Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Facebook post

I belong to many addiction-related groups on Facebook. One in particular is incredibly emotional. It's a group for mothers of addicts, and most of the posts there are gut-wrenching. Mothers--and some fathers, too--posting about the struggles they are going through with their addict children. People whose kids are in dire straits. People whose kids are overdosing and being sentenced to jail time. And yes, people who have lost their child to addiction. My heart goes out to each and every one of these human beings.

On occasion, though, people post positive things in the group. Last night, for some reason, I decided that I would be one of those people. I posted this photo of my son...

...along with these words:

"My 23-year-old son: 13 months and 5 days clean and sober. Love him so much and am grateful for every day."

I felt a bit guilty for posting something positive, but I wanted people to know that things can change. I also wasn't sure how the post would be received. I mean, I didn't think anyone would criticize me for posting what I did. But I'm always a bit paranoid, so I wasn't sure what the reaction would be.

As it turns out, there was nothing but overwhelming love. As I type this post, 207 people have "Liked" my post and 39 people have made wonderful comments on it. I was pretty moved by it all.

After reading over all the comments this morning, I decided to leave a comment of my own. I thought I would share it here:

"Thank you for all your wonderful comments. I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant to post this picture of my son and tell you how long he was sober. I know that so many people here are either still struggling with their child's addiction or, worse yet, have lost a child to addiction. In no way do I mean any disrespect towards those people. I just thought that my posting what I did would offer up some hope for people currently fighting the battle. Also, my son's sobriety doesn't mean my wife and I (yes, I'm a dad, not a mom) don't still struggle with our son's addiction. But we struggle less. And we have learned to put our lives and recovery high on our priority list. After all, the choice to get/stay sober can only be made by one person: the addict. We can't want it more than they do, although that was the case with my wife and I for many years. I am grateful every day that something 'clicked' for my son and that HE decided he was tired of being an addict. I also realize that it will be a lifelong issue for him. And I pray that he stays on the right path. If you would've asked me 5 years ago, I probably would've told you that I didn't think I'd EVER see my son stay sober for more than a month, let alone more than a year. But my wife and I never gave up hope. And, for what it's worth, the change occurred in our son after we finally set a boundary--you can no longer live in our house--and, more importantly, finally stuck to it. Almost a year in a sober living house did wonders for our son. When he finally decided he wanted to move out of the sober living house after 10 months of sobriety, he asked if he could come home. My wife and I stuck to our guns and said no. We did not want him to come home and fall into the same bad habits/routines he had before. So now he's living with his girlfriend and her mom and step-dad. And he's happy. And we're happy. And he's slowly but surely maturing into the 23-year-old man he is. I'm sorry for rambling, but I wanted to tell those whose kids are fighting the battle or have lost the battle that I pray for each and every one of you every day. Please do not burden yourself with guilt. Remember: You didn't cause your child's addiction, you can't cure it, and you can't control it. Remember to take care of YOURSELF. Lastly, never be ashamed, because you are not alone in dealing with this disease. I will end this lengthy post with a quote from my favorite writer, Anne Lamott. This quote inspires me every single day of my life: 'Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up.' Peace and love to every single one of you. Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you'd like to chat."

If you read this blog, please pray--or whatever you do--for all the parents of addicted children out there. Being the parent of an addict is something that's unimaginable and can only really be understood if you are one. But trust me: We need all the positive thoughts and prayers we can get.



  1. I read this and it occurs to me how we're all in this together in a way. Because I've felt and thought and lived ALL the things you've said, and have had to come to the exact same realizations. My son is about to go to a halfway house and I'm scared/elated all wrapped up in one. When I read stories like yours, I feel so happy, tears well up in my eyes, just as if it were my own child. So well done. And he's lucky to have such loving parents. I will pray for his continued success!

  2. I love this post. What a good looking young man. When things were so bad with my son I held on to posts such as yours, clinging to hope that things could get better. Today my 23 year old son is 22 months sober. I cherish each day. There is no greater gift. I agree with you that boundaries are key. I don't think home is a good idea for our kids who struggle with addiction. My son lives 1100 miles from home in the same community we sent him to almost two years ago to begin treatment. He is building a life there. I don't think he will ever live here again. I miss him terribly but I thank God for his support system there. Thank you for the wonderful quote.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. Congratulations to your son. You are right...this will always be a lifelong struggle for him, but with the love and support you and your wife give him, he will hopefully have the strength and courage to continue on in his path to recovery.

    Although I can't completely understand just how much his addiction has effected your lives as parents, I can relate to his side of the struggle as a relatively new recovering addict as well. I've been clean now since November 2011, after spending over 12yrs in the patterns of addiction. I've been lucky enough to have my husband and family support me the whole way. I know just how much crap I put them through, so I'm completely grateful that I still have them by my side while continuing to have the courage to go on. I've recently began blogging about my addiction and recovery and have found it to be a wonderful stress reliever. In addition, it gives me hope that it will let others know they are not alone in their own struggles of addiction and recovery or may help someone understand as to what a loved one whose battling addiction is going through and how they may help them, all from a recovering addicts point of view.

    Again, I've enjoyed following your blog and it has given me some perspective as to the battle my own husband and kids have endured all these years and just how much they'd given up or lost out on because of me. I will keep you, your wife and son in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your heartfelt posts, and please know you are helping so many people in so many ways by opening up and talking about the courageous path you all are taking together!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Molly. I have added your blog to the blog list on my blog. :)

  4. Your welcome. I'm very new to this whole blog thing, and I have really enjoyed reading your posts. I often refer to your blog to get some insight of the opposite's (a loved one's)point of view.

    I really pray that your son will continue on the same I've learned, we must just take one day at a time and do what we must to try to prepare ourselves for any possible triggers. For me that means preparing myself for any sudden health concerns that may require me to see a doctor and not allowing or giving in to an unnecessary prescription. So far I've been successful! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts!