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 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