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Monthly Review: Our Addicted Child, How Alcoholism Affects Entire Family and more

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Monthly Review: January, 2015

In case you missed any of our recent posts: How Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family, Our Addicted Child, A Year Without and Roger Ebert is an Alcoholic. Thanks for partnering with Changing Lives Foundation to help struggling families.
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How Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015

~By Jail Chaplain Joe Herzanek, Family Addiction Counselor and Author of Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.”

This article is included in the current FREE magazine download:  Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015  (Page 21).

Alcoholism is devastating to all members of the family. Family members may have watched someone they love turn into a stranger. They ask, “How did this happen? Why didn’t we see it sooner? Are we somehow to blame? How do we make it stop? What if we can’t make it stop?
READ MORE

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Our Addicted Child:
That feeling of powerlessness was horrible.

Our Addicted Child


~By Daniel Green (Recovering Addict)
Daniel Green interviews his parents on how they coped, living with an addicted child.

Daniel: So, first thing’s first, what was it like living with a child in active addiction?

Mom: It was horrible. Horrible beyond words. We never knew what to expect. I never knew what to expect and that’s true of the big stuff and the little stuff. When I say the big stuff, I mean thinking you were going to get arrested, overdose, or die. You know what’s so bleak about having a child who’s also an addict?

At the end of your addiction, I wanted you to get arrested. READ MORE
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

A Year Without

A Year Without.
~By Sharron K. Cosby, Riverview, Florida
Reprinted with permission: from the January,
2015 Guideposts Magazine.

It wasn’t until she gave up something herself that she began to understand her son’s long struggle with addiction.

I thought I could handle it. It had been a few months, and I thought I was strong enough. I walked into the break room, where someone had put out doughnuts for a coworker’s birthday. My mouth watered. READ MORE

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Roger Ebert is an Alcoholic

Roger Ebert is an Alcoholic


~by Roger Ebert (August 25, 2009)

After viewing CNN’s recent honest and powerful documentary of the late film critic Roger Ebert’s life, we decided it was only fitting to re-post this article from Roger’s blog: “My Name is Roger, and I’m an alcoholic.  READ MORE


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RESOURCES:
> Phone Counseling for Family Members
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

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Addicted Child, How Alcoholism Affects Entire Family

 

 

 

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Our Addicted Child

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Our Addicted Child:
that feeling of powerlessness was horrible.

Our Addicted Child

 

~By Daniel Green (Recovering Addict)

Daniel Green interviews his parents on how they coped, living with an addicted child.

Daniel: So, first thing’s first, what was it like living with a child in active addiction?

Mom: It was horrible. Horrible beyond words. We never knew what to expect. I never knew what to expect and that’s true of the big stuff and the little stuff. When I say the big stuff, I mean thinking you were going to get arrested, overdose, or die. You know what’s so bleak about having a child who’s also an addict?

At the end of your addiction, I wanted you to get arrested. At least then I would know where you were and that you were alive. Having to seriously consider the fact that my child might die was also probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Imagine feeling all that and knowing there’s not much you can do to change it. Of course, I thought there was a lot I could do at the time.

“Coming to terms with my own, and your mother’s, powerlessness was very hard.” ~Daniel’s Dad

Dad: Yeah, your mother pretty much covered it. I’d just add that that feeling of powerlessness was horrible. I thought, man I even knew, there must be something I could do to help you. I tried everything. We paid for therapists, counselors, drug treatment, school, everything. None of it worked. Coming to terms with my own, and your mother’s, powerlessness was very hard.

Daniel: How did you cope?

Mom: I don’t know that we did cope. Well, I don’t know that I coped anyway. From the time you were about fourteen to nineteen, I was pretty much a mess. I lived in fear and anxiety. Once of the outpatient clinics you went to had a parents’ support group. I went there once a week and kept in contact with the other mothers. That was probably the most helpful action I took.

