Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tough day today

My wife and I went to the funeral of my high school friend's daughter today. This song was played during the beautiful service. I thought I'd share.

Monday, February 21, 2011


This morning, my mom sent me a link to a Huffington Post blog post entitled "Families Dealing with Drug Addiction: A Letter That Offers Hope." It was a good read and I thought I'd share.

My two favorite parts of the post:

"The letter also shows that addiction is an equal opportunity inflictor. It is not restricted to low-income families, or to families in which there is a genetic disposition to alcoholism or addiction, or to inner city ghettos. It can occur in any family, even families where the parents did almost everything right (no parent does everything right) and yet somehow, their children become addicted to drugs."


"Parents whose kids are addicted need hope that there is a path out of the madness, that other young people as bad as, if not worse than, their own son or daughter have acheived sobriety. I like giving people hope, but it's also necessary that they realize that while people can recover from drug addiction, it isn't easy and it just doesn't happen by accident. It means doing something about it. It means no longer denying that the abuse is occurring, that it is not simply some 'phase' that a teenager or young adult is going through and will soon grow out of."

Do yourself a favor and go read the whole post:

Link to "Families Dealing with Drug Addiction: A Letter That Offers Hope" on the Huffington Post.

Thanks, mom.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A life cut much too short

I awoke this morning to some very sad news. A friend from high school, whose daughter has been battling heroin addiction for quite some time, sent me a message on Facebook. She told me that her beautiful daughter's battle with addiction came to an end this past Wednesday night; four days before her 20th birthday.

"We are still waiting to hear what the toxicology report reveals to know whether she overdosed or whether she used tainted heroin, but, either way, she's gone," my friend wrote. "As I sit here with tears in my eyes, and my heart broken and aching, I know [name withheld] is in a better place. I hope that all of her pain and suffering are gone and that she's at peace. Finally."

When I read the message, I broke down and cried. I had never met my friend's daughter, but I still feel like I have lost a family member. Perhaps it's because parents of addicts are, in a way, a family. They face the same struggles, feel the same emotions, and live in fear of the same things every single day. Unless you're the parent of an addict, you can't have any idea what it's like to have a child who is struggling with addiction. You may think you can. But you can't. And, as I've said before, it's something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

I talked to my friend on the phone about an hour or so ago. She seems to be doing remarkably well; but I could still hear the pain and grief in her voice. Nobody should have to bury their child. I can't imagine what that feels like.

If you're a reader of this blog, please do me a favor and say a prayer for my friend, her family, and her beautiful daughter, whose life was cut much too short. And if you have kids, PLEASE educate them about drugs. Despite what you may want to believe, it CAN happen to you. Heroin is not an "inner city" drug that's only used by "low-lifes." It's everywhere. Trust me. I know.

For my friend, I share this quote from one of my favorite authors:

"You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp." --Anne Lamott

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A harsh realization

We had a huge blow-up in our house last night. It was brought on by a combination of things: the stress of my older son sleeping until almost 6:00pm.; the stress of having to do the chores that others should have done had they been awake during the daylight hours; my younger son suggesting at the dinner table that we're "poor"; coming to the realization that we're at a crossroads with my older son, and that a tough decision will soon have to be made; and the stress of my job, which I've really grown to hate, and which eats at me pretty much 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Regardless of what the causes were, it was an ugly argument involving the whole family, and a lot of horrible things were said in the heat of the battle. Most of those things were said by me, and I truly regret saying them. Unfortunately, this sort of thing has happened too frequently in recent years, and it always seems to be me who is saying the hurtful things. I'm not sure why I do it, and I never mean to do it. But it inevitably happens. And it shouldn't.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm neither a good father nor a good husband. At least right now I'm not. A good father and husband doesn't say hurtful things to his kids and wife, no matter how angry or upset they are. I'm just not a very good person right now and I need to change before it's too late. I'm thinking an anger management class of some sort is in order. I think I'll start looking for one.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


It's been about six years since my son's "issues" began, and during that time my thoughts and emotions have bounced around like an out of control Super Ball. (Some of you probably aren't old enough to get the Super Ball reference. If you aren't, just click here.)

There is a constant sadness in my heart, because I want so badly for my son to be "normal." Or at least "more normal." I hate to see my own flesh and blood struggle. And, of course, there is love. I love my son more than life itself. But I'm only human, and other feelings make their presence known quite often, too: guilt, resentment, anger, frustration, disappointment, etc. Oh, and did I mention guilt?

Guilt eats me up inside on a regular basis. Usually the guilt is associated with the feeling that I'm somehow responsible for how my son is. That he's a severely depressed addict because of something I did or didn't do as a parent, or because of my genes. I know I shouldn't feel guilty. I've had professionals tell me that, have heard it in meetings, and have read it umpteen times. If it were my brother or sister or neighbor or mother or father or friend or wife who was a severely depressed addict, I don't think I'd feel this guilt. But as a parent, it's hard not to feel guilty. At least it is for me.

Unfortunately, the guilt thing has moved to a whole new level lately. I now feel guilty for feeling the negative feelings I feel. And its kind of making me crazy.

Here's a confession: As much as I love my son, I find myself resenting him at times. It hurts me to say that, but it's true. Over the last six years, my wife and I have done everything imaginable to try and help him. But lately it seems like he just doesn't want to be helped. He seems so unwilling to do anything that might help him start to turn his life around. Is he scared? I'm sure he is. But nothing will change unless he starts taking steps to change things.

I understand that change will not come overnight. But I wish my son would show me something. Even the tiniest of baby steps would be a step in the right direction. But lately? Nothing. There's no effort at all on his part, despite the constant statements that he knows he has to change, he knows he has to do this, he knows he has to do that, he's going to do this, he's going to do that. I've heard it all a thousand times. But nothing happens.

This post was prompted by an incident that occurred very late last night. Without going into detail, my son assured me he was going to do something my wife and I had asked him to do. But he didn't do it. Then, when I got up this morning, there was a note from my son on the kitchen counter. It was an apology. In addition to saying, "I'm sorry," the note included the now standard "I know I have to do this" and "I'm going to do this" lines.

I read the note and just kind of shook my head, because I've heard this all so many times before. It's sad, but now when my son says or writes the words "I'm sorry," they have absolutely no meaning to me. I'm starting to think my son apologizes just for the sake of apologizing; not because he's actually sorry.

Should I feel guilty for feeling that way? Because I do.

Thursday, February 3, 2011