Doors are meant as a means of access. When a door is opened, access to what lies on the other side can take place. One must open the door to access what lies on the other side of it.

This past Thursday I went through many doors as I waited to finally see my son after 60 days of separation/incarceration due to his relapse into active addiction.

As I left my house I prepared myself before I even opened the door to go. I knew there would be the possibility that he may refuse the next step. Our last conversation was good and he seemed confident in taking the step, but I had no clue what had taken place in his mind since then. I prepared my heart and my mind for the possibility, knowing I would have to stand firm in the event that would happen. Home would NOT be an option. Before I opened the door of my home to head to the court house… My resolve had to be in place.

Opening the door to get into my car meant I was heading to see him. I was choosing to move toward him, to place myself in a vulnerable situation where my heart could be broken. I have promised him that as long as he is moving toward recovery I would move toward him. I will not participate in his active addiction, but I will be there to support him in recovery.

Once at the court house I went through several doors, each moving me closer to the reality of seeing him for the first time in 60 days, each door bringing me closer to the reality of his freedom. I waited inside the courtroom, sitting on the edge of my seat for just even a glimpse of him each time they opened the sliding wall partition that separated the prisoners from the courtroom. Finally they called his name and the sliding portioned opened. There he stood, peering over the shoulder of his attorney scanning the room for my presence. Briefly our eyes connected, but his attention snapped to the judge who asked him to raise his right hand.

Even though I had been told by his attorney how this would play out, there was that moment of doubt as the judge pondered the request. My son standing with ear bent to the whole cut in the glass waiting to hear the judges words, me sitting with my ear inclined toward the judge. Would he go along with the Probation officer and attorney or would this door be closed. My greatest fear was that the judge would not grant the freedom necessary to move through the door that was waiting for my son, and the wall partition would close, leaving my son broken behind that wall. While he was in jail, the necessary doors just wouldn’t open for him to move forward in his recovery and I was half expecting the same.

As the judge finally granted his freedom, the wall partition did close, but I was directed to a new door. One in which my son would walk out a free man, free to pursue the New Door that was waiting for him. As I walked (half ran) down the four (double) flights of stairs I praised God for the New opportunity that lays waiting for my son (if he chose to walk through the door).

I sat on the bench in the hall for what seemed like an eternity, I talked to a friend on the phone to help me pass the time, constantly checking my watch. The attorney said 10 – 15 minutes, it had been 17… finally there coming down the stairs was my son, freshly shaven, trimmed hair with a wide smile. We hugged, tears welled up in my eyes. It was so good to see him, clean, free from the affects of opiates.

As we walked out of the door of the Court house I looked at my freed son and said… Are you ready for the next step…

He looked at me for a few moments and I thought for sure he was going to give me a song and dance with a new concocted plan, but he smiled and said

“can we just get coffee first”.

We drove to the nearest Coffee shop where he woofed down a breakfast sandwich and ice coffee in record time… then we went on our way to the Door that had been opened by the very hand of God.

I did not sense one moment’s hesitation in my son, each step of the process as we walked through the door, were shown around the house and as we went through the interview I sensed a relief in my son…that this door just might be the place where he can begin to put his addiction to rest.

Many doors will open and close in our lives, some doors will be more weighty then others. But in order for any door to make a difference it must be opened, so that we gain access to what lies inside and allow it to change our lives.

An Unexpected Door

After nearly 60 days of being incarcerated; on Thursday my son will be “free”. His words tonight were “I’m scared”. He has never been fond of the unknown. Thursday he will stand on a new step, standing before a door that has literally been opened by the hand of God.

Up until Monday morning we had no clue where he would land after being in jail. We have tried so many doors to see if this would be the one or that… which one would open in time so his feet would barely hit the street. Each time we thought he had found a spot the door would close shut. Unable to be open by human hands. No matter what I did on my end, or he on his, the door just would not budge.

Neither of us knowing that what God has instore was exceedingly and abundantly more than we ever asked for or hoped for. (Eph 3:20) A door opened, and it was a door that neither of us knew existed. A small program, one that believes in mentoring, one built on the foundation of faith in God… its door opened. Not because of anything I did, or my son did. It opened because God himself opened it.

