There’s no hiding the fact that a sibling is struggling with addiction, so it’s important to include and involve the other siblings. In this 2012 column, Midwestern Mama embraces a #NoMoreStigma approach.
Recently, Midwestern Mama penned an article for In Recovery magazine about the impact of a child’s addiction and recovery on the parents’ marriage, so it’s only fitting that for #TBT that we rerun a 2012 column on a similar topic. It seems the principles stand the test of time regardless of the scenario.
In 2012, Midwestern Mama contemplated the dichotomy of doing “all the right things” but still having a kid who was struggling with addiction. It seemed to run counter to the recovery principles of “you didn’t cause it, you can’t change it, you can’t control it, you can’t cure it …” Which is it, she wondered? (And still does wonder.)
To me, this is where parents and professionals need to come together for the sake of family consensus, treatment and recovery – for ourselves and our young addicts.
Throughout my son’s addiction, we made every effort to stay in touch and we worked at understanding the complexity of addiction and its grips. In this 2012 column, Midwestern Mama talks about why this is important an even shares an insight from Chicago Bears player Erik Kramer. These strategies made a big difference for our son and our family.
In this 2012 column … After a few months of outpatient treatment and sobriety, Midwestern Mama’s son started using again. She writes about this “sadly unsurprising” turn of events.
It always seemed like the few times I was out of town for business would be when the dreaded phone calls would come. The ones about an incident with my chemically dependent son.
Midwestern Mama wrote in 2012 about a recent trip that actually went smoothly.
What a relief!
In spring 2012, Midwestern Mama’s son was not using, but he wasn’t exactly embracing treatment, sobriety or recovery. Here is a column where she explores the concerning pattern, which repeated itself many times through many relapses.
Fortunately, in 2014 and continuing forward, my son has embraced sobriety and recovery in a much more encouraging way. We have transitioned from hope to belief!
Early on, Midwestern Mama relied on her “Mom Radar,” which often revealed patterns of addiction. In this column from 2012, she writes about how patterns emerge and change for her young addict.
Fast forward to August 2015, I must say, I much prefer the positive patterns of my son’s recovery.
Having a car was a privilege – until Midwestern Mama’s son began using drugs and driving under the influence. It was a turning point when we finally took away the privilege. In this 2012 column, read about the impact of having, or not having, a car during my son’s addiction.
Three years later, now sober and in recovery, Midwestern Mama’s son is now in his 20s and has regained driving privileges. He’s saving money from his part-time job to buy his own car in the future.
Throughout our son’s addiction, we made every effort to remain in contact with him and to celebrate family holidays. Often, greeting cards expressed the ideas that we had a hard time saying directly. Midwestern Mama wrote a column in 2012 about some of these cards and the heartwarming, encouraging messages that we exchanged with our son during his addiction.
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.
In 2012, Midwestern Mama writes about her son’s participation in an outpatient treatment program. It’s one of his early efforts at sobriety, but not the one that takes hold.
When your kid is using drugs and without a doubt is addicted, parents – rightfully so – want the nightmare to end. Now.
Midwestern Mama realized early on that addiction does not have a quick fix. In a column from 2012, she wraps her head around the notion that it takes time.
In today’s #TBT column, Midwestern Mama writes about the guiding, calling HOPE that “Maybe today will be the day,” that her son would choose sobriety and recovery.
Every parent of a young addict hopes and prays that TODAY will be the day that addiction ends and sobriety and recovery begins. None of is knows how long the journey will go on. All along though, we must maintain hope – for ourselves and for our young addicts.
Several years after writing this column, after lots and lots of hoping (and other things), that day came. My son made that choice on July 11, 2014, and I’ve never been so grateful.
One of the most difficult and saddest aspects of Midwestern Mama’s experience with a young addict was her son’s homelessness. Nothing in this experience broke her heart more.
As we head into the Independence Day weekend, I remember how chained my son was to his addiction. Just a few years back, my son was homeless. I wrote about this for the Pioneer Press in January 2012.A Real Mom 1-6-12 Where Will He Sleep Tonight?
Each day, I would pray for his freedom from chemical dependency and for his choice to become sober. For me, and I think for him, the homelessness was the most devastating part of the addiction experience. I wish it on no one.
Today, I am grateful that he is sober – one year on July 11, 2015, and successfully living at home with our family.
It’s not what you think! Midwestern Mama hit on a “PC” approach to parenting a young addict. It’s highlighted in a column from a few years back when her son was really struggling.
Back in 2011, Midwestern Mama discovered and shared that recovery isn’t just for the addict. Read her reflection on the value of self care, finding a guide and engaging with an online community.
Kids who are using drugs are particularly sneaky and the clues are often subtle. In this Pioneer Press column from 2011, Midwestern Mama writes about being vigilant in watching for clues.
We’re getting exceptional feedback about Our Young Addicts, and it has spurred Midwestern Mama to create and curate additional content for parents and professionals who care and are concerned about young people in their lives who are using drugs and alcohol.
Here’s a quick overview of what’s coming up this week, and in the weeks ahead, for Our Young Addicts on the blog and on Twitter.
Mondays or Tuesdays will generally feature an update from Midwestern Mama
I’ll continue to share with you what’s going on in our family as our son nears his 11th month of sobriety and recovery.
Wednesdays will now feature Guest Blog posts
On Wednesday, we will kick off a weekly series of Guest Blog posts from parents, addiction professionals and young people in recovery.
- Wednesday, June 10: Our first guest blogger is a dad with a son in recovery. He’ll share what he’s learned through this experience and the changes he learned to make as part of it.
- Wednesday, June 17: Next up, our guest blogger is a young man in recovery from opiate addiction that started as a result of a high school sports injury. Now, this young man is back in college and has a job he enjoys.
- Wednesday, June 24: We’ll start a three-part series with a professional who works with families through their kids’ treatment and recovery.
Thursdays are #TBT – Throw Back Thursday
Thursdays, we’ll continue with #TBT – Throw Back Thursday – featuring a previous column from the St. Paul Pioneer Press or from this blog. There is merit in looking back and realizing the extent of this journey, including its ups and downs. It really provides perspective on where we are today and what’s possible tomorrow.
#SoberSummer Continues Daily on Twitter
On Twitter, we’ll continue our #SoberSummer tips, and I encourage you to share some tips of your own as well as checking out our Resource pages. Click around on the site to find resources for parents and professionals on a growing number of topics.
Thanks for reading, commenting and most importantly for being part of the #OYACommunity.
©2015 Our Young Addicts All Rights Reserved
For #TBT, Midwestern Mama explores the formation of parenting habits … three years ago via the St. Paul Pioneer Press.