Abstinence Can Kill

With Carolyn Ridout Stewart
The ropes course at JourneyPure.Credit…Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

Before addiction barged its ugly lying-two-faced head into my family, I didn’t know the difference between methamphetamine and methadone. Sure, being a nurse, when someone was “on meth” I knew it was the former. But as methadone started popping up as an alternative to opioids, I wondered how replacing one drug for another could possibly be better.

This subject sparks as big of a debate as the ‘disease versus choice’ argument for addiction.

Luckily there’s a movement to advocate for people with substance use disorder who are unable to suddenly go cold turkey off of year’s of substance use.

This article, which highlights one treatment center in Tennessee, called JourneyPure, explores all sides of the debate including the premise that medication-assisted treatment is just giving control of the billion-dollar opioid crisis back to pharmaceutical companies.

This was exactly my thoughts when I first started looking into treatment for my son’s substance use disorder.

Did I trust “the industry” that helped perpetuate my sons descent into this darkness? But what is the alternative? Cold Turkey? 

One argument in the article states:

“It’s true that if medications became the main form of addiction treatment, the pharmaceutical industry would benefit — an outrageous outcome, critics of the approach believe, given the industry’s role in creating the opioid epidemic.”

“There’s a small group who will probably need to be on M.A.T. for the rest of their lives,” said Mr. MacMaster, who quit drugs and alcohol 30 years ago, mostly through 12-step programs. “But everybody in this room knows drug-free recovery is really the gold standard.”

Shannon Siedzik came to JourneyPure from New Jersey to be treated for heroin addiction. She said she wasn’t interested in medication because she’d had a previous reaction to buprenorphine.
Shannon Siedzik came to JourneyPure from New Jersey to be treated for heroin addiction. She said she wasn’t interested in medication because she’d had a previous reaction to buprenorphine.Credit…Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

He started that as a state official, he had seen people enter the state’s drug court programs on medication, only to be forced by a judge to go off it and pursue abstinence-based treatment.

Faces and Voices of Recovery shows how to advocate for yourself if this happens

“These people were vulnerable, at high risk of overdosing and relapse,” he said. “We have to keep as many people alive as we can.”

There are many cases of deaths in jail cells due to withdrawal symptoms not being taken seriously.

In Kentucky, a woman Gave birth alone, because jail employees believed “she was distraught due to coming off drugs.”

So who is the judge and jury for those of our society who are struggling with obvious brain disorder which affects their rational thinking? Although autonomy and self direction are paramount to a persons success in recovery; they also need a thorough medical evaluation in order to place them in the best position for success.

” I am a clinician. The brain, sadly, knows what it wants. It too often overrides one’s capacity to set limits or to use mind over matter. Take sugar as an example. The vast majority of Americans are literally addicted to sugar. It’s the rare individual, indeed, who can be fully abstinent from sugar. Individuals with diabetes enjoy sugar free substitutes that allow them to overcome the terrible sense of sugar deprivation. If an infant were to go a lifetime WITHOUT sugar, that individual could live his or her life happily without sugar. Sadly, in the US, sugar is in almost everything we eat. Our brains learn to want, TO “NEED” sugar from an early age. Our government puts corn syrup ( very high sugar content ) in almost all processed foods. Our citizens suffer from a 70% obesity rate from sugar and many are dying because of this sugar by-product. All that being said, individuals often commence opioid use innocently either as youthful experimentation or as a physician-prescribed drug for pain. I have a few patients with opioid use disorders started because of a sports injury in high school.

Opioid use disorders are informed by the brain’s powerful, cruel, unrelenting biochemical mandate: GIVE ME OPIOIDS OR SUFFER!

The vast majority of people cannot fight back against the brain’s totalitarian control. Think of being lost in the desert without water. The brain knows what it wants!

MAT: Medication Assisted Treatment saves lives. Methadone and Suboxone gratify the bullying brain and permit the individual to focus on his or her normal life requirements, family, employment, school etc. Without MAT, the individual is locked in an unending, all-encompassing search for opioids to satisfy the brain.

Abstinence is killing our children.