Now my son will walk through it, afraid… but committed to walk through it none the less. Yesterday when the door opened, along with it the flood gate of tears that I have held back for quiet sometime came with it. And those tears lifted praise to the heavens, for it was from those heavens an unknown door was opened…
It is with hope I wait to see what God has in store for my son on the other side of that door and what life lessons we will both gain in the wait.

Tough Love/It’s a Process

There is so much about Recovery that is a Process. At no time can we the parents/loved one or our addict (or our addicts for that matter) claim “We have Arrived”. That we (or they) have come to the place of walking perfectly in our Recovery. Not on this side of Heaven will we ever find perfection.

I was reminded of this last night as the topic of conversation turned to “Tough Love”. It’s time we realized it’s named that for a reason. It’s TOUGH.
Just look at some of the synonyms for the word Tough: rough, hard, harsh, dangerous, hard-hitting, strong, sturdy.

Just looking at that list you would think that “Tough Love” has to be an oxymoron. (a phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect) Tough and Love completely contradict each other. Especially in our nurturing minds (ok hearts), it’s supposed to be soft, tender, caring, giving.

The question was asked “how do I change the way I love? I don’t know how to do it all at once”.

Oh how I wish we could… it would have saved this mother of an addict thousands of dollars, numerous items, precious time and sleep. I wish there was a switch somewhere in my heart that I could just flip and ‘wha-la’ Tough Love is produced.

But the truth is, there is no switch.

There is no easy way to put it into practice. In order to Love tough, we need to stop thinking that love is just a “feeling”. It is so much more than that. Love is an action word, it requires something from us. It will mean that we will have to stop thinking about our feelings or our addict’s feelings and love in such a way that it will bring our addict to the place of seeing Recovery as the only option. That will never happen if we keep supplying all their needs and wants and paying their bills.

When they were toddlers, and were beginning to learn to walk, we walked behind them holding on to their hands.

But the day had to come when we set their back against the sofa and took a number of steps away from them and held our hands out… and waited. At first they would plop down and crawl over to you all smiles and giggles. And we’d pick them back up and place their back against the sofa again… and we’d wait.

Before long they would take that first step and then another and before you knew it they were running up and down the hall. This is one of the simplest of explanations of Tough love. Had we continued to hold their hands… walking alone may have never happened. It took our putting our feelings aside that they would fall and maybe hit their head and put their back against the sofa and wait.

Learning to walk is a process, as is Tough love. We parents who have admitted to enabling have held their hands far too long and letting them stand there with their backs against the sofa (so to speak) and begin the process of walking on their own will take our letting go of our feelings, stepping back and waiting.

When Attitude Is Everything

Since July 5th my son has been in “The Plymouth House of Correction”. He (and I) both thought it would be for a very short period of time. Like 2 or 3 days… waiting for a bed to become available in a 6 month Drug Rehab program to which he has been accepted (preliminary acceptance)

It’s now been 18 days.

For 9 days I did not hear from him at all as he waited thinking it will be any moment… (later he told me he saw no need to call as he thought for sure he would see me soon when he was released so I could transport him to Stepping Stones.) Little did he know that getting him into that program would be much like trying to get an elephant into your living room.

Not completely impossible, it would just take some maneuvering, and possibly some widening of doors.

Trying to maneuver through the “System” here in Massachusetts takes a PhD in patience and a Master’s in understanding.

I hold neither.

But I am finding myself well on the way to earning both. I have found myself speaking with Senators, Representatives, Directors, Probation Officers and ASD Duggard (I understand he’s like a Major in rank at the Plymouth House of Correction). All of which have been hugely helpful, each only being able to do their small part to push the effort forward.

Now for the record… I am NOT doing the work to get my son into a Rehab in place of his doing so. I ended up having to do this because a certain person in the list above dropped the ball he and my son got rolling and it would have left my son sitting in jail for 60 days. I was told by that person in the list above I would have to pick up the ball and run with it myself… I had to check my attitude at the door and put it in gear to get the job done… all the while my son who was sitting in jail was thinking everything was already a done deal.

