Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, And New Visitors,
I have a wonderful ‘Guest Share’ for you all today, but first I have to share that I’m a bit sad for my next door neighbor. He just turned 45, and he fell off the “Drug” wagon. He had just gotten 97 days clean, and it only took for both his son’s to come by with drugs on them, and he relapsed. Not lapsed, he has relapsed, meaning he has done drugs since Thursday. He had worked so hard to get past the part in early recovery to start ‘feeling’ his emotions again. I know how hard it is in those early days of recovery, as the urges and triggers just seem to never end. But each day clean, sober, and away from the bet, makes those feelings start to get less and less.
The problem is, many will relapse within the first 90 days of leaving treatment. We forget to start using those New Life Skills and Tools that we learned in treatment right away. We don’t get that ‘First Step’, of total surrender done right away as our start of Step Work. It’s why we need to have a ‘Relapse Prevention plan’ ready to go when we leave treatment.
And a GOOD PHONE LIST to call someone when those triggers and urges hit us. And they will hit you, and test you! So all I can do for my neighbor is try to talk a little recovery sense to him when he is outside. But, I know ultimately it it’s him who needs to choose recovery. I can talk to him until I’m blue in the face. If he isn’t ready, then he isn’t ready, but I do worry for him.
And it’s why I also want to share a very good friend of mine, ‘Sandy Swenson’ and her blog. Her son is also a drug addict, and I truly learn a lot from her life trials of a mother coping with a son who is an addict. I’m so very inspired by Sandy, her courage and strength to go on living knowing her son is out there addicted. Again, we can not make or force someone we care and love for “CHOOSE RECOVERY”. The addicted person has to do that for themselves to reclaim their life back!
The Place Where Love And Addiction Meet • Mother of two sons, one of whom is an addict • Author • Open book ~ “Find Joy On Your Journey”
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.” -Maya Angelou
There’s only so much parents can do to shape their children’s lives. Sandra Swenson learned that the hard way, when one of her two sons followed the straight and narrow—while the other spiraled into addiction.
Sandy Swenson is the mother of two sons—one of whom is an alcoholic and drug addict. The Joey Song chronicles her journey through the place where love and addiction meet.
A vagabond since college, Sandy found community service opportunities wherever she moved. Between unpacking boxes, hanging curtains, and figuring out where her kids would attend school, Sandy volunteered as a first grade teacher in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia; co-founded a volunteer group dedicated to providing life-altering medical care to orphans in India; and photographed cleft surgery patients for Operation Smile in Dharamsala.
Sandy loves to garden, read and travel, and enjoys every moment spent with her son Rick, a recent graduate from American University in Washington, D.C. Sandy now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Here is more about Sandy’s Book and Mission.
The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story Of Her Son’s Addiction ‘written by Sandy Swenson’
Sandy lives where love and addiction meet—a place where help enables and hope hurts. When addiction steals her son, Sandy fights for his survival, trying to stay on the right side of an invisible line between helping him to live and helping him to die. By age 20, Joey overdoses, attempts suicide, quits college, survives a near-fatal car accident, does time behind bars, and is kicked out of rehab more than once. Increasingly manipulative, delusional, and hateful, the sweet Joey from childhood is lost to the addict wearing his face.
Working with an interventionist, a judge, and tracking Joey’s movements online, Sandy does what she can to save Joey from himself until it hurts more to hang on than it hurts to let go. Through Family Programs, Al-Anon, reading, and learning from her mistakes, Sandy discovers that sometimes love means doing nothing, and that Letting Go is not the same thing as giving up. She also learns that she needs to work on surviving her son’s addiction while coming to terms with the fact that he may not.
Years pass. Friends and family no longer ask about Joey; they no longer know what to say. Joey is not in recovery, but Sandy works on hers, trying to keep the poison that is consuming Joey from destroying the rest of her family and her life. She starts a program to teach young men living in a group home how to budget, grocery shop, and cook, hoping that someone will someday help her own son in some way that she cannot. As in the song she sang to him so many times, Sandy keeps Joey down in her heart to stay. There is a place in her life that is exactly his size. One she hopes he will someday want to fill.
*Now what do I enjoy most about Sandy’s blog? Is her heart felt, insightful, and complete honesty of her blog posts. Here is one that ‘touched’ me so just the other day.*
☼ Before My Son Was An Addict, He Was A Child (Not A Monster): Addiction Can Happen To Anyone
Before my son was an addict, he was a child.
But he could have been anyone’s child. He could have been (or might yet be) yours.
Until the troubles started, I never thought my child would become an addict. It never crossed my mind.Until one day it did.
Before my son was an addict, he liked to put stuffed animals on my pillow at night. He liked to fish and camp, was an Eagle Scout, wanted to be a marine biologist, and was awarded scholarships from several colleges. He also sometimes lied and said things that were mean and sulked and was crabby; in other words, Joey was perfectly normal.
There’s a widely held belief that addicts are bad people, but the truth is, addiction is not an issue for moral judgment. Addiction begins where dalliance becomes disease. It can happen to anyone who has taken a sip or puff or snort (which our culture entices every young person to do), or even a pill prescribed for pain. Even though my son has done some bad things while being an addict, my son is not a bad person. When addiction scooped up my child, it did so indiscriminately; Joey, at his core, is one of the least bad people I know.
Before my son was an addict, I used to judge the dusty addict on the corner very harshly. But now I know that being an addict isn’t something anyone would choose (not to be confused with someone who is using; there is great distinction between the two). Now I know that the addict on the corner has been my sweet child (and could someday be yours). I wish I hadn’t waited for the worst to happen before I opened my eyes and heart. Before I looked beneath the addict’s dust to the person he was meant to be. To the person my child could just as easily have become — and did.
Before my son was an addict, he was a child. Not a monster.
Addiction can happen to anyone…
See also: My Son’s Addiction Is A Tragic Disease, Not A Disgrace and Please Don’t Enable The Addict To Harm My Son
I want to say, “Thank You” to Sandy for letting me share her with all of you today. I’m certain if there are parents who come to visit my blog, and they are going through the same experience as Sandy, you will find some peace and understanding and support when you visit Sandy’s blog. As I always do say, go by and visit her blog, and let her know you found her by way of *Catherine Lyon’s Recovery Blog* ~ Thanks everyone!
Much Happiness & Blessings All,
Author Of “Addicted To Dimes”