Today is my son's 24th birthday and in 3 days we will celebrate two years of family recovery from addiction. Yesterday we buried one of his best friends. The one he ran with when addiction was active and ruling his life. The one who when he was the new kid at school my son befriended, who came to our house for dinner, who I drove to band concerts, practices and celebrations. He'd been in jail for 2 years and was sober when he came home. He lived for a little more than a week out of jail. His friend lost his life because of addiction, because of a battle with xanax and oxy-contin, because of dirty doctors, over prescribers, drug dealers, lack of guidance, lack of support, lack of understanding, too much denial, too much judgement and because people turned away, including myself. I turned away because I was scared of what he'd become and I was fighting for my own child's life. I'd thought of him while he was in jail and prayed for his redemption, his health, his wellbeing and his heart but I didn't visit and I didn't know he'd been released until I found out that he'd died in his sleep and yesterday I knelt on the floor in a mosque and then watched his family lower his cloth wrapped body into a grave.
It was not lost on me that if it were not for the path I'd taken, the intervention, treatment and whole family recovery work that saved my family and put us all on a path of wellness and sobriety that I could be his mother broken hearted and wailing at his grave, her fingers digging at the dirt, tears streaming down her face. It is also not lost on me that this disease might just be in remission and that it is not out of the realm of possibility that I could be that mother.
For today though I am not and for that I am both humbled and grateful.
This morning I feel like I failed Abe. While he was in jail, my son was getting well in treatment, we were learning how to be a family in recovery, how to create a recovery ready family. We were healing, transforming and changing too. I can't help but feel that I could have done more for his family, for all families by sharing more of what we've learned, the alternate path we took to hopefully end addiction in our family and how we've changed.
This morning I am holding both boys in my heart. Their beautiful lives, their loyalty and friendship in the face of this killer disease. I don't want to go to any more funerals for young people because of addiction.
This morning I am making a promise to do more to honor recovery and save lives. To not be afraid to rebel against old ways and old paradigms of treating addiction and to do more to show families and mothers the gentle, powerful path forward in recovery in hopes that lives will be spared and families will survive the collateral damage of addiction.
I will not be afraid to raise my voice for families.
I am working with families on a new paradigm for treating and ending addiction. I have a BIG dream to serve millions of families. Addiction has no place in our families.
I never stopped believing that his recovery, our recovery, was possible and each day we wake up in faith, strength, love. Today we celebrate life, we celebrate recovery, and we mourn the lives of those we love and lost to the evil of addiction.
May Abe rest in peace, his battle has ended. May God bless his precious heart and his soul be held in love.
If you are a mother looking for a gentle path forward for your family I am accepting three families to work with this fall. Our time together will be confidential, full of compassion and anchored in the kind of support that can change everything. If this pulls on your heart, my heart is ready to respond to you and your beloveds. Send me an email with "devoted" in the subject line and we can set up a call to get started. email@example.com
I AM DEVOTED and ready to serve.
Once again, I am shown that there are a lot of people on the ground doing what they can to help families and strengthen communities. A WHOLE LOT.
That's where the real change happens, on the ground. The government has a huge platform at their disposal to effect change. I hope they use it in the most people empowering way. Yesterday I just wanted to remind the people who are making policy who they were making all this policy about.
YOU. FAMILIES. US.
Drugs, Addiction, Substance Use, Substance Misuse, all of that is a two part matter.
Economic and Emotional.
A supply and demand matter and a matter of pain.
The way to end addiction is by strengthening families, relationships and communities and creating the conditions where there is no demand. That starts on the ground.
Healthy, happy, prosperous, well loved and well connected humans are less inclined to seek to fulfill primal needs with substances that highjack brain function. It's our job and personal responsibility to work a strong life program that promotes health and wellbeing, both physical and emotional and our responsibility to model that behavior for our children. The government can't do that for us.
Drug dealers, including the pharmaceutical companies know addiction is a money maker. We reduce the demand by refusing to partake. If there is no demand, then there is no reason to sell here.
The best way to create a life long customer is to hook them young while their brains are still developing or to prey on someone in pain, not just physical pain, but the pain of shame, regret, grief, disillusionment, sadness, loneliness.
I went to Washington yesterday mostly to see what they were up to and hear how they were going to address the growing problem that kills 144 people a day, that causes 23 million families to suffer at the hands of addiction and to shine the light on those families and to put the idea out there that if they don't use the massive platform to educate families on a new way to treat addiction then its never going to change.
No more rock bottom, I said.
No more tough love, I said.
No more waiting until they want it, I said.
No more treating addiction and substance misuse as a crime in the community and in the family, I said.
We are a family, two years in recovery. Those messages didn't work for us and they are dangerous. Recovery is possible but you have to learn how to be in recovery, not just the person with addiction, the whole family and the community.
SPREAD THAT MESSAGE.
Make sure there is policy in that plan that creates recovery ready communities and recovery ready families, I said or people will just keep circling back into the system and our kids will keep dying.
There are national organizations that are still preaching tough love, turning your back on sick people you love and using a shame based model for healing. That needs changing. We have evolved and the brain science proves that needs changing.
That old model and message doesn't work. It goes against our true nature as human beings.
I am not having it.
Addiction, substance use is a call for help, a call for love. Treat it from that perspective and see what happens.
If you or someone you know is suffering, I am here. I've channeled our experience and made my career into helping others get to the other side. I am ARISE Intervention and Family Recovery trained. You can email me to have a free consultation. Then we can create a plan for your family recovery and if I can't help you I know A WHOLE LOT of other people who can. The Recovery Community LOVES helping people get well.
Reach out. Help is closer than you think.
I AM DEVOTED,
Family Recovery Advocate
I serve women seeking healing and transformation.
I serve people who have been impacted by addiction recover their lives.