There’s always a back story. The story behind the story. In many ways this is key to understanding the current situation.
When my son was struggling and after we confirmed that he was using drugs, I started keeping notes: What we discovered, what we talked about and who we talked to. There was so much going on and the lies were flying fast and furiously, so my black-and-white composition notebooks helped me keep it all straight.
Also, as I found resources, I would make note about these: phone numbers, website addresses and information on what was offered. Later, this saved time when we needed to make contact.
Along with all of this, I also subscribed to a number of online newsletters. These helped me become educated on addiction, treatment and recovery. One day, I read a press release published by Renew magazine; it was from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
The report had to do with current statistics on young adult substance use and also highlighted its impact on brain development. Although I knew in my heart that all this was true – we were witnessing it first hand with our high school son — it was the first time that I had validation of our experience. Only, there was something missing.
Immediately, I whipped off two emails. One to the magazine and the other to one of my local newspapers, the St. Paul Pioneer Press. I ask the editors where was the parents’ perspective in reporting this news. Within a few minutes, I received messages back from both publications asking if I would write about this.
That’s how this flurry of writing began. First as a magazine article offering tips for parents experiencing exactly what I was experiencing, and secondly as a biweekly column in the newspaper that chronicled our family’s journey.
Instead of the heroic story of overcoming addiction and succeeding in recovery, the newspaper column was a real-time, real-life account of parenting a young addict. In no way was it a sad, woe is me diatribe; it was a hopeful yet realistic account giving other families a touch point.
Eventually, all that writing manifested as the Our Young Addicts community including this blog.
As a tribute to the back story, it is rewarding to share those early columns from 2011 – 2013 as part of #TBT (Throw Back Thursday). Each time I reread these columns, I gain new insight into my son’s addiction and it further allows me to celebrate his recent one-year sober anniversary. From these, I am inspired by his future, and I truly hope it instills hope in our readers that there are good days ahead.
Click through our blog archives to read these past columns, categorized as #TBT, and check here on Thursdays for another blast-from-the-past installment.