Addiction Journal

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Peace and strength

A Picture worth 1000 words

I was commuting home yesterday when my train crawled to a stop. I gazed out the window and saw the following. I snapped the picture:


DRUGS KILL – simple words transformed to the side of the abandoned train car by some young tagger.

I wondered if they had lost a friend to the disease that has affected their generation.


These words that came from a tagger meant more to me than hearing it from some stuffy politician who has probably never seen the gaunt face of addiction staring back at them.


Had the tagger lost their best friend..Perhaps they found their buddy in a bathroom.


I wonder what thoughts rolled through the tagger’s brain as they lifted their paint can.

I agree with the tagger


peace and strength

Sober homes

Parents tend to rate recovery homes like rates resorts.

Some houses get five stars as others are ripped apart on social networks by parents that may have never even stepped foot onto the property. It becomes difficult to get honest assessments that are not emotionally based. Being “mean” to their little Cindy is not a good basis to rate a home on.

housesI have a friend who emails me occasionally. Her son is on a healthy path and is moving into a home that my son resided in briefly. She asked me to rate the place that my son had stayed.

Well I told her I couldn’t really give her an informed opinion. Granted when my son was living there, he was high as a kite daily. I ended up Section 35’ing him. Ironically as I sat in the court room to have him locked up for his own protection, there was a mom who had a son at the very same home. That recovery house was a sh*tshow a few years ago.

There were no drug tests and when I went into my son’s living space to get a few of his belongings I found old food, burnt spoons, and dirty needles to be the décor.

I followed up with the owners and advised them that they may want to read the book “RUNNING A SOBER HOME FOR DUMBASSES”. I heard things quickly changed.

(I actually ran into one of the residents a few months later. He was clear eyed and thanked me for turning the tide in that home. )

Sober homes are everywhere these days. As the heroin addiction epidemic soars, houses and recovery groups pop up everywhere. Some are good and some are in the recovery business for the money. Choose carefully after getting as many of the facts as you can.

When picking a sober home for your younger addict I would talk to as many parents as I can about their child’s experience. Keep in mind that many kids fail in these places and it is not a reflection on the home. (Older “addicts” seeking recovery should probably be picking their own homes. If you are “helping” your older child find recovery at say 30 years old you may want to step back a bit. That is a post for another time.)

I would think that constant drug testing and curfews would be a few things that should be in place. But…. (There is always a but) how do we as parents know that the rules in place are being enforced? It’s a crap shoot… nothing comes easy in addiction.

Sober homes…there are no guarantees.

What do you think makes a good recovery home?

peace and strength!

…of boundaries and keys !

“.. he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.”

page 96 Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Far too often I tried to control my son and his recovery. Inevitably I would fail and feel like sh*t when his relapses occurred. Like most parents new to addiction, I had difficulty
letting go of my child’s addiction.

brass-keyIt seemed as if we had just taught them to drive, or were taking them to little league games, or girl scout meetings. Suddenly were are advise that their life belongs to them. “Let Go and Let God” was preached in the meeting halls that I attended.

“Letting go” is tough enough when you have a “normal” child. (Normal in this case being non afflicted). Letting go of a child consumed by the disease of addiction is an emotially daunting task. It is a task surrounded by “what ifs”. We feel as if we are rolling the dice on our child’s fragile life.

However the sooner I accepted the “let go” theory the sooner he started moving in the right direction. Paying their bail and allowing them to sleep all day on your couch only prolongs the affliction. You won’t love them out of heroin addiction. In fact your love will be used against you to feed the demon. Their are no rules of fair play. I got burned many times.

At this writing my son is not completely healthy, but I am no longer being held hostage by his addiction. Being a hostage never helped him get sober. I had to resume my life and let him fix his.
He no longer lives at home, he no longer is given money, I don’t call him in the a.m. to make sure he is up for work. There are boundaries now; ones that help us both.

Setting yourself free is the easiest, yet hardest thing you might will ever have to do. The key to freedom is offered by those that have walked this path before you. Take the key! Live your life.

peace and strength

regarding “Loneliness”

Inwardly he would give anything to take half a dozen drinks and get away with them. He will presently try the old game again, for he isn’t happy about his sobriety. He cannot picture life with- out alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.

p152. Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

I have not seen my son in weeks. Schedules, snow, vacations, and life have kept us from meeting up. It’s not that I haven’t tried to get together with him, but my son is not dependable when an invite is offered.


Speaking on the phone yesterday,he told me how lonely he currently is. He told me he is sober. He then asked “What is the sense of being sober if I have nothing and no one? ” I listened but his words made me sad.

I reminded him that when he uses he becomes a relationship destroyer. I reminded him that he has hurt many with lies and other symptoms that attach themselves to his disease of addiction.

I advised that it will take time for those around him to heal. The wounds he has inflicted when actively using are deep. Many around him have lost faith or are fearful. He must learn empathy and patience.

Then I stopped, because I know I can’t fix him.

The answer to his loneliness problem sits right in front of him in the Big Book. Unfortunately I have learned that I can not show him the answers. The answers must come from within or from a sponsor.

The prayers for my son continue.

peace and strength

Sobriety Calendars ?

sobriety calAs I look at the different groups on Facebook I see many parents putting up calendars that track how many days sober their child has attained.

(Before I continue on, the following is an opinion and not an attack on those who are posting these calendars. Your path belongs exclusively to you. I only write about the things that have helped me, and the mistakes I have made on this journey.)


That sobriety gem is classic for a reason.

My son racked up years of sobriety multiple times. When he relapsed, it sucked losing all that “counted” time. It was then I stopped counting his good days.

Tracking their time on a calendar is probably nerve wracking on some level and in my opinion it’s a pointless exercise. I have learned a hard lesson; there are no guarantees. Addiction is a ebb and flow of recovery and relapse. Each relapse provides a teaching moment.

The only day that seems to matter to those in long-term recovery is today. They are and have always been my wisest teachers.

If they want to count, so be it. Their disease belongs to them. I will simply pray for a healthy today for all our children.

A related post with some insightful comments are found here :…/

Peace and strength