Blog & News

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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“Beautiful Boy”

“Beautiful Boy”

Before it slipped away to another town, my husband and I caught “Beautiful Boy” at our local movie theater.  It was a weekday.  Only two other couples occupied seats. Based on David Sheff’s wrenching memoir about his son’s drug use, the film is equally wrenching to watch.  Anyone who has read the book knows the …

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Seeking absolution

Seeking absolution

When a child falls prey to addiction, when does a parent stop asking, what did I do wrong?  What did I do, or not do, to cause this?  When does self-incrimination end and absolution begin? Maybe it takes years.  Or maybe, never. Recently, Jacob was invited to address a large AA meeting in south Florida.  …

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Getting educated

Getting educated

Recently my son and I were invited to help inaugurate a Family Weekend hosted by the Schnellenberger Foundation in Delray Beach, Florida.  Some might recognize this name.  In the 1970s Howard Schnellenberger was coach of the Baltimore Colts.  His son, Tim, leads the family’s effort to support recovery and to educate families afflicted by the …

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Remember the healthy ones

Remember the healthy ones

We all know addiction can affect those nearest the person with the disease.  Parents and spouses suffer mightily. But what about others in the family?  Or even close friends? One of the questions I face frequently after a book talk is, how did your daughter react? When addiction entered our household, nothing was the same.   …

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When someone is suffering

When someone is suffering

For a long time I thought I had the “right” response whenever I learned that someone who loves a person with addiction was suffering. Apparently, I’ve been doing it all wrong. Until recently, if someone told me about a friend or relative whose child was actively drinking or using, I would say, “Sure.  Have them …

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