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About Addiction

From the blue Nar-Anon pamphlet:                                                                           About Addiction “We have learned that addiction is an illness. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease that affects every area of life. It can be arrested but never cured. We have found that compulsive use of drugs does not indicate a lack of affection for the family. It is not a matter of love, but of illness. The addicts’ inability to control their use of drugs is a symptom of the disease of addiction. Even when they know what will happen when they take the first drink, pill or fix, they will do so. This is the “insanity” we speak of in regard to this disease. Only complete abstinence from the use of drugs, including alcohol, can arrest this disease. No one can prevent the addicts’ use of drugs. When we accept that addiction is a disease, and that we are powerless over it, we become ready to learn a better way to live.” These words reinforce my belief that when my daughter is under the influence of drugs, she ceases to be the person I raised. It’s all a matter of degree, of course, and we don’t all experience the same extremities of behavior with our children. But in Angie’s case, there is little resemblance to the wonderful, talented young woman I knew. And though I have no power over the change in her,...
Dancing in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain The road to my spiritual life began when I was a young child growing up in an alcoholic family. But I didn’t start to walk down this road until halfway through my life when my daughter fell ill with drug addiction. I was very unhappy growing up. It’s a classic story of family dysfunction that many of us have experienced as children. But back then I didn’t have Alateen to go to. My father was never treated and died prematurely because of his illness. I, too, was untreated for the effects of alcoholism, and grew into an adult child. Well, many of us know how rocky that road is: low self-esteem, intense self-judgment, inflated sense of responsibility, people pleasing and loss of integrity, and above all, the need to control. I carried all of these defects and more into my role as a mother to my sick daughter, and predictably the situation only got worse. I was a very hard sell on the first three steps of Al-Anon, and my stubbornness cost me my health and my career. But once I did let go of my self-reliance, my whole life changed for the better. The Serenity Prayer has been my mantra every day. I’ve learned to let go of what I can’t change. I don’t have the power to free Angie of her disease, but I can work hard to be healed from my own. This is where I’ve focused my work in the program. My daughter has gone up and down on this roller coaster for fourteen years, and right now she’s in a...

The Voice of Recovery

In 2009, Angie went into recovery for quite a while, and it was a blessed period in our lives. This is the Mother’s Day card she sent me that year, and how it pulls on my heartstrings now! I will never give up hoping that she gets her life back someday, and I will always love my daughter very...

She’s Alive!

Memoir Excerpt: “But my respite was short lived. The phone rang two weeks before Christmas, and I knew she was still alive. At the sound of her voice, I was drawn back in to her world, her illness, and her drama. I didn’t even think to take a step back from it all, so strong was my codependency at that point. “Hi Mom. Doc thought I should call you and let you know how I was. Do you want to come down and see me? I’m on a farm in Fredericksburg.” “Oh, Angie. I’m so grateful you’re alive and safe! We’ll come down first thing on Saturday.” Why didn’t I just hang up and say the hell with her? Because she was my daughter, somewhere closeted inside that addict’s body, and no matter how much I raged at her endless betrayals of self and those she had once upon a time loved, I couldn’t turn away from her. She was my child. She didn’t ask to be born, and I know she didn’t choose to be sick. I would go to her, on a tranquil farm two hours away, to try yet again to reach her, in some way, on some level, while she could still be reached. As long as she was still above ground, I told myself, she had another chance to start over. I was her mother. I would rescue her. This time, I would save her from herself. This was my mindset when we went to see her: stubborn, stupid, willful lab rat that I was. After all that we had been through, together and...

Building Blocks to Happiness

From Courage to Change, April 22 “At first the idea of searching for defects of character, wrongs, shortcomings and harm I have done can seem like just another excuse to be hard on myself. That’s why it’s so important to concentrate on the first three Steps long enough to develop a strong spiritual foundation. In these early Steps, we admit the areas over which we are powerless—such as alcoholism and other people—and learn that a power greater than ourselves has no such limitations. We decide to place our will and our life in the hands of this Higher Power. We let go of burdens that were never ours to carry. And we begin to treat ourselves more kindly and more realistically. When we move on to later Steps, we do so for our well-being. We begin a process that is immensely rewarding, and we go forward under the guidance of a Higher Power. This enables us to be much more gentle with our recovery. The first three steps are the cornerstone on which my progress is built. No matter how long I have been in this program, I won’t hesitate to touch base with the foundation of my spiritual health. ‘I now have a goal I can see clearly and a program with which to work toward it. It is my guide to self-improvement, comfort, and a better way of life.’”...