Addiction Journal

Reality Check

My son celebrated his 2 years of sobriety last evening at his NA group. He invited me to attend the “ceremony” and I was happy to be invited.

The location of his home group is gritty. The edginess and reality of this hole in the wall brought me back to the reality of what this “THING” truly is.

I have tried to help others as I blog, attend parent meetings, work with government officials, and do what I can to “pay it forward”. After last night I felt as if I had “lost touch” with what the issues are. It happens and none of us are above it.

The young persons NA meeting was a kick in the balls that I needed. The meeting was a back to basics, don’t forget what the reality of addiction is. I would urge every parent and government official to attend a young person’s meeting in their town and learn about the reality of our kids are facing. Sitting in your parent/political meetings simply is not enough.

At last night’s meetings there were no fancy chairs and long oak tables. No agendas, or mission statements. Bad coffee and damaged yard chairs were the furnishings to a group of individuals hoping to control a “demon” that had turned each of their young lives inside out at some point.

The meeting was compelling to say the least . My son spoke and I watched as he offered a beacon of hope to those that had just rolled in after a weekend of very hard drugging. Although in recovery, he is not a 12 step guru. He will never be the poster child of pink cloud sobriety. He is simply sober and that is a good thing. For those with fresh track marks he was what they needed.

I looked around the room and saw 20-something kids at different places in their journey. Some hungover, some high, some a few weeks clean, others with significant clean time. Tattoos, blue jeans, and hope were the offerings on the menu in that dingy church basement.

I again heard horrific stories that made me twist inside. Reality! I had not visited that world in a long time. I had forgotten the true firestorm of destruction that drug addiction can bring to their lives. Stories about the evils that our sick kids do to feed a disease that has taken control of their very soul. Within the firestorm…there is hope!

It is hard for parents to learn how insidious this disease can truly be if they only attend “parent support” groups where people profess to know what an addict feels. Learning about your enemy must happen in the trenches too. Books and professionals can only bring one perspective. As parents we must listen to those who walk the walk ..that is the hard evidence that government officials always discuss as they “battle plan” in their “war against drugs”. The “Hard evidence” can be found in many dirty church basements across the US every night of every week!

It was good for me to see the reality again, The destruction mixed with the hope , the broken child sitting next to the chip holder, the damaged sitting with the sober. Yes my son was the “beacon of hope” at last night’s meeting and I was proud of him. The gift given to me last night was far more than his current sobriety. It was a gift of reality. A reminder to stay grounded and never forget what this monster can do to our children.

Young men and women with bright eyes shared stories of hope and recovery to help those currently struggling with a demon that owns them in a way I can not begin to fathom. That is the reality!

I have a list of concepts I use to stay healthy in my own recovery. Last night I added that gift given to me by a group of young adults in a dirty basement in Charlestown. The gift of Reality.

Peace and strength

Categorised as: Journal Entries


  1. Mary Jane says:

    WOW…..The hair is standing up on my arms because I know the church basement you speak of and I havent been there for a long time but your description brought me back there….I can almost smell the musty smell in there……I got the reality of it all again just reading what you wrote……I am going to attend a meeting again just to remember…Congratulations to your son and thank you for this site……You are so right that anyone that is not an addict cannot know even begin to know how that feels…I find in listening to those in recovery that you can maybe get some idea but to really know…we don’t….As I have watched my son’s recovery and been to some of his meetings I have begun to understand the pain and yes his addiction caused my pain I can’t even describe I now have begun to understand the pain of the addict….Did they make a bad choice YES but once in the grasp of the addiction they no longer really have control it is not until they hit thier rock bottom what ever that may be that they can crawl out of this….Step 12 is so important helps thier continued sobriety and gives hope and a hand to help pull them out….Once on step 12 the addict is a beacon of hope to others…..Peace for today….

  2. AddictionJournal says:

    Thank you Lisa for your kind words

  3. Lisa says:

    I had a hard time grasping the disease concept at the beginning. It did not take long for me to understand, however, once I heard some AA leads. I too have benefitted tremendously by adding AA meetings to my schedule as well as the other 12 step meetings I attend. Several weeks ago I attended my second AA Founders Day weekend in Akron. It was an incredible experience. I would encourage others to consider attending this annual weekend event at some point. It provided me enough reality and hope to see me thru until next year.
    Thank you to both you and your son for sharing your hope. I’m glad today is a good day for you both.

  4. AddictionJournal says:

    Thank you Clyde. I think it is some sort of mental defense mechanism…

    As our kids are in the struggle our minds gloss over what they are really doing to themselves…yes we know they are using but we don’t allow ourselves to “focus” on what that truly is.

    That meeting was an eye opener… I have decided to attend a young persons meeting occasionally as it will help me “get real ” .

    The parents groups are good for one perspective… Addict meetings are far different , yet helpful to me

  5. Clyde says:

    This is an incredibly powerful post. It’s so important for the addicts who have been able to find recovery to pay it forward for those who still suffer in the shadows and darkness of addiction. Who better to be their beacon of light, than your son? He has fought hard every day to string together 2 years. WOW! He is now able to show others that recovery truly is possible, and just how good life can be without drugs.

    I still stop by to visit friends I met at a local AA meeting back when my family and I were in a truly dreadful place, dealing with my son’s heroin addiction. It was in that parish center that I got my first glimmer of hope, that my son could choose the road to recovery if he wanted to do the work. I will never forget the people from that group who gave me the strength to push through the early days.

    It’s imperative to keep it real and keep it honest.

  6. AddictionJournal says:

    Congrats Bruce on your 40 years..
    Beautiful it ..liked it..hard read at the time I picked it up as I felt like I was living that experience…took me a while to finish. Love “Addict in the Family” top book .

    Relapse is part of recovery..I have heard that term..but was taught the alternative
    Relapse can be part of recovery but is not a requirement…

    Love your another of my favorite sayings ( Joe take a bow on this one ) is

    I too know many that have buried their children, it is a horror I hope I never face but I don’t live in the past ..nor will I live in fear.. for today is a good day. Thanks so much for your comments!

  7. bruce briganti says:

    i have over 40 years of sobriety. i have attended na meetings with my now 34 year old opiate addict. i have read the books- beautiful boy stands out. been to the programs he has been in. done all i could do. i agree the reality is the true education/information that gets us a s close to understanding as we can. i can only take it in small doses though. something i learned recently,” relapse is a part of recovery.” never thought of it that way. because we cannot stop loving our children we can never give up on them. i now some who have buried their children; their lives, although poorer, go on. thank you for caring enough to share your thoughts.

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