AA is evolving. My son uses Suboxone and is welcome in some AA meetings.” –Caroline Ridout Stewart, LCSW, harm reduction therapist.

As the argument goes back and forth between the risks of going cold turkey, and replacing the dangerous needle users of un-regulated street drugs with a safer option; one fact remains clear to me:

A judge, parole officer, jail warden or any other person in charge of a person with substance use disorder; should not be the one making medical decisions on someone’s long-term or even short- term recovery.

Every single person’s substance use is different as is every person’s recovery model. Most of them have used substances to self-medicate for years, so yes their opinion may be a bit skewed. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a say in what treatment plan they are most likely to follow, given their own unique circumstances.

For my struggling son, I would give anything if he was off of everything and leading as functional “normal” life as possible. But the reality is, he has been through year’s of trauma in the drug world while abusing his body with risky behaviors. However he is still human and deserves to have a choice on living a healthy life again.

Hope, is what every human relies on and should be given- freely without judgement.

Addiction is NOT a CRIME

Upsplash-Markus Spiske

You heard me correctly. It has taken me a long time to come to this conclusion, so I understand if it sounds completely foreign, especially if you haven’t seen addiction’s anti-linear path up close.

After all, many crimes announced on the news, are followed with the unspoken tone of: ‘Oh and by the way’; “He {also} was found with 5 gms of heroin/meth/ marijuana” or however drugs are weighed/measured.

Let’s not be mistaken; these ARE two separate ‘facts’- albeit, preliminary.

Yes, addiction CAN lead to crimes. No one can deny that. Just as eating recklessly CAN lead to unfortunate costly events such as a heart attack.

“ʏᴇs, ʙᴜᴛ”, ʏᴏᴜ ᴍɪɢʜᴛ ᴘʟᴇᴀᴅ; “ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋs ᴅᴏɴ’ᴛ ʜᴜʀᴛ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ ᴇʟsᴇ”.

As a nurse, I beg to differ. I’ve worked in Emergency Rooms where many ambulances brought in heart attacks thereby using 100’s of resources and costing the industry 320 billion a year.

Personally it can cost a person 750,000 to 1 million.to have your own heart attack!

Besides the resources and monetary costs of heart disease; there’s also the human aspect of taking care of the obese. (Obesity being one of the main causes of heart disease and diabetes.)

As a nurse on skilled care units for many years, I’ve assisted in the hour to hour re-positioning of overweight patients recovering from heart surgeries or diabetes-related hospitalizations. Providing basic needs to an incapacitated person, takes exponentially more effort for heavier and less healthy patients. Yes, that’s what those services are there for, but isn’t that true for the mentally ill & addicted members of society also? Don’t we also have a duty to provide medical (and mental) care to those people regardless of how they arrived in that condition?

Yes, prison provides a roof over their heads and some food, but if this how we treat other diseases that lead to unforeseen events?

Now before I get carried away the behavior of all humans and what consequences their actions of their free will cause; let’s explore Pierre Tristam’s article is the basic premise for this post.

In describing the court calendars and jail dockets full of non- violent crimes, he states that 7 million people in prisons and jail, on probation or parole.

We’re not going to arrest our way out of the crisis.”

He states that treatment works better when cut off from all these legal threats and penalties. Yet drug court remains the crown jewel of the judicial system’s narcotized scales because like the proud dweller in a squalid tenement, with the comparison being: he can always point to the homeless hordes below” as “proof” of how great the drug court program is.

I completely agree, but I must admit I don’t have a lot of hands on experience with it. I can just compare it to a heart attack patient being monitored on every single food he put in his body after his unfortunate event with his health and punished for going into an ice cream shop- per say. This sounds ridiculous but drug court or the alternative - four cement walls just to be absolutely certain you don’t go in.

Early on in this unwelcome thrust into the dark world of addiction; my son started racking up the court charges for possession. I lived and breathed the county court calendar for over a year until I realized that I was caring more than he was. I couldn’t maneuver through his court cases begging him to get there on time, while he was “out there” being homeless and struggling for even the basic necessities.

Of course, in his mind drugs were the only basic necessity.

Nicole Labors describes that obsession in her book Addictoholic Deconstructed.

