Story of son’s recovery to inspire families of addicts

Dear Annie: My son survived heroin addiction 18 years ago. He was quite young and only used the drug for around two years, but they were a terrifying two years. During that time, I helped enroll him in a methadone program, a live-in program (three times) and other programs.

People around me were critical and told me no program would help him until he wanted to get better. I explained that my goal was to keep him alive until he decided he wanted to get better. He eventually decided he was tired of stealing and feeling sick all the time. He admitted that he had thought about suicide but knew that it would ruin my life forever and he didn’t want that. He enrolled in a local live-in program for the third time — his idea, not mine. This program was free of charge to people without health insurance. A wonderful counselor took my son under his wing and took him seriously when my son said he wanted to get better.

Things worked out, and he has not gone back on opiates. He also quit drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. My son thanks me for saving his life. He did all the work, though, and is now a wonderful father of a young boy and partner to his son’s mother. He is the oldest of three children, and everyone in my family is proud of him (his dad is out of the picture).

I know I was lucky. Plenty of parents with addicted children do everything right and their children still die. I hope my letter inspires the parents of addicts to not give up on their children. I know some addicts aren’t going to get better, and l would never criticize family members who gave up on someