Sunday, September 21, 2014

Self Care and Schools

Last year when The Partnership at Drug-Free kids brought me to New York to be a part of a new program I was honored and thrilled. Unfortunately, this year at work has not allowed me to be able to help my team. I feel I am not contributing but I am trying to do what I can. I did speak to a couple parents recently but I have not been able to take new assignments.

During training last year "self care" was stressed. It was emphasized about how stressful it is for parents living the life as a parent of and addict, as if we all didn't know. But time has an effect to dull the unpleasant memories to life's daily stress. They also stress how critical it was for us to practice self care because taking on coaching with parents can put us in an unhealthy place too. It's not just parents in the heat of battle that need to take care of themselves.

Thursday and Friday I had a chance to practice a little self care. Some may not see this as self care but for me it charges my batteries. Standing in front of a bunch of people talking about parenting an addict strikes terror in some but for me it is cathartic.

It's amazing to me how interested students are in my story. They listen intently, ask questions and share their own stories. One class actually applauded when I said my son has been clear and sober since July 2010. By the end of the talk I really believe some of them may be emotionally invested in our story.

The stories and tears students share after class when they want to talk breaks my heart. So many thank me with shaking voices. They pick up cards with my phone number and e-mail address. They know they are no longer alone and there is a hand for them to take if they need to talk.

Parents also attend and share with me after class

For me this is self care. Not to discount a tall cold iced drink on a beach watching waves lap at the sand isn't nice, but nothing turbo charges me like speaking to people and seeing their faces when they realize that they no longer have to be alone.

Wish I could find a paying gig like this, I'd work cheap.

Just a teaser for all of you out there wondering what I do in these classes. The video production class at the high school decided my talks should be a class project. During one class they had four cameras at different places in the room recording my talk along with a person taking stills with a DSLR. They are going to take all of the video and stills and try putting it together into a "professional" type video/presentation. I'm sure the students will do a great job and could do much better if they just had a better person speaking.  lol  When it is done I hope to share it with all that want to see.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Starting School Talks Again

It's that time again, I am getting requests from teachers to speak to their students about drugs and addiction. This I do gladly as long as they will have me. Sometimes it's tough balancing work and time off to do these talks but they are a priority for me.

One thing I have found is that the more parents that attend it seems to have a bigger impact. What's really hard is if I were a parent of a student in high school I probably wouldn't have gone either.


This time Susan Mayberry, the teacher sent out this e-mail blast to every parent. I really hope there is a packed house and we are scrambling to get more parents in the room.

Dear Parents and Family Members,

Each semester in our Health Science "A" course, we cover the topic of addiction. Within this curriculum topic we invite a community member into visit with our students. 

Mr. Ron Grover will be presenting on Thursday, September 18, 2014 from NOON until 1:15pm. He will also be speaking on Friday, September 19th, 2014 from 9:10am-10:38am, and again from NOON until 1:15pm. 

We are inviting you and your family to attend one of these presentations. Mr. Grover will speak with our Health Science "A" students (your child) in regard to what it is like if a person chooses to use drugs. What this will look like, and be, from a parent's perspective.

Mr. Grover volunteers as a Parent Ambassador for The Partnership at and also has his person blog, that shares several accounts of what it is like to live with an addict.

We hope that you can attend one of the three opportunities listed above. For seating purposes, please email me with your name, WHEN you plan to attend, and the number of persons you are bringing.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

We are looking forward to Mr. Grover's presentation. No question in regard to his family and addiction is out-of-bounds. This is a SAFE environment in which to ask questions or listen to the truth about what drugs do to a person and his/her family.


Susan D. Mayberry
Health Science "A" Teacher!

If you are in the Kansas City area and want to hear this let me know. You can be my guest.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What Has Addiction Done FOR You

Maybe it's just me but I am a believer that in every experience in life there is a good. At times addiction tested that belief. How do you find good inside what I have described and many others have agreed is hell on Earth?

Parenting a child addicted to drugs is hellish. Sleepless nights, fear of the next minute, hopelessness deep in your heart, that is what we all live as our child is suffering. How can there be good in such a world?

I am not trying to anger some when you think, "sure it's easy when your son is clear and sober now?"

My personal belief is good can be found in anything if we look hard enough and seek the answers we need to help ourselves and our children.

Looking back and answering a simple question has helped me. That simple question is, "What have I learned?"

I learned to be a better father. I no longer took my kids for granted. Perfection is not fair to put on your kids or to put on yourself either.

I learned that people suffering from addiction and alcoholism are not people that can be considered "less than" simply they are afflicted with a disease that I don't understand.

I learned that my bride is more than I ever believed she was or could be. I learned that I am a damn lucky guy she stuck with me.

I learned that when you extend your hand for help to strangers you all reach out, take my hand and help to lead me out of the darkness.

I learned sometimes there are no right answers, sometimes you just have to do what you think is best and accept that may be all you are capable of doing at the time.

These are just a few of my most important lessons that have shaped me into what I am today. I am not the same person I was before addiction. Today I am a better person. Many things must be forged by fire to become better than what it was, glass, steel, gold and diamonds do not become beautiful and precious without tempering through pressure and heat.

The loved one of an addict, despite the turmoil, is as clear as glass, has the strength of steel, as valuable and precious as gold and sparkles like a diamond in the sun.

What have you learned? What has addiction done for you?