She states that because of the pleasure centers in the brain:

“The addict can’t derive ANY pleasure from ANYTHING else, so they spend every waking minute of every single day seeking out ways to achieve that pleasure.”

So here we are, 6 months later. My son still hasn’t been sentenced. (That I know of). He has warrants out on him and is running scared; horrified of going to prison, yet still stuck in the ravaged cycle of active deep addiction. He has nothing. The company he spent 10 years building, is all gone. Cars, beautiful home, wife, and 2 precious kids — gone. He lives couch to couch doing what odd jobs he can to scrounge some money here and there. He has so much shame and disappointment in himself that he doesn’t see a way to fix everything, let alone anything.

My boy, the hero and go-to guy of the family, now rejected and dejected, not only from family, but soon to be from society too. He will be isolated to an 8 x 10 jail cell as punishment for feeding his cravings. Cravings that all of us have, but some of us were able to control them better. Cravings that every human being partakes of -just for a moment to feel ok.

Since drug addiction is considered a crime in and of itself (for possession) in this country; a human being whose brain becomes hijacked and is caught with it, can get the most severe isolation: Exiled, like the ancient Roman practice, to four cement walls to “think about his crime and what he should have done differently”.

Am I making excuses for his behavior? No. Do I think he had different choices that could of been made? Yes. But I also know that my son is in deep pain. The son I know and love has the biggest, most generous heart and is mortified at what the last few years have brought to our family.

So just like I would never shame my patient for being overweight and causing herself all her extra health problems; I know that shaming my son into recovery isn’t the solution.

My hope is that our jail systems will soon follow the data and see that punishing and banning non- violent offenders into isolation will only further the revolving door that we now have.

Robin Zabeigalski writes this in The Tempest:

“Alcoholics and addicts are not criminals, they are sick people who need treatment. We shouldn’t be focused on locking them up, we should be focused on changing our healthcare system so they can get the help they need. And we should be working on our own understanding of addiction so we can approach addicts with compassion instead of judgement. Doing this will change the state of addiction in this country and prevent thousands of deaths”.

As Gabor mate states in his Video about addiction and the correctional system:

“In my opinion, the correctional system does very little correcting”.[ for the addicted.]

Even though I’m biased, I tend to agree. I will admit, my bias- ness comes from a place of fear. My son has warned me of the gang mentality in prison. I didn’t believe him until I saw the net flix documentary, Big brother. The scene of the reporter standing by the back of the pick- up truck, talking to the “boy” with his cousins confirmed my sons stories.

But, it hardly matters since I have zero control over the outcome. I never have really. But that doesn’t stop this mom from having hope every day that my strong “beautiful boy” will be back soon.

My article on medium

“When Will She Finally Get It?”

Guest posting with Sean Dustin

In addition to being the mom of a person with substance use disorder, I happen to be a nurse who works in recovery of a different nature.

I work most often with girls in residential treatment of eating disorders.

One day, a worried Mom called and asked, “My daughter has been there a week now, and I’m just having a moment and wondering at what point will she finally ‘get it’?”

I drew a long slow breath in as I tried to think of how to answer this impossible question.

How many times have I tried to answer this very question with my son, but in a slightly different context? As a person in active addiction, he has hit so many rock bottoms that he has nothing to his name, except the clothes on his back.

With every new ‘rock bottom’, I hoped beyond hope that he would finally ‘be ready’ to try recovery again.

He had been there once, over a year ago; from a forced intervention we had arranged. He stayed clean for 73 days, which was amazing considering he had been battling addiction for a few years by then.

Of course many times during that stay, I was just like that mom who called that day wanting hope and reassurance. “Is he finally ‘getting it’?” I would ask during each small victory.

I tried to reassure & give hope to that Mom as best I could, to live each day for what it was, because that’s what her daughter would have to do too. A few days later I came across this post from Sean Dustin, who runs a podcast called Nowhere To Go But Up

There is no set time to when a person is going to get it. Rehabs are great for profitability but not so much for getting people well. They do not usually address the issue which is not drugs. Drugs are a symptom of a couple of things.
Addiction has 3 layers. The bottom layer is the initial trauma that is usually from childhood but not always it could happen later in life.
The 2nd layer is the behavior that is the result of the untreated trauma that usually is followed by unhealthy connections with everything that you touch.
Last is the self-medicating that comes from trying to forget about all the damage that your behavior has caused because you have not resolved or made peace with your trauma/traumas.

