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It’s A Family Illness

Memoir Excerpt:  “I was starting to feel desperate and wanting to bring my other daughter into the loop again. The holidays were looming and they’ve always been an emotional time for me. I’m flooded with memories, both happy and sad. But more than anything, I remember the anxiety, the frantic covering up, the alcohol-enabled keeping up the appearance of being happy that I felt in my childhood. As I felt Angie slipping away again, I wrote to Caroline and said I’d hoped she was OK and not getting sucked into Angie’s drama too much. But I needn’t have worried. She and her brother have been able to detach pretty well all these years. Or have they? They haven’t talked to me about what they were feeling, and I haven’t asked. But sometimes I think the bomb that exploded back in 2001 is still exploding, here and there. We’re all still licking our wounds, carrying...

Wake Up America!

From “Thirty-One Days in Nar-Anon,” Day 29: “Through the sharing of other members and the warmth of their friendship, I started to develop a new strength. I recognized my powerlessness, accepted drug addiction as a disease and avoided having expectations. My frustrations began to vanish. With all the knowledge I acquired through the Nar-Anon program, literature and phone support, I became more open-minded. This brought me a sense of serenity and helped me set more realistic goals for myself.” Would we even be having this conversation if our children were suffering from diabetes? Of course not! Addiction is a gravely misunderstood disease, shrouded in secrecy, shame and stigma. Bikies, tatooes, and skid row…oh how times have changed! But thanks to the many programs out there that are educating the public about the true nature of addiction—that it’s a brain disease—awareness is increasing and attitudes are slowly changing. Look how in one generation the American perception of alcoholism has evolved. We had a recovered alcoholic in the White House for eight years, a man who freely admitted that he struggled with alcohol when he was younger. Alcoholism is also a form of addiction, remember, and it’s my fervent hope that Americans will start to view drug addicts with the same compassion offered to many alcoholics. When public perceptions change, so will attitudes toward our addicted children. My daughter, Angie, is a heroin addict. If she felt less shame, would she be less isolated? I believe so. In a few other countries, and even in Seattle, WA, there are programs in place to help addicts manage their addiction. This support is...

The Voice Of An Angel

From “My Daughter/Myself” (taken from A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Maggie C. Romero) Sometimes my words pale before Angie’s, and I’m very glad of that. Her voice should be loud and clear in this memoir: the voice of the child, the voice of the poet, and later, sadly, the voice of the young woman corrupted by addiction. I sprinkle the story with examples of her writing, little snapshots of my daughter, at different points in her life. When she was 8, she wrote this note at school. Of course the great poignancy of the story is that Angie and I mirror each other. We share the same addictions. My child is a worse version of myself. And so much of my work in my life now has been coming to terms with that legacy and learning how to transcend it. I am deeply grateful for all the education and support I’ve received in the 12-Step fellowships over the years. It is in those rooms that I’ve taken back my life and learned how to be happy and at peace. Hugs and prayers to all of my friends as we share our strength and hope on this journey!...