Since his discovery of the difficulty that was transpiring around his getting to Stepping Stones I have been completely amazed at his positive, and unlikely happy attitude. Knowing him as I do, I was sure things would not be well once he heard about what was happening. I pretty much figured they’d be putting him in Solitary Confinement for an attitude adjustment.

But no…

Each time I hear from him; he asks what I know about the process on my side of the barbed wire fence and he tells me what’s happening on his. We laugh, we encourage each other and each time I hang up the phone and ask myself…”who was that”. Right before my very ears my son is changing (clean now 45 days). I hear something different in him, I hear hope and I hear promise, not promises, but the idea of promise… one of a future without drugs.

As a side note; he told me he read a 362 page book. You could have picked me up off the floor. That boy of mine has never read anything other than a caption under a picture in a motorcycle or car magazine (No lie). Never in my whole life would I think I would say this…

I am perfectly ok with his being in jail. Really.

Stuck Between the Crossroads and Stepping Stones


That’s how I would explain the place my son is at right now. But somehow he is perfectly fine with being stuck. A few weeks ago he was standing at a crossroads. Needing to choose which way he would go. He made a choice, and it was the choice I have been praying he would make; to go into a Long Term Recovery Program.

Since making that choice he has been met with obstacle after obstacle. The door that I believe God has opened for him, man keeps trying to close. (Which has me convinced this is what God wants!) With each difficulty that seemed to stand in his way, I thought for sure it would breakdown his resolve to move forward with his recovery. And I am thrilled to report it hasn’t. Just getting to the place where he chose Long Term Recovery has been a long and arduous road. I will continue to pray that God would give him the strength to hold onto this resolve.

The System that is in place for Recovery options and how one gets there, is frustrating to say the least and takes absolute commitment to navigate down its path. When I Sectioned my son, it was my understanding that the caseworkers within the facility would be working toward getting my son into the next step. That never took place. Here my son is ready to commit to the long haul and no one is there to get the ball rolling.

After many calls and meetings on my part (as my son was unable to get any help on the inside, his probation officer forgot to put some verbiage in his file and left him without the means to gain help) and a bed was secured for him in a program (Stepping Stones) that nearly 2 years ago I had called when first finding my son was addicted to heroin.

Back then I had no clue how this “faulty” system worked, how one gets from active addiction to real help. (this will be the subject for another post). As for now, he sits waiting in Plymouth County House of Correction in Massachusetts, a jail, where he is being held until a bed opens up. Waiting expectantly, gratefully and as he said to me last night… I’m good mom, I’m just looking forward to the next step.

Stuck between the Crossroads and Stepping Stones.

At a Crossroads

Just yesterday I watched a great Video by Kay Arthur on the “Life of David”. Her teaching was on David and Bathsheba and even if you aren’t religious you most likely know the story, Strong Handsome King David is out on his Palace Balcony in the late evening and he sees Bathsheba bathing… he calls one of his attendants to find out who she is, the attendant comes back telling King David “she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite (one of David’s long time loyal men). David chooses to have her brought to him… and the rest is history.

There were a lot of good “Life Lessons” in this video. At several points in the story David was at a crossroads… he had a choice to make. And each time he chose poorly, from adultery to deception to murder in the blink of an eye and in the end because of those choices there was a price to pay.

I share this with you not to give you a bible lesson but to point to the truth of ‘Crossroads’. Our addicts come to them all the time. Choices… Crossroads… For some the choice began the first time they partied and the momentary choice of what they thought was “a bit of fun” turned into a life of addiction. For others there was no choice at all, they followed their Doctors advice and filled the prescription for pain.

No matter what got them to where they are now, at some point they will come to a Crossroads.( A place where a choice is to be made.) When they get there will they be able to make a good choice? Whether they do or not it is their crossroad to come to. As parents we try to get them there quicker by raising their bottom; removing them from our homes, cutting off any financial support ect. We put them right there in the face of a crossroads.