Dad: I’m with your mother on this one. I don’t think I coped too well, if at all. I tried going to the parents’ group, but I found it more depressing than helpful. We all sat around on these folding chairs. I don’t know. It just wasn’t for me. I threw myself that much harder into work [my dad is a doctor]. When I was at the hospital, I wasn’t thinking about you. Well, that’s not 100% true, but it offered me some relief.

Daniel: Where there other resources or techniques you used to deal with me basically being a living, breathing train wreck?

Dad: Well, I didn’t mention prayer. I prayed a lot. That helped, but again, it wasn’t a magical cure. It wasn’t a silver bullet. There probably wasn’t anything that was a silver bullet. I sought counseling from our Rabbi. That only went so far. I think part of having a child struggling with addiction is just gritting your teeth and hoping that things will get better.

“I never gave up hope. I don’t think a parent can.” ~Daniel’s Dad

Mom: The support group was really what helped me the most. Like your father, I did prayer and seek religious help and that was absolutely helpful. It only went so far though. Mainly it was talking with other parents who had been where we were and some whose kids had found recovery.

Daniel: Did you blame yourselves for my addiction?

Mom: I did for a long time. Certainly I did when you were using drugs. I questioned myself a lot. Things along the lines of “what if I had done this?” and “Why am I such a bad mother?” It was hard! I’ve come to learn that I’m not responsible for your addiction or your recovery. That was another big thing for me to learn. There’s not much I could do to make you stop using drugs. I thought doing this or that would work. Ultimately, it was up to you.

Dad: I did blame myself. I thought maybe I wasn’t a good enough father or role model for you. I thought there were things I could have done differently when you were a child. I even blamed my genes. Addiction runs in our family, you know. I never had a problem, but others did. I used to wish I had different genes. That our whole family did. After doing a family workshop at the first residential rehab you went to, I learned I wasn’t to blame. I guess I knew that all along, but it’s one thing to know it and it’s another to feel it.

Daniel: Is there anything you’d like to say to parents struggling with a child in active addiction or alcoholism?

Dad: Don’t give up hope! You went to seven outpatient rehabs, two inpatient ones, and more private therapists than I can count. You seemed hopeless. That’s it. I never gave up hope though. I don’t think a parent can. I think it’s hardwired into us to never give up on our children. Anyway, I kept hoping you’d get it one day. That it [being sober] would click. And it did.

Mom: Yes, don’t give up hope and seek help for yourself. It was so important for me to have support during your addiction. Your father was amazing, but I needed more. He was just as clueless as I was. I needed parents who had been there before, who had come out and were able to smile again.

BIO:
Daniel Green
is a writer and media specialist at Lighthouse Recovery Institute  He’s been sober since 2008 and loves being able to give back to the still struggling addict or alcoholic.

FAMILY PHONE COUNSELING:
> Phone Counseling for Family Members

Gain peace of mind, knowing that you are taking the steps necessary to begin healing and recovery—for your loved-one and your family.

MORE Al-ANON-RELATED ARTICLES:
> Why is Addiction Called A Family Disease?
> Twelve Signs of A Spiritual Awakening in Al-Anon
> The Critical Role of Al-Anon in Family Addiction Recovery
> Are AA, Nar-Anon or Al-Anon twelve-step meetings really important?

RESOURCES:
> Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery
~by Joe Herzanek

Author/Chaplain Joe HerzanekTo arrange a workshop or presentation at your organization with Author/Speaker Joe Herzanek
call: 303.775.6493 or email: Jherzanek@gmail.com

More info about Speaking Engagements with Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek

RETURN:
From
“Our Addicted Child” to Changing Lives Foundation Blog Home

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How Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family

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How Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family

Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015

~By Jail Chaplain Joe Herzanek, Family Addiction Counselor and Author of Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.”

This article is included in the current FREE magazine download:  Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2015  (Page 21).

Alcoholism is devastating to all members of the family. Family members may have watched someone they love turn into a stranger. They ask, “How did this happen? Why didn’t we see it sooner? Are we somehow to blame? How do we make it stop? What if we can’t make it stop? Why won’t this person listen to us? Can’t they see what’s happening to them?” The list is long.

From the shared experiences of Al-Anon members at meetings and in Al-Anon literature, the family learns that alcoholism is not their fault. With that understanding, some of the pressure is lifted. By attending Al-Anon meetings, my clients gain clarity and peace of mind, so that they can take positive action.

“My family phone counseling clients who attend Al-Anon meetings come to understand that they can have peace, regardless of their loved one’s poor choices.”

Al-Anon supplements and reinforces the information I give my clients about alcoholism as a disease. My clients gain encouragement from attending Al-Anon meetings. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

Doing what’s best (which sometimes means doing nothing—but allowing consequences to happen) is often extremely challenging. Al-Anon members help and play a special role because they are like-minded and share common experiences as a result of living with an alcoholic.

My phone counseling clients who attend Al-Anon meetings come to understand that they can have peace, regardless of their loved one’s poor choices. Family members learn that recovery is a process that takes time. But they learn that they are not alone, and that help is available from the Al-Anon program.

FAMILY PHONE COUNSELING:
> Phone Counseling for Family Members

Gain peace of mind, knowing that you are taking the steps necessary to begin healing and recovery—for your loved-one and your family.

MORE Al-ANON-RELATED ARTICLES:
> Why is Addiction Called A Family Disease?
> Twelve Signs of A Spiritual Awakening in Al-Anon
> The Critical Role of Al-Anon in Family Addiction Recovery
> Are AA, Nar-Anon or Al-Anon twelve-step meetings really important?

RESOURCES:
> Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Phone Counseling for Family Members
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

Author/Chaplain Joe HerzanekTo arrange a workshop or presentation at your organization
call: 303.775.6493 or email: Jherzanek@gmail.com

More info about Speaking Engagements with Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek


RETURN:
From “How Alcoholism Affects the Entire Family
to Changing Lives Foundation Blog Home

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Family Alcoholism, Al-Anon, Family Alcoholism, Al-Anon, Family Alcoholism, Al-Anon,

 

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A Year Without

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REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES:

A Year Without

It wasn’t until she gave up something herself that she began to understand her son’s long struggle with addiction.
A Year Without.

~By Sharron K. Cosby, Riverview, Florida
Reprinted with permission: from the January, 2015 Guideposts Magazine.

I thought I could handle it. It had been a few months, and I thought I was strong enough. I walked into the break room, where someone had put out doughnuts for a coworker’s birthday. My mouth watered.

“Sharron, you came!” my coworker said. I hadn’t been going to lunch and breaks with everyone lately. It was easier to stay in my office and avoid temptation. Like that chocolate doughnut.

“I wanted to wish you a happy birthday,” I said. “I can’t stay. I quit eating sugar.”

And not for the reason she—and you—might think. I didn’t give up sweets for Lent. I wasn’t trying to lose weight or prevent diabetes. I was doing this for Josh.

Josh. The middle of my three children. My only son. How can I explain Josh? Our family hadn’t been able to for the past 18 years.

Not since he was 13, when he first used drugs. It started with marijuana. People told my husband, Danny, and me not to worry, that it was normal for a teenager to engage in risk-taking behavior, that it was a phase he’d grow out of.

That might be true for most kids. Josh was different. For him, marijuana opened a door to a whole new world. He moved on to Ecstasy, GHB, LSD.


I didn’t realize how bad things were until one Friday when he was 16, and his school called to say he’d missed four out of five days that week. He’d left the house each morning when I left for work, so I had no clue he’d been getting drunk and stoned instead of going to class.

Danny and I put him in a rehab. Going into treatment for drug and alcohol abuse at only 16! How did our son get to this place? How did we?

I searched and prayed for some explanation for Josh’s behavior. If I knew the root of the problem, I could solve it, right?

