Addiction Trip

When I travel, I’ll type my destination into a GPS to make sure I don’t get 
lost along the way.

Addiction has no road map or GPS.  
It’s an endless drag punctuated by slow climbs, out of control downhills 
and harrowing hairpin turns — an accident waiting to happen.

Parents drive this highway a car length or two behind their addicted child.
We seek directional advice from experts in a desperate attempt to help 
them avoid the crash and burn.

Ultimately, the addict is responsible for his or her own journey.


No Picnic

My son is transitioning from a Colorado county jail to a minimum security penitentiary.  Try using the words “my son” and “penitentiary” in the 
same sentence.  
But he was convicted of possession and distribution charges.

He is currently at a Reception and Diagnostic Center, where he’s being 
evaluated to determine which medical, social and educational services 
he’ll receive as an inmate.  The assessment process can take up to a month.  
During that time, the penitentiary mandates a 23-hour lockdown –
no picnic.  After the Diagnostic Center completes their work up, he’ll be 
moved into the prison system to continue serving his time.

He should remain there until the first quarter of 2013.  
He’s been incarcerated several times, just never at the State level.  
One of my prayers is that he’ll get a little more traction this time.  
The Department of Corrections (DOC) offers opportunities for work, 
education and therapy.  
Telephone communication is limited while he’s in this facility, so he’s been 
using the downtime to write letters.

Authentic Family

Since his early teens, my son’s substance abuse has consumed
our family.  It’s been a frightening, life altering and wild ride;
certainly not what I pictured on that January day in 1986. 
For years, I had a strategy of sidestepping the whole truth when 
addressing the reality of his situation.
“He’s out in Colorado”, I’d say, and gingerly change the subject 
before I’d have to answer more questions.
“He’s hanging in there”, I’d say, as if he was facing his first 
round of midterms instead of a court date for drug possession. 
“We’re looking forward to being together at Christmas”, 
I’d nod and force a smile when someone asked about our 
holiday plans.
Silently, I was praying that this year, our gathering wouldn’t 
be wrecked by drugs and drama.
My family and close friends knew what we were up against, 
but they were at a loss as to how to help. Each one was supportive 
in their own way, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Many years of counseling helped me let go of the misguided notion 
that I had any control over my son’s reckless behavior.  
I was powerless over his addiction.
Once I accepted that powerlessness, I came to a more peaceful place.  
I‘m not a professional in the field of addiction, but I am an experienced 
mother of an addict.  By facing the shame and secrecy that keeps parents
isolated, I’ve dropped the perfect Christmas card portrait and embraced 
my authentic family, warts and all.