daddy. He smiled and got down as if there was no bandage and big protective sock on his foot. He ran, not limped over to the toy box pulled out his bat and ball and immediately threw the ball to grandpa. He wanted play ball. Once again my preconceived expectations were less than what was real and possible.

Before we left Alex was sitting alone on the couch and I said to him, "Son, I am proud of you. What you have done in just a couple years well......I would never have dreamed. I am proud."

His response, "Thank you, I couldn't have done it without you guys."

Heart in throat moment.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Urban Outfitters

On May 1st I posted about Urban Outfitters selling prescription drug themed merchandise and asking them to discontinue this line of products. I ask you all for help.

Here is a press release issued by Urban Outfitters about discontinuing this line of merchandise!!!

Thank you ALL for your help and letters.


Interesting Video Of Facts About Pregnancy and Drugs

Here is an interesting video of facts concerning drug abuse and pregnancy. I am not endorsing the rehab center attached but I thought the statistics were interesting.

http://12palmsrecoverycenter.com/blog/the-effect-of-drugs-on-pregnancy-video-infographic/

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Milestones

Effective today, June 10, 2013 Alex is no longer under ANY government control. He has met and satisfied all probation (early) and he is no longer under probation for ANYONE. He has paid off all of his fines.

For every parent or addict out there reading this, there is life after. BELIEVE! Believe in yourself and make it happen. There is no one too far gone that they can't accept recovery. Parents or addict, it can happen for you. Day by day hope and love is all around.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's Me Again

It's been almost a month since I last wrote. I think this has been the longest I have ever gone without posting, please forgive me. I have been reading and commenting to other blogs and answering e-mails.

Not much going on except work and life. Tired of the rain and cool weather. I'm a summer guy give me 85 and 90 degrees any day and I am happy.

Work is busy, working overtime, orders coming in like crazy. I am hiring people, hourly and management. That is an experience of highs and lows. Interviewing and hiring is a part of my job that I actually like and find rewarding. Finding the right person is always a challenge. Most people only have the experience of sitting on the other side of the desk and being interviewed. I know how stressful it is from both sides. Good interviewers and HR people know that it is as hard to interview as it is being interviewed. The highs are when you find that person and you make that call offering a position. From experience you can hear a different tone and reaction when you utter that line, "The reason I am calling is to offer you a position with......." The down side is writing those reject letters and putting them in the mail. I know the same day I really make someone happy I am disappointing many others.

The good news on the home front is that Alex is buying a house. I still have to pinch myself to make sure I am awake. I NEVER dreamed in all those years my son would ever reach this point. That's a lesson to be learned, never wish, dream or hope because sometimes you cannot imagine the possibility of reality.

They have made an offer on a house and it has been accepted. I'm not going to post pictures yet, I don't want to jinx it. But you can trust me it is dad approved. They had me looking at all of them they looked at to critique the condition and construction. They got angry at me with the first three because I pointed out several reasons they were not good homes from condition to construction issues. They thought I was just picking on their choices and got angry with me. But when they learned what to look for then they began to understand my critiques.

All of the grand kids are growing like weeds. Brooke is horse crazy at 4 years old. I don't understand it, none of us are horse people. I bought her a certificate for a trail ride and her mother went with her and she got to ride a real horse on a trail. I am afraid I did a very bad thing. Is there a 12 step program for horse addiction? I think I am an enabler.

Tyler is a ball of non-stop energy. That boy doesn't stop. He is very inquisitive, in a good way. Owen is a man boy. At only 10 months he has a very distinct preference to hang with the guys.

In August I will be going to New York for some special training provided by The Partnership at Drugfree.org. I have been ask to be a part of a new initiative and get this training. I am excited and actually honored to think they believe I could contribute and help other parents so much. The training is centered around the C.R.A.F.T. methodology that is proving to be so effective with young adult addiction. It comes from the book I have recommended to so many, "Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives To Nagging Pleading and Threatening" by Robert Myers and Brenda Wolfe. I read this book a long time ago and so many things just made sense to me, it clicked.

Just an update from KC. I do wish everyone's loved one could find what Alex found. You can't know how much I think about everyone and wish for that everyday.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Questions?

In the past I have solicited questions from readers they want answered. I think it is time to do that again. In a comment a mother asked a couple questions and I am going to answer to begin this process. If you have a question please put in the comments or you can simply e-mail it to me. I will answer all questions in future posts. You can be anonymous or provide your name. I ail not use last names.