My son has asked me if I think it’s a good idea for him to head to Florida and start a new life, in a trade he loves. To leave with a friend who is 5 ½ years clean and sober. Leaving behind all the triggers that are here, old girlfriends, old friends, a town that every time he goes there it’s bad news. HE is standing at a crossroads…

My advice was simple; I told him what I thought was best, but in the end it is his choice. It is he that stands there at this crossroad trying to determine which way he will go.

I said

I will not tell you what to do here, you and only you can own your Recovery. If you go and you succeed, the sweet victory will be yours to hold onto. If you go and fail, it will be you that has to pick up the pieces and try again.

But know that with every choice there is a price to pay. Hard work for the victory or Hard work after a Relapse.

Crossroads; we all stand at them, our addicts will face them everyday… Will I use today Or will I walk hard in my Recovery?

If I Can’t Fix my addict…

Each of us comes to the place when we realize we can do nothing to fix our addicted loved one. There is no amount of love that we can pour over them or into them that will magically take away the addiction. If there was our loved ones would all be healed from this maddening disease in very short order.

I know I certainly tried and lost precious time, sleep, joy, peace, and belongings. Never mind emptying myself of energy and love. Once the light dawned on my ‘marble –head’ I was able to see why I was so full of despair all the time. When you are giving all you got to another human being who does not have the capability to receive it, because addiction renders them unable to, it will exhaust you, depress you, and has the potential to drain you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It’s bad enough that my addicted love one is bankrupt in each of those areas… I cannot allow myself to be as well.

So that’s the big question here… I’m a parent, a mother; I’m a nurturer by heart.

How do I let go of my NEED to fix?

One of the first things I did was to recognize that my God loves my son more than I do. And I literally “lifted my son up to Him”.

Imagine if you will the moment in the movie “The Lion King”, when Rafiki raised Simba to the sky…

well that’s what I basically had to do with my son. I prayerfully every morning do that. Knowing that God has a plan for my son keeps me sane, and fills me with peace.

The peace is awesome, but what about the energy, the drive I am still filled with to do something about this…

I use that energy to write, to fight and to bring Awareness to my Community about what this disease is doing to our loved ones. By fighting I mean doing what I can to help keep funding for treatment centers, emailing my Senators and Representatives making them aware at all times what this epidemic is doing to the people they represent. In order for them to Vote wisely we need to let them know. Being willing to be a voice in our Communities, having the courage to step out in the light and say:

“Hi my name is Susan and I am the mother of an addict” .

I am willing to be a face and a voice to help remove the stigma, bring awareness, and most importantly to share a way to peace out of the pain and shame. I can’t fix my son, but I just might be able to fix something about addiction.

How am I doing?

I have been asked that question alot lately…

As the parent of an Addict, I too must submit to the need of Recovery in my own life. I cannot get through this alone. Nor can I continue to do things as I have always done them. In my 4 part post on Freedom in Saying No I dealt with a lot of my own enabling. What my part in all of this was and could be again if I’m not careful.

I can certainly look back and see just how far I’ve come. I know that for me a line in concrete has been drawn when it comes to understanding that I CAN NOT fix my son.

That one is firmly instilled in my heart.

Yet it hasn’t removed the desire to do so. I believe as a mom that will be something I will have to keep right in front of me at all times, always keeping that in check. Just like my son I too can relapse. I can go back to relying on feelings instead of fact and loose an immense amount of ground that I have gained.

Yesterday as I was speaking to him, he was telling me his plans for the near future. At this moment he is in a locked down facility for up to 30 days after nearly taking his life. He sang a good song telling me how he just wanted to leave the life of addiction behind him, that when he gets out of there on July 5th he just wants to get an apartment and get a job and move on. ~

Last year had I heard those words I would have been so elated ~ but the truth is he has yet to stay clean for more than 3 months, never mind walking out of every program he’s gotten into or being kicked out. And when life through him a curve ball 3 weeks ago his answer was to nearly kill himself with a very bad mix of drugs. If I was not where I am today in my Recovery I very well may have fallen for his song. And even helped to find him what he wanted.

Instead I told him I cannot support that. That until he had a good year or better of being clean I cannot believe that he can make it on his own. His past inability to deal with life and its hardship without falling headlong into drug use certainly spoke loudly to that. That I support his getting into a long term program and nothing more, when he protested I said when you’re ready for that call me and I hung up.

