There is Great Hope!
Life never goes exactly as planned.
I will begin by taking you to a moment in my life that I could never have imagined. On Saturday, March 15, 2014, my wife and I were at home watching Saturday Night Live and waiting for our youngest of five children to come home from a night out.
Suddenly, we heard a loud ruckus at the side door as our son stumbled into the house.
He was crying hysterically, trying to tell us something, something really important. But he was blithering and nearly incoherent.
Panicked, we said to him, “Stevie, what happened? What happened? Tell us what happened!!”
Slowly the details emerged.
He told us that he had just lain down on the local railroad track. He was ready to take his own life. At the last moment, he listened to a friend, begging him to save himself. As a train was entering the station, he climbed onto the platform and lived!
Stevie was sixteen at the time.
Our lives would never be the same.
I have never experienced anything so complicated and frightening as my child certain that his survival depended on the very thing that was threatening to kill him, alcohol.
And that is the power and the madness of addiction.
The next two years were a living hell. My marriage and family nearly disintegrated. There was constant confrontation, fights and stress. Every day, every hour, I walked on egg shells in my own home.
We almost lost Stevie four times by the time he was seventeen. I felt defeated as a father. I had zero hope for my son.
I was wrong.
Today, Stevie is twenty-five years old, and he is six years in recovery. He spent nearly four of those years living on a college campus and graduated on time with a degree in Psychology. He currently works in the addiction treatment industry, giving back, and sharing his story to help adolescents and young adults find their way to beautiful new lives. He is happy, he is healthy, he is hilarious, he has a ton of friends and he is a loving brother, son and uncle. He has a beautiful soul. I could not be more-proud!
There are pathways to a spectacular, connected, productive and happy life. There are ways to positively change the dynamics in a household when a family member has active addiction.
Over 22 million people in the US, including many adolescents and young adults, are living amazing lives in recovery. And you, parents and caregivers, are critical to helping recovery happen. My son once said to me: “Dad, the only teenagers that are sober have parents (caregivers) who are very involved in the process.”
In these next eleven short stories, I will share the baseline information, concepts and strategies that I learned that helped me to be a part of the solution for my son.