So, you must fix it in reverse order. The current models separate the addict from the drugs and then try to address the trauma or underlying issue, but never address behavior or make it a small part of the process.
Behaviors are habits that get formed while drug-seeking, attention-seeking. These are lying, stealing, cheating, manipulation, verbally/physically abusive, narcissistic, etc….

I believe that you must address and remedy the behavior before you can address the trauma” -Sean Dustin

This rings so true with my son’s situation because after quite a few years of being a functioning and even dare I say “successful” addict; his house of cards tumbled fairly quickly.

His slide into heroin from pills was the culprit. Heroin has the distinct ability to make a person feel like they need nothing else except the euphoria that it provides.

Until it doesn’t anymore.

By the time the dose has been increased to achieve the maximum high, the person is just maintaining; living and using day to day just to AVOID being sick.

At that conjecture, my son had lost everything he had built for over 10 years: A huge business, a new custom-built ( by him) house, 12-year marriage, 2 precious kids, and 25+ vehicles.

When he was able to come up for air, I believe he was so completely overwhelmed at the damage he caused, that he sunk deeper and deeper into his tormented darkness.

To a healthy brain, it’s easy to see how to fix it. One step at a time. You go to detox, you get clear-headed so you can pass a drug test. You get your license reinstated. You negotiate with the bill collectors and the courts for damages done while feeding your addiction. You find a supportive recovery community, a knowledgeable addiction specialist. All those steps and more were pushed and prodded along by none other than me- Momma, to help him have hope and get to some semblance of a manageable life again.

But to a shame-filled hijacked brain, even one step looks impossible. Their fear of failing at recovery, as they did in dealing with life in the first place, runs front and center in their thoughts. The more that people from their past, including family and clean friends, hound them; the more they turn toward the people who are just as stuck and sick as they are.

Those people aren’t going to criticize or ask why they aren’t doing this or that. They’re not going to ask why they abandoned their kids because THEY probably did too!

My son resisted my efforts to help him get his life back. Instead, he stayed 4 hrs away and just out of touch enough that I couldn’t count on him to follow through with anything- including court dates.

Just as Brandon Novac stated in His video:

“My rock bottom was so low, that the curb looked like a skyscraper”.

Hundreds of thousands in debt from his businesses, 5 felonies, and every possible bridge burned with family; my son, with his loving heroin friend still whispering sweet NOTHINGS in his ear, chose instead to tell me how he was going to do things “his way”.

Still believing his own BS, the drug seemingly wins this round. My son has lost 120 lbs, has 5 warrants for his arrest, & has isolated even more from his family.

At this point, the “detach with love” advice doesn’t really appeal to me, even in order to save my sanity.

Yes, I do need to be able to function, but my empathic Mom heart can hardly bear going more than a few hours without a huge lump in my throat.

So, I’m back to that Mom who called seeking re-assurance about her daughter.

Instead of saying what i wanted to:

“Your daughter is safe, she’s with professionals, peers in recovery, she’s eating 3 meals and 3 snacks a day, and

sʜᴇ ᴅᴏᴇsɴ’ᴛ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ɴᴇᴇᴅʟᴇ ɪɴ ʜᴇʀ ᴀʀᴍ’!!!

But instead I say: “She’s doing fine. She’s safe & learning more about her illness every day. She will be home soon”.

I wish I could tell myself the same……….


Guest blog by Tina Theroux

It has taken decades and literally tens of thousands of deaths to get people to finally question the “tough love” approach to addiction. I admit that before addiction touched my life I assumed that was the only approach that worked. Probably because a great many addicts in recovery say it saved their lives.