So… how am I doing?

Today I am walking firmly in my Recovery, taking purposeful steps to stay that way and doing my best to stay one… maybe even two steps ahead of my addict. Today is a good day!

Somehow there’s Peace

After a three week run of using drugs hard, watching my son slip further and further away I seized an opportunity to raise his bottom and force his hand into recovery. Day after day last week I asked him;

“Are you ready to go to the Hospital? I’ll take you

Each request was met with a “no mom I’m fine, I’ll call a Detox tomorrow

Tomorrow wasn’t coming… and if he continued down the path he was on, I’m afraid I’d be writing on a whole different topic today.

Over the weekend my son was arrested for B&E in an abandoned house, looking for a place to crash out with a few of his addict buddies. So Monday morning he needed to head to court to answer for those charges. After numerous calls to me that he just “had to have $50” I told him, ok come down to my office. I had no intention of giving him the money, but if he thought I was going to give it to him I knew he would show up.

He was a bit upset when I told him no money, but I would get him a bite to eat on our way to the court.

Unbeknown to him I had already called the Court house to ask if they did Section 35’s, they did and I was going to

He seemed pleased at first that I was going into Court with him, as he turned to head toward Probation he asked if I was coming in with him.

I said “No, I’m heading for the Clerk’s Office”

He seemed a bit puzzled and asked me “why

I kept walking and said “I’m going to Section you today

I took my seat in the Court room after filling out all the paper work; it wasn’t long before he joined me. Continually whispering to me “mom, really you don’t need to do this, you just need to bail me out today and I promise I’ll go to Detox” he persisted with this and I told him to hush because I wasn’t changing my mind.

I was focused; I could feel strength in the very marrow of my bones that would not let me vacillate to the left or to the right. I could hear the whisper of God in my heart telling me “hold tight to My hand, you are doing the right thing, we’re saving his life”…

I will spare you all the unfolding details, but know that as I stood before that judge and pleaded for my sons life tears ran down my face and the brevity of his addiction spilled from my heart.

The Section 35 was granted,

and a chance at Recovery can take place. As I left that court room I felt a surge of power running through me, a huge weight had been lifted from my soul and I knew I had done the right thing.

Isaiah 41: 10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

He’s Someone’s Son

There are times when the words that come out of your mouth come back to bite you.

And they did.

For months I have been actively working toward Awareness, that addiction can hit any family, at any time, and any child can be caught in this mess. When it’s your son, your daughter you want people to have compassion, to extend grace, to find understanding. Over and over in your heart you hear yourself saying

“if you only understood addiction… if you just knew him before all this hit… you’d know the sweet boy I knew, the one whose laugh lit up your world, the one who loved playing baseball and riding quads, the one who cried when he saw a homeless man on the street… that’s my addict, that’s my son”.

The pain a mother carries in her heart when her son or daughter is rejected and looked upon as a looser because of addiction is at times unbearable and I know it well.

Just two days ago I saw my son with a long time friend, one who he has used with on countless occasions. A young man I know well, and loved like a son. He has supplied my son on several occasions with drugs. As the two walked toward me, he knew to separate from my son and walked away as I spoke to him. As we parted I said

“I can’t believe you’re with that looser”.

By the time I got in the car my stomach was turning… not because he was with him, but because of what just came out of my mouth… he is someone’s son, just like my son is.

His mother is in just as much pain over the road her son has chosen as I am. Tears streamed down my face as I was confronted with my two-faced heart. Oh how I prayed that I would have the opportunity to make amends.

This morning I received a text from that young man… he was seeking to make amends for the hurt he had caused our family.

The tears flowed…

I immediately called him and I was able to tell him I forgive him and ask his forgiveness for my callous words.

He said “Susan I forgive you, and I completely understand, if I had a son I wouldn’t want him with me either”.

He went on to tell me of where he was in his recovery, and I was able to offer words of encouragement and understanding. Oh how I pray they replaced the callous ones.

I must always remember… he’s someone’s son…