From Holly: 

For those of us who read your blog, can you write about what specifically your son did to help himself get sober? What helped him then and does he do anything special now in order to continue being sober?  

Dear Holly,

This is a somewhat long story and I want you to remember that what worked for Alex and us is not a road map for others. Each person finds recovery in their way and what we do must be for us.

In the Spring of 2010 it began getting obviously worse for Alex and our family. We didn't really now what was happening but we sensed a bad turn. At that time Alex was not living with us, he was with his girlfriend but he was also on the street at times.

We sensed things were going bad, didn't know what but we knew it wasn't good. Through the grapevine we learned Alex was speedballing. We knew that speed balling was a bad thing and the more we read the worse we felt. We come to realize that soon our son was likely to die. We also knew that our son was likely to die no matter what we did or didn't do.

Realizing our son was likely to die and from our mind it may be imminent due to this behavior caused us to face reality in a harsh way. We discussed what this meant for us. After many evenings of talk and tears we decided it was time for us to begin making plans for our son's funeral. We drove through the cemetery and picked out a plot in which to bury our son. We decided on a funeral home and discussed pall bearers and I began putting together thoughts about what I wanted to say at his funeral if I was able. In our mind we were burying our son. We just didn't have a body. Strange as it may seem this exercise did give us some peace to know that some unknowns were now known between Mom and I.

As I said Alex was living with his girlfriend. For some reason she threw him out. I have a guess what happened but I don't know. He naturally thought he could come back home. That was not happening. Mom and I had already discussed that we could not live in our house if we found him dead in our home. We decided up front what we needed to say. "I am sorry son but you cannot live here any more." When he arrived we had already packed what he had left here, a few clothes, in a garbage bag. We told him he could n't live here.

In fact, we not only told him he couldn't live here we also told him that we could no longer take another step down this path with him. We told him that we were finally OK with him using if that was the life he choose to live. But if he choose that path we could no longer be there for him. We told him that we had a granddaughter that needed us and we could not be what we felt were good grandparents with this in our life. Told him that if he chooses to follow this current path please do not even acknowledge us on the street if he sees us. We knew that just a simple, "Hi" would rag us back onto that horrible path. We wished him well in his decision and said goodbye.

We heard nothing from him or about him for two weeks. Our thoughts were that he had made his decision and in reality we were grieving the loss of our son, we just had no body.

At the end of two weeks his girlfriend called Darlene and ask if Alex could come to visit us. She said he was clear and sober. He showed up at her home on the third day after we sent him away. Don't know what was said but she allowed him in and he went cold turkey in her basement.

She told us at times she thought he was going to die he was so sick and convulsing so bad. It is true, a person can die from going cold turkey this way.

She told us that he had a profound experience that he had just lost the only people in this world that believed in him. In fact he said once that us continually telling him that we believed in him was what kept him going.

Alex was clear and sober.

I don't know exactly what keeps him clear and sober. His recovery belongs to him. Our recovery belongs to us. He has a job and a baby. He says that is a huge part of his recovery. For him that works, for others that means nothing. You see, it is personal.

I learned a lot in my recovery. I wrote about it as lessons learned parenting a addict in recovery.

I re-read your questions and I could have just answered, went cold turkey and I don't know. But I know you wanted more and you deserve more. Holly, I hope I answered your questions.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Experiences With Schools

Just a little catch up about my recent experience with schools, one a high school and one a university.

Last Friday I spoke to seven classes of students at a local high school. I was scheduled for 5  but another teacher had heard about what I was doing and ask me if I would speak to his classes at the end of the day. The first 5 periods went very well. Vicki was there and she really made a impact. She brought pictures of her son and told the students that I was lucky, I could see and hold my son, he got a chance to find recovery. She only had pictures and letters to remember her son.She read a very touching letter her son wrote her less than 6 months before he died. Vicki was wonderful to share all of this with the class. This was the first time she had spoken publicly about her son's death to a group.

You never know what will happen when speaking to students. All day I saw students dabbing at tears in their eyes. Who knows what is going on in their life to react like this. I let them know publicly no one has to go through loving an addict alone.

I changed my presentation from what is posted on YouTube. I made it even more personal and no slides. Just me telling a story about what poor choices and addiction leads too in life.