Unfortunately there is no one size fits all in addiction treatment. I think many have found recovery in spite of tough love. Addiction is complex, baffling and insidious. Every time I read a blog or blurb about how tough loved saved the life of an addict I can’t help but feel such sympathy for the thousands of moms who got “the call” after turning their child away. If tough love was the answer we would all know it, the opioid epidemic would not be claiming thousands yearly.

If methadone, suboxone or vivitrol was a the answer we would all know it. I have walked alongside my son for over twenty years now as he has fallen in and out of addiction. I have learned a lot over the years. What I say now is we must continue to talk, the scientists and Doctors must continue to search because we don’t have an answer. Those of us who are trapped in this madness must continue to speak the truth about our loved ones.

The truth that they are ill, they need our compassion and love not judgment and wrath. My heart breaks whenever I read a post from a mom who has little left but anger and bitterness toward her child. Addiction drives people to do things that appall them when they are sober. If they are able to find recovery the memory of their actions often keeps them from moving forward because they have lost any sense of self esteem and family has abandoned them.

How sad is it that in meetings across the country there are addicts who have found recovery but they are alone because their loved ones have had to abandon them out of sheer self preservation. I have no judgment for the families either. My son is once again in recovery (five months). We speak regularly. Yesterday as he was sharing about a new job and his goals for the next year it was more clear than ever to me that he is a warrior. I have watched him battle his whole adult life. I will never abandon him. I will continue to walk alongside with the wisdom I have acquired over the years. When I am able to offer help that propels him forward towards recovery I am there. For days, months and hopefully year’s.

Tina Theroux


That one day, that day you felt warm sweet love bursting out of your heart with such full velocity that you thought it would burst into pieces.

Another day you felt so much pain tightening into every vessel in your heart that you knew it would implode and kill you on the spot.

Then there’s the day you cried so many tears that the thought of joy and happiness was a distant memory never to meet your fractured heart again.

You became numb.

Neutral. Closed off to the possibility of either – or.

Autopilot. Apathetic. Numb.

What’s a heart to do?

Matt Kahn, my favorite (& only) spiritual guru; stated in His Video Loving Fearlessly:

If life is going to bring you something greater than you’ve ever imagined, it would begin with life NOT giving you what you wanted. So if you had something you wanted, and now you find yourself not, the only reason could be that life is making what you wanted disappear, so that something you couldn’t even imagine- could enter…..

How many times has this happened? You thought you would never recover from the pain but then someday, somewhere you look back and think, “Wow I’m sooooo glad I didn’t get what I wanted.”

Life is about balance.

Pain and joy.

Matt teaches extensively about self love. I know it’s the new pop-psychology theme of the year; but he shows exactly how to do it.

With phrases of “Loving What Arises” he teaches how to ask your higher self to help you bridge the gap from who you are and where you want to be.

So if you hate yourself, “love the one who can’t seem to love their selves”.

It sounds impossible, but if you are constantly accepting your every feeling to move you closer to where you want to be in terms of more loving, caring, more proactive, or strong; then it doesn’t seem so far away.

As you move toward self-acceptance, self love follows, then you are less likely to look to others to provide your happiness & worth.

This video is a great start on self-love.

So as this Valentine’s Day comes to a close, may we use the next 365 days to give ourselves the love & acceptance we so desperately search for in others.♥

Brain Changes with Addiction

I first learned about the hijacked brain in a nursing in-service at work in 2017. Nurses were just starting to be able to get help for their risk of becoming addicted. My family was experiencing our first ‘what the F’ moments of something being amiss with my 32-year-old son.

He was flying high (excuse the pun) on the success of his company he had spent years building. However, he was disappearing from job sites more often, leaving foreman’s without direction and supplies, and trying to maneuver his flailing marriage & family life.

He would admit later- on voice recordings- that he had so many irons in the fire, and had promised so many people too much, that he turned more and more to drugs just to function and help deal with his disappointment of his unfulfilled promises.

It was heartbreaking. I remember sitting in that meeting thinking, “wow! I’m glad we are catching this early”.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It seems I should have known more about addiction by then, being a nurse and all; but truth is, I had the same stigmatized view of addicts as a lot of people still do.

I thought it was a certain class, maybe the poorer, uneducated kids from troubled homes. Boy was I about to get the lesson of my life.

