Blog & News

A Safe Distance

A Safe Distance

It’s often the very first question asked.  After I share my story with an audience, with or without Jacob at my side, a hand goes up from the back of the room. “My sister has a son who’s been in and out of treatment.  He’s 34 and he’s still using.  He lives with her and …

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I apologize

I apologize

Among the many life lessons learned through my son’s recovery from addiction, and thereby from my own, is to make amends promptly.  I’ve also learned that it doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t do the wrong.  What matters is,  does the other person perceive you did? A recent incident reminded me.  A local charity …

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To Stay or Go

To Stay or Go

The woman seemed haunted.  When she talked about her son, a shadow fell across her eyes. I met Carol (not her real name) recently.  She fell in step with me as we walked with a group of Americans on the tiled streets of Granada, part of a six-city tour of Spain.   Her adult son had …

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Chasing treatment

Chasing treatment

At a recent book talk a mother asked me, “How involved did you get in researching places for your son?” Her anxious face catapulted me back into the crazed, frenetic days of Jacob’s disease, when he was at his worst, and so was I.   The memory brought back all the feelings of feeling out of …

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Walk it off

Walk it off

You know it.  You hear it incessantly.   Exercise is one of the best relievers of stress.  It’s something easy we can do for ourselves. But what if you’re suffering the worst kind of stress – an obsession with someone you love who’s slowly killing himself – and thereby you, too – through drug or alcohol …

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The Birthday Month

The Birthday Month

In the church hall 200 people sit in rows of folding chairs awaiting the night’s main speaker.  Eyes face forward. The leader opens with a wide-grinned apology.  Tonight’s AA meeting may go longer than an hour.  It’s “birthday” night. One evening each month the group recognizes members celebrating their annual sobriety dates during that month.  …

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Hope revisited

Hope revisited

It’s a four letter word.  Nowhere could it be more palpable than in this South Florida church  where we visit each January with our son. Practically a pilgrimage, this annual return to a place that attracts scores of mostly young people seeking sobriety draws us in. We are with Jacob, seated beside him.  Around us …

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When New Year’s Eve Haunts – and Hope Survives

When New Year’s Eve Haunts – and Hope Survives

Even as a child, I never liked New Year’s Eve.  It always seemed forced to me – forced to feel jovial, forced to reflect, forced to look ahead and make promises I‘d never keep. But seven years ago was the worst. There is a saying in AA and Al-Anon:  You can look back.  Just don’t …

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What should I do about Christmas?

What should I do about Christmas?

Families face it every year.  When they love someone in active addiction, it’s the dilemma that begins haunting them as soon as the first tinsel appears in shop windows.  How do I answer my son’s plea when he says, Mom, can I come home for Christmas?  Or, what do I say to my daughter when she …

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Why I (continue to) go to Al-Anon

Why I (continue to) go to Al-Anon

If you love someone with an addiction, anniversaries can be tough – especially anniversaries that mark the illness.  The first warning sign.  First arrest.  Rehabs.  Relapses.  The first 30 days clean. Each December I celebrate my own anniversary.  December 6, 2010 marks my first Al-Anon meeting.  I can still see every face in that tiny, …

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