Maybe he was self-medicating for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. He’d been on Ritalin since first grade, and statistics show that children with ADHD are more likely to have substance-abuse issues as teens.

Then he discovered marijuana, which calmed his hyperactivity and gave him the munchies—perfect for a big boy who liked to eat.

Maybe Josh got into drugs because he craved approval. He wasn’t a good student, but he could drink and drug better than anyone. He became the goto guy in high school. Need something to get the party started? Call Josh. That was how he got attention from friends.

Maybe his dad and I weren’t around enough to give him the structure and supervision he needed. Danny was out of the country two weeks a month for his job. I worked full-time.

Why didn’t I ask more questions? Josh and his friends were getting high right in our house, and it was so far outside my experience—I grew up in the Bible Belt, and we didn’t even keep alcohol in our home—that I didn’t know what I was seeing. Like the crushed soda cans with holes poked in them; they were being used as dope pipes. How could I have been so naïve?

All these years later, I was no longer naïve. Not after everything Josh had put us through. An LSD overdose. Cocaine-and-downer binges. Opiate dependency. Lies. Manipulation. Denial.

Danny and I tried everything to help Josh. Treatment centers, counseling, support groups, kicking him out of the house, praying till we ran out of words. Nothing worked. Josh would maintain sobriety for a while only to relapse again.

Addiction is a disease of relapse, counselor after counselor told us. I heard it from other parents at Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings: “Relapse is part of recovery.”

I didn’t know if I believed that anymore. Josh was 31 now and no closer to recovery than that first time in rehab. The only thing he was closer to was death.


Josh was in a treatment center in the fall of 2009 when he was rushed to the hospital for gallbladder surgery. Afterward he was put on painkillers and relapsed.

The treatment center kicked him out, and his addiction went into overdrive. He was up to 40 pills a day. He did things he’d never done before to feed his habit, not just borrowing money from me but stealing.

I understood when his wife filed for divorce; she had to protect herself and their son. I understood when his sisters said they’d had enough. They needed to live their own lives, not try to keep Josh from destroying his.

Even I told him, “I will always love you, but I don’t have to like you. Right now, I don’t. And I don’t trust you.”

What I didn’t understand was why Josh couldn’t change. How could he choose to do what he knew was wrong? Was there more I could do to help him?

Just after the New Year, I got an urge: Give up sugar until Josh was clean and sober for 365 days in a row. An idea so weird it had to have come from God. I couldn’t have dreamed it up. But if it was what I needed to do to help my son, I would.

I started my sugar fast on January 13. I didn’t tell Josh. It was just between me and the Lord. On Valentine’s Day, the head of our office gave everyone chocolates. That little box on my desk drove me crazy until I gave it away.

Josh reentered treatment on February 18. I took that to mean God was honoring the commitment I’d made. I wrote Josh every day—a Scripture verse, something to let him know I was thinking about him.

My office turned out to be a minefield. I’d never thought about how often we had parties and sweets until I gave up sugar. No candy, no cookies, no cake, I had to remind myself.

Chocolate DonutOr doughnuts! I added now, turning my back on that chocolate temptation and hurrying out of the break room. I’d thought I was strong enough to be around sweets. Nope. Was this what it was like for Josh, going to a party and trying to stick to soda while everyone else was drinking beer?

I started bringing fresh fruit to work so I could go to celebrations and satisfy my sweet tooth. But the juiciest mangoes in the world couldn’t have saved me the day I went with my older daughter to her wedding-cake tasting.

Vanilla, lemon, chocolate…the scents were intoxicating! “Here’s the chocolate cake with almond buttercream icing,” the cake designer said.

My daughter took a bite. “Mom, try this! Come on, it’s a special occasion.” By now, she knew all about my fast.

