Prologue

Have I made mistakes? Yes. I have. Many.

Challenging does not begin to describe the fear, hopelessness and anxiety that I felt while my sixteen-year-old son suffered from active addiction. In these twelve short stories, I will share the best of what I learned about addiction that helped me handle extreme parenting difficulties and ultimately allowed me to be a part of the recovery solution for my son.

Have I made mistakes? Yes. I have. Many.

The truth is, as you no doubt already know, being a good parent or caregiver is very hard, for any child. But, being the parent of a child with a substance use disorder is a totally different ballgame.

In my view, no parent, initially, is prepared to handle a child with an addiction. No one.

It’s too damn hard.

So, I don’t have regrets about how I handled my son’s disease. But looking back, there are lots of things that I wish I knew before and during my son’s battle.

I wish I knew that he actually had a serious addiction at sixteen-years-old.

I wish I knew to heavily rely on addiction professionals for help. I thought I could handle it on my own but I could not.

I wish that I knew how impactful the support and wisdom of other affected parents would be.

I wish I knew how critical it was to be on the same page with my wife when dealing with my son.

I wish I knew that this disease would take over my son’s brain and that his bad behaviors, particularly the hurtful ones, were not his fault but were symptoms of the disease.

I wish I knew that despite his nasty words, my son loved and respected me.

I wish I knew how difficult my son’s addiction would be for my marriage and on our other children.

I wish that I knew that there was hope, a lot of hope, and that recovery was likely to happen for my son.

I wish I knew that my son could live an amazing life, drug and alcohol free.

I have been lucky. Things have worked out well, so far. I wish I knew a lot more when this all began. I hope that these addiction recovery stories will help you in your journey to become a part of the solution for your child.