Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Latest Huffington Post Blog

My latest blog to appear on the Huffington Post's site is an edited, slightly updated version of a post that originally appeared here back in August of 2012. It's about my reconciliation with my alcoholic father after forty-plus years, just six months before his death.

It was probably the most difficult blog post I've ever written, and sometimes I wondered if I should've just kept the experience and feelings to myself. But I thought the message was an important one, so I shared it with you all.

Because of the importance of the message, I'm grateful to be able to share it with a much wider audience via the Huffington Post. They just published it today. Here's a direct link to the post:

"Forgiving My Alcoholic Father: Better Late Than Never." 

Maybe someone in a similar situation to mine will read my post and decide to let go of the negativity they feel toward someone in their life. I have to say, it's very liberating to do so.

"Forgiveness is all about taking care of you, not the person you need to forgive. It’s about putting your desire to feel good before your desire to be right. It’s about taking responsibility for your own happiness instead of pretending it’s in somebody else’s hands. It’s about owning your power by giving all your anger, resentment, and hurt the heave-ho." --Jen Sincero

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Blog Post at the Heroes in Recovery Website

Just dropping in to let you know that I have a new blog post up at the Heroes in Recovery website. It's about unconditional love, and how it can be a powerful tool for parents of children going through addiction.

If you get a chance, please go to the Heroes site and check out the post. I'd also love to hear your feedback on it, so feel free to leave comments on the blog over there.

Here's the link to the post: "Unconditional Love: A Powerful Tool for Parents."


"What it's like to be a parent: It's one of the hardest things you'll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love." --Nicholas Sparks

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Another Huffington Post Appearance

To say that I'm thrilled to have the Huffington Post publishing my blog posts would be an understatement.

Today they published "Insight Into the Mind of Someone Suffering From Addiction," which originally ran here as a post entitled "6/13/11."

This is the sixth post of mine that the HuffPo Blog has published. I wish I could say I got paid for them using my writing, but I don't. Not a penny. But the exposure and the ability to get my message out to a much wider audience is compensation enough. If one person reads something that might help their child, or helps them understand addiction or depression better, then that's a wonderful thing.


Thanks, Kristen Johnston

Always nice to have an Emmy Award-winning actress who's in recovery--and who actually gives a sh*t--on your side.

I tweeted one of my blog posts over on Twitter today and Emmy Award-winning actress Kristen Johnston--who is in recovery and known on Twitter as @kjothesmartass--praised it and replied to it.

This isn't the first time she's taken the time to share something I've written, and I'm truly grateful.

If you get a chance, check out her terrific blog "One Big Mouth."


Friday, September 12, 2014

More Moving Words from the Past

As you may recall, I recently posted about finding an old spiral notebook of my son's while cleaning my basement. In that post, entitled "6/13/11," I included an excerpt from a note my son had written. His words gave insight into how a person suffering from addiction feels, and why they take drugs.

Yesterday, during another phase of basement cleaning--my wife and I are doing our best to downsize and purge--I found another spiral notebook. This one included a list of "10 Negative Consequences" of my son's addiction. It was mesmerizing to read my son's list, which must have been a homework assignment from his therapist. There was also a list of pros and cons about going to rehab in California. (I sure am glad the pros eventually won out.)

The rest of the notebook was mostly filled with song lyrics. My son was/is an aspiring musician, and back when he was using drugs his music was an escape for him; his only "friend," really. Of all the lyrics in the notebook, these four lines had the most impact on me:

"Untreatable disease
Do with me as you please
Slam me up against the wall
And break me at the knees"

Yet another glimpse at my son's innermost thoughts during his addiction. He obviously felt that addiction had a firm grip on him, and was expressing his vulnerability.

Again, I post my son's words here only to help explain what types of things people suffering from addiction think and feel. People don't want to be addicted. But if their brain is wired differently and they're predisposed to the disease, they can find themselves someplace they never wanted to be. And escaping that dark place can be the biggest fight of their life.


"I felt guilty and ashamed for stealing from the ones closet to me just to get high. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway because all that mattered to me at the time was getting loaded." --My Son, from his list of "10 Negative Consequences" of his addiction

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 Ways to Be a Better Human Being

Just a quick post to let you know that I have a new blog up on the Huffington Post site.

It's entitled "10 Ways to Be a Better Human Being," and is an extended version of a post I made here on a Thursday back in May. (That blog post was called "Thursday Thoughts.")

If you get a chance, please check it out. And maybe share it, too. Together maybe we can make the world a little better place.

Here's the direct link:



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Six Years Sober Today

Today marks exactly six years since I had my last taste of alcohol.

I don't remember her name, but I am forever grateful to the family therapist at Brighton Center for Recovery who told me in a family therapy session back in 2008, "Be the change you want to see in your son."

I took her advice and ran with it.

My son was in rehab, but that session ended up changing my life forever. Go figure.

I will commemorate today's anniversary with an ice cold root beer. After 5:00pm, of course. ;)


P.S. If you want to read "the rest of the story," you can check out the blog post I wrote for Heroes in Recovery back in May entitled "Be the Change You Want to See in Your Loved One."

P.P.S. My son is 800 days clean and sober today. :)

"We should never permit ourselves to do anything that we are not willing to see our children do. We should set them an example that we wish them to imitate." --Brigham Young

Sunday, September 7, 2014


(Note: This blog post also appears on The Huffington Post's blog site as "Insight Into the Mind of Someone Suffering from Addiction.")

With our younger son off at college, my wife and I are empty-nesters again and we've been cleaning and purging so we don't end up being old people featured on the TV show Hoarders.

Early this morning I was cleaning in the basement and came across a spiral notebook that my older son had used during his attempt at community college a few years back. It was pretty tattered, so I decided to put it in the "recycle" pile. But I decided to flip through it first to see if contained anything of any significance.

Most of the pages were blank. A few pages had some random doodles on them. There were also a couple of pages that had daily schedules written on them from my son's earliest stays in sober living houses.

Some of the pages, though, were oozing with negative emotion and made me cry both tears of sadness--for the past they represented--and tears of gratitude--for where my son is today.

There were four pages that had the words "FUCK MY LIFE" scrawled in giant letters; letters so big they took up all 8-1/2" x 11" of the sheet of paper. But the thing that hit me the hardest--and I mean it hit me like a Mike Tyson uppercut--was a two-page note my son had written.

The note was dated 6/30/11, which was a little more than two months before my wife and I sent our son to Palm Springs for treatment at Michael's House. I will not share the entire letter here because it is much too dark and personal. But I will share this one small excerpt, only to give people an idea of what goes on inside a person's mind when they are suffering from addiction:

"I feel dead inside. It's like nothing can make me feel better, and only drugs can block out all the bullshit, take my mind off of it for any period of time."


Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

That paints a pretty clear picture of how an addicted person feels inside, doesn't it? They don't want to be addicted. They just want to feel better and block out the negative emotions. They want to clear their mind of the things that make them hurt. And self-medication is the only way they know how to do it.

About 10 weeks after my son wrote that note, my wife and I created a boundary and stuck to it. Our son could either go to rehab or move out of our house. It took a few days, but he chose to go to rehab.

Thank God he did.

When my wife got up today I asked her, "Do you want to see something that will make you feel grateful today?" Then I showed her the note our son had written. She was overcome with emotion just like I was.

I thought about throwing the note away, but part of me said to keep it; not so I can dwell on the past,  but to serve as yet another reminder of how far we've come.

My son is 797 days clean and sober today. That's two years, two months, and five days. And I am grateful for every single one of them.

I love my boys with all my heart.


"My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone." --Anne Lamott