Wednesday, October 30, 2013


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.