A couple of story's about what happened that day. A student after I was all done and the room was empty, just me picking up my papers, she came in stood and front of me and she said, "Today is day 14." No explanation is needed. Maybe it isn't politically correct in schools but I hugged her. Ask her how she was doing and she said she is going to Ala-Teen meetings. At the end of one class presentation a student hung around and come up to me, his lip was quivering, He stuck out his hand to shake my hand. I shook his hand, he held on long and then bolted from the room not saying a word. A student came to me after all of this had happened and during the presentation I ask everyone to go home and talk to their parents about drugs. A girl comes back to me and says she had called her mom on the phone to tell her about my talk. Her mom told her to find me and thank me for what I had done and that she had heard of me and seen my blog. So she was coming in to tell me what her mom said. I usually turn off my phone during these days and when I turned it back on I had a message, a student had left me a message. He wanted to make a donation to my son and I. I then spoke to him on the phone and ask him to make that donation to The Partnership or another organization that helps addicts struggling today to find recovery.

THANK YOU VICKI, for what you did that day. You are brave, you are strong and you made a difference that morning in the lives of students. You did well by Travis, I know he would have been proud.

New story. Last Fall a student at Bournemouth University located in the United Kingdom ask if she could interview me for her university project. We exchanged e-mails and she interviewed me on Skype. Stacey Amer is a journalism student at BU. Her paper on the effects of addiction on a family was re-written and published on the university's website under lifestyle and health. You can find her article here: The Young Still Use; A Parents Perspective

It's hard to know for sure if I have a long term effect on those I speak too about this subject. But I choose to believe that it is helping them so I am going to keep at it until I run out of places that will have me.

Off the school subject here is a video of the First Call Gratitude Luncheon. I attended this luncheon a few weeks ago.  William Moyers Jr. was the keynote speaker. At the 1:20 mark you can see a picture of Vicki and I together. I'm the ugly guy in the middle and she is the beautiful lady in red.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Harley Committed Suicide

It has been so busy around our house it is hard to see daylight let alone update this blog. The busy has been of our own creation and work is nuts both for Darlene and I but now it is time to step back for a pause.

As many of you regular readers may recall last Fall I had an incident on my motorcycle. The autopsy is far enough along that I can now fill in the details.

There is still discussion from the mechanics about what happened. They don't know if it was the chain tensioner in the primary or the compensator came apart. Either way the chain came off and destroyed the guts of the primary, even busted the primary case. Trashed the camshaft in the engine and damaged the main shaft of the transmission. New engine, primary and transmission at least. When they got to $7000 and was still counting that was too much. My summary is that this motorcycle committed suicide. Everyone I spoke with at the dealership kept saying this was a catastrophic failure and no one could believe I kept it on two wheels, lucky I guess. They said it was because I was a hell of a rider, but I know better. Pictures were taken by all the shop people because they had never seen one destroy itself to this level.

I first want to say that Bob and Randy in the Service Department and Josh and Brett in Sales at Worth Harley Davidson really stepped up to the plate. It doesn't matter what name is on the building, with people like this on the inside, you cannot do better. They stepped up and did the right thing. These guys went above and beyond what they had to do. I don't usually plug people on this blog but if you need a Harley, go see these guys and tell them I sent you. If your from out of town it's worth the trip.

The same cannot be said for the Harley Davidson Motor Company. They really dropped the ball. This bike was only 4 months out of extended warranty. In summary, their response was too bad, so sad, it sucks to be you.

Today, the guys at Worth delivered me a new bike a 2013 Ultra Limited. Mom and I are once again riders.

Motorcycle riding is important to us. This was like a good meeting for us. We were able to escape the crisis and turmoil of Alex's addiction. When we were on the bike we were a real couple again with nothing on our mind but the road. Everyone going through the addiction of a child needs a place to escape, this was ours, a lifeboat.

2013 Ultra Classic Limited
Harley Davidson





Wednesday, May 1, 2013

From the Column: You Ain't Going to Believe this Sh....

Urban Outfitters has introduced a new line of products, see pic.

Drinking glasses, shot glasses can koozies and stuff to resemble prescription drug bottles and syringes. Where is the soul of this company, and of course their principle demographic and customer base is our children.