“I can’t,” I said. “I made a promise.” But I had to clench my hands to keep from grabbing a fork and digging in. Finally I couldn’t stand it. “I need to know what we’re serving the guests,” I said. “A tiny bite this one time won’t hurt.”

“This one time…” I’d heard Josh use that justification. This slip didn’t hurt me, except my pride. But for an addict, one slip could lead to a full-blown relapse. And if I merely liked sugar and couldn’t resist a piece of cake, how hard must it be for Josh to turn down the substances he was addicted to?

That’s when I got an inkling of what my son went through on a daily basis. In my next letter, I told him about my sugar fast. How I’d broken it in a weak moment with the cake. How it had given me a peek into an addict’s life.

Josh called me from the treatment center. “Mom, you don’t know how much this means to me. Really, it’s unbelievable!”

“But I caved. I feel like a failure.”

“Mom, it’s okay. Addiction is a disease of relapse, remember?” he joked.

I thought God had urged me to give up sugar for my son. It was more for me, to help me understand his struggle. I came away with a deep respect for recovering addicts who every day choose to keep doing the next right thing.

Like my son. On February 18, 2011, Josh and I celebrated his one year of sobriety by sharing a piece of chocolate cake. A sweet victory. And even sweeter will be this February 18, when we celebrate five years.

 

Sharron K. CosbyAbout Author, Sharron K. Cosby
Sharron Cosby is married to Dan, a Certified Addiction Professional, and together they have three adult children and five grandchildren. She works for an international charity by day and writes by night. Her passion is to share God’s message of hope, strength, and encouragement with families living in the shadow of addiction.

Her first published title is Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90. The book is a 90-day devotional for families in recovery or those wanting to be. It is based on Sharron’s journey through 15 years of her son’s drug addiction and her discovery of God’s promise of restoration in Jeremiah 30 and 31.

Praying for your addicted loved one  To purchase: on Amazon

MORE REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES:
> Wife of Alcoholic. An Amazing Story.
> Daniel’s Story. A Mother’s Painful Lessons Learned.
> A Mother Reflects on Her Daughter’s Addiction.
> It gave him the courage to kick his 23-year old daughter out.
> Methamphetamine Hell: Facing the Dragon.

RESOURCES:
> Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Phone Counseling for Family Members
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

Author/Chaplain Joe HerzanekTo arrange a workshop or presentation at your organization
call: 303.775.6493 or email: Jherzanek@gmail.com

More info about Speaking Engagements with Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek

 

RETURN:
From “A Year Without
to Changing Lives Foundation Blog Home

____________________________________________________________________________________
A year without, understanding addiction,  A year without, understanding addiction

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Roger Ebert is an alcoholic

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After viewing CNN’s recent honest and powerful documentary of the late film critic Roger Ebert’s life, we decided it was only fitting to re-post this article from Roger’s blog: “My Name is Roger, and I’m an alcoholic ”
~by Roger Ebert (August 25, 2009)

In August 1979, I took my last drink. It was about four o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, the hot sun streaming through the windows of my little carriage house on Dickens. I put a glass of scotch and soda down on the living room table, went to bed, and pulled the blankets over my head. I couldn’t take it any more.

This is a fabulous post, stop everything and read it. (click here)

 

 

NEED HELP NOW?
Phone Counseling for Families Dealing with Substance Abuse

Author/Chaplain Joe HerzanekTo arrange a workshop or presentation at your organization
call: 303.775.6493 or email: Jherzanek@gmail.com

More info about Speaking Engagements with Author/Chaplain Joe Herzanek

RESOURCES:
> Phone Counseling for Family Members
>
Recommended Books and DVDs for families of substance abusers and addicts
> Low cost, No cost Alcohol and Drug Treatment Directory
> Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Recovery Resources for Friends, Families and Employers

Why Don't They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.
Get the help you need today.
Why Don’t They Just Quit?
What families and friends need to know
about addiction and recovery

____________________________________________
Roger Ebert alcoholic Roger Ebert  alcoholic

 

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