As I wrote in my upcoming book, I HAD to find a way to look at addiction from a human perspective.

First, I needed to know the scope of this.

I was shocked to find out the possible numbers of people addicted.

Harvard states: Nearly 23 million Americans—almost one in 10—are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.

Once I dug deep into the actual physiology of Addiction, and the possible causes, it was time to look at chances at recovery.

Different studies quote very low numbers on recovery, some as low as 2%. But recovery is very hard to measure. It’s much easier to  track how many are treated

Here on the government’s website, they show the many areas of treatment and how many facilities are licensed.

The sad thing about addiction- Other than every single thing about addiction is sad- is the fear of the brain not being able to heal.

I’ve heard recovered addicts say that for 2, 6, even 12 months out, they still have problems with memory or energy or even feeling joy. It’s not surprising, considering the massive changes that the high amounts of dopamine cause in the brain.

This is your brain on drugs-no frying pan

There’s so many mechanisms involved that it is a miracle anyone recovers, but millions do, thank heavens.

A person with substance use disorder is NOT a lost cause, as some people find it easier to believe (because then WE don’t have to do anything to combat it right?)

Thanks to recent studies, we now know that the brain’s ability to become hijacked can also heal completely. This Harvard help guide explains the brain changes:

“Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences.”

“Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain”.

Harvard describes it further In THIS article on the hijacked brain.

The surgeon general website has good info on the neural pathways that addiction causes. The repetition of using over and over make it harder to stop the longer someone uses.

The good news is that these pathways can be re-routed. Remapping, it’s called. Here’s a great visual From Alta Mira treatment center

Continue reading Brain Changes with Addiction

Toughless Love

The heart that builds itself up to do the “tough love”,
Fails miserably over & over again…

The heart that swears to never enable again, walks past her son’s picture & breaks down into tears of what he must look like now…..
This Mom who melts into relief at seeing that green dot- of-life online today.

This Mom who becomes resentful at the lack of communication or caring about ANYTHING, Gets a lump in her throat when she sees his name…

In those moments; that some would call weakness; is a mom who loved this child for 8 1/2 months longer than his age…so 35 yrs…

And that’s ok, I don’t mind being called weak… because every day I get on the Mom groups and read of another heartbroken mother who got “The call”.

In those moments, I am filled with gratefulness that I have one more day, one more chance.
I never want my daughter to say to me, “God I just wish he’d pop on & ask for money just one more time”
Because if he’s gone he can’t ask for money… 😰

If he’s gone, we can’t hate him for having this disease,
If he’s gone we can’t get mad at the complete mess of chaos that his illness has brought into our little family & that his unwillingness to get help has caused even greater torment.

If he’s gone, I can’t have hope for a better tomorrow…

That tomorrow might be the day he asks for help…..

So I stay true to the current pain & inconvenience, holding what boundaries I can, & telling him every single day that I believe in him & love him.

My sincere condolences to this who have lost their loved ones 💟

The Dream

“What exactly seems to be the problem????”

I could hear the words echo like a child’s faraway pleading…

“Why, God?? Why can you part an entire sea of water but you can’t seem to fix my “little” problem.”

I spouted the accusations into the air like a thick plume of smog…

I felt the searing pain and confusion deep in my heart.

Why wasn’t I worthy enough for God’s attention?

Why did others have these spiritual experiences, yet my little family is still fractured seemingly beyond repair with what my eldest son’s addiction had caused?

I had prayed. Oh, how I had prayed.
Oh, I’ve always been a believer that there was a power greater than myself who was directing this harrowing game of life. But I had never truly NEEDED there to be one as much as I had the last 2-3 years.

That was about the time I started the wrenching conundrum of wanting more than anything to believe that there is SOMEONE who is listening and can take a look at my problems and put them on the “to be solved list”.

On this particular day, I wasn’t feeling my list was even visible, let alone being checked off.

My son was still deep in addiction, with no signs of wanting help. He had legal warrants for his arrest for many felonies for possession while trying to feed the cravings of his disease. He had abandoned his family; including his kids, lost his million-dollar business & had zero possessions or money to his name.