You can write the CEO of this company to share your thoughts if you are as moved as I was when I saw these:

Richard A. Hayne; CEO & Chairman 
richard.hayne@urbanout.com

You can say whatever you wish but here is a copy of my e-mail:


Dear Mr. Hayne,
 
Don't want to begin this e-mail rudely but I can think of no other way of stating how I feel.
 
Are you F...KING crazy. I see these new product listings with the can coolers, shot glasses and etc shaped and labeled like pill bottles.
 
What kind of genius came up with this idea? Do you realize that prescription drug abuse is killing more of our young people, YOUR CUSTOMERS, than cocaine and heroin combined?
 
Are you so devoid of a corporate soul that you can see no wrong with these products? These are products that should be pulled immediately and destroyed.
 
Sometimes we all make mistakes, this one is yours. DO THE RIGHT THING!
 
Sincerely,
Ron Grover
parent of an addict (currently in recovery)
"An Addict In Our Son's Bedroom"
 
ps.: want to see what prescription drug addiction does to a family? search back in the archive prior to July 2010.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Speaking At SMW High School

This Friday, May 3 I will again be speaking at Shawnee Mission West High School. Anyone interested contact me.

Another mother dealing with addiction through her blog: A Mother's Heart: Dealing With Addiction

Friday, April 19, 2013

500 Posts

I just saw the stats on my blog and it said my last post I Need Help was my 500th post. "What a long strange trip it's been!" That's a quote from a rock band, do you know who? (answer at bottom of post)

I looked back at the first post I made on this blog. Funny how the 1st post and the 500th one are tied so closely together. On January 20, 2009 the title of the post was simply "Welcome". In that post I want to quote a sentence from so long ago. "My wish and goal for this blog is that maybe I can help you or you can help us." How ironic the title the title of my 500th post was "I Need Help".

There has been a lot of ground covered since my first post. Life did not wait while all of the crisis and turmoil invaded out lives. Friends and family died, grandchildren were born, children got married, something happened that caused us to smile every day, tears were shed.

However one thing I am eternally grateful for is the reason I began this blog. Today my son is in recovery. The blog maintained MY sanity, barely. He is the one that did the work to be what he is today. I have said before I have no words that can describe that feeling inside on me.

Most important in this endeavor, you read this blog and whether you commented or not you helped me. That was my selfish reason for writing. I salute you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I don't know if there is a life cycle to something like this blog. I'm not ready to give up but I realize I write far less often that I use too. I do answer e-mails. I began this blog anonymously, today I share most everything including my phone number to those that need to talk. Coming out for us was a big step but not one we have regretted.

Asking for help in my 1st post and asking for help on my 500th post. Maybe Alex is the one that grew and I'm the one stuck.  ;-)

"What a long strange trip it's been!" The Grateful Dead. From the song "Truckin"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Need Help

It ain't over till it's over.

I got a comment from a mother last night and I commented back to her. But I need help. Please share your advice and stories of hope here on this post in a comment for her. I am going to reprint her comment. Share your words and love with this mother.

ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE AN ADDICT IN RECOVERY, please take her hand.



Anonymous Anonymous said...
I am a mother of three young sons and I am an addict.. I started off by taking a pill here and there to "perk" me up at work in the afternoons and didn't think anything of it until I started taking them in the mornings as well , it wasn't long before I needed them to get up in the morning and function! Now here I am 5 yrs into this hell . I wish to god I had never touched one!! My life is ruined.. I have tried to quit soooo many times only to go back because the withdrawal is pure hell!! I wouldn't wish this on anyone.... I wish I could go back to feeling normal emotions without anything in my system , all I want is to be naturally happy like I used to be . I was such a happy person just naturally happy but I have ruined my brain now so I am literally incapable of feeling "normal" . I don't want to be high just comfortable in my skin but its imposible for me . I blame myself not my parents no one is to blame but me...I have ruined my life...It's over I will never ever be normal again .....

I don't know if it is the same person but here is another comment to a different post from last night too.

Dear Dad and Mom ,
I am an addict... I have been reading your blog and I thank you for not "throwing" your son away and instead trying to understand his illness. I am ashamed , embarrased that I did this to myself. I'm sorry I have ruined my life .I hate living with this shameful secret of mine I am exhausted just pretending I'm happy . Once you mess with that part of your brain you can't fix it you see...I have so many regrets....I wish I could turn back time and said no ....but It's too late unfortunately just way too late...