I had been praying to my God, with some anger and disappointment, that no mountains were being moved on my behalf. I had inquired fervently why I wasn’t good enough to receive all the spiritual blessings that “others” seem to get, with a very quick disclaimer of “not that I’m not appreciative of everything I have sir. “
So I drifted off to sleep with the compromise of “ok then, please just show me, my son, in the future with his kids & a house & a real job again…”
By dang it, I had not been awake the next morning for more than 30 seconds when I realized that my God had done it.

My dream…..

I was in some sort of open mall. I was with his ex-wife and his kids. Suddenly I see my son out of the corner of my eye. He’s strolling down the center like nothing!
I freeze!  It had been a year at least since they had seen each other but more than that, I KNEW she would think that I set her up just for him to see his kids.
I panicked, as she hurried to block her kids from seeing him, but it was too late. I was trying to reassure her that I didn’t know he was here….but it didn’t matter, his beautiful Daughter had seen him. She yelled, “Daddy!”
He took her in his arms.

This moment.
This moment that every child of an addict must feel.
To be abandoned-no-more. To be loved and cared for by the most important people in their life.
To feel validated.
In that moment, the drugs, a disease, work, or whatever else the reason was told for the disappearance from their life, didn’t matter.

Life was complete.

All the dots were connected.
They could now color in the black and white picture of the happy family & turn the page……

I somehow disappeared in typical dream fashion…

Only to reappear in chapter 3 or so. Where I visualized them talking and the kids playing together.


God had done it again…

Now I’m wondering what to ask for tonight….


You WANT so desperately to believe them…

You NEED to believe them….

Your SANITY and PEACE depend on believing them…
Not to mention your ability to get a good night’s sleep….
Just for tonight…

Until you are lying there and the realization Hits you….

You’ve been bamboozled again…
You’ve become addictions 550 million- possibly- billionth second-hand victim of the big lie of the day…or hour…

Your sweet child…
How many lessons on lying & doing what’s right did you try to instill in them?

At our house, we had files of “Family Home Evening” lessons. Lessons on life & integrity & honestly.

None of it seems to matter now…

Lost concepts in the wind…

Years of fixing nutritious meals, bandaging boo-boos, Dr’s visits, and volunteering for the “fluoride treatments” at school.

As the tears fall onto your cool sheets, you feel that familiar sense of dropping into the abyss of darkness.

The feeling of powerless & dread.

As you beg someone, somewhere, anyone, to save your sweet little family.

For the 💯time…

You realize that YOU can’t.

You can’t do this again.

Because tomorrow is a new day.

Tomorrow just MIGHT be THE DAY. The day he calls and says “What was that place you told me to call?

Mom, do you really think I could do this?”

And you have to be ready.

You can’t be tired.

You can’t have swollen eyes and scratched up arms or bitten nails.

You HAVE to be healthy and strong…

You have to be the one with hope…

You HAVE to be able to turn pain into gold…

To take every evil lie that was told to you and turn it back onto its master.

To not be victim #550 billion.

To empower yourself and others to rise above it…

To shine over all the darkness…

Reign Supreme…
Shine like a diamond under all the pressure….. 💥

But just for tonight…

I need sleep.

So I pull myself out of the dark place…

Even if tomorrow doesn’t work out….

I CAN be at peace tonight.

Heaven is a Matter of Perspective

Guest blog by Shadoe Christine

I’ve gone so long pretending
Trying to show everything is okay
I’d rather not worry you
With the weight I carry each day.
Its slowly getting harder
To hold all the emotions back
Piece by piece, fragment by fragment
The illusion is starting to crack
You’ve begun to notice silent tears
You’re starting to realize the pain.
Beginning to see how fragile
I am within this frame.
There’s not a lot of strength left
Not as much fight I have to give.
My body is beginning to break down
And all I want is to live.
Live for every moment in time
That I took for granted before.
Pray and be thankful for my blessings
Try to be humble as I kneel upon the floor.
I am thankful for the many things
God has had me live without.
Because if I he hadn’t done so
How would I know what life and love are truly about?

-Shadoe Christine
“Heaven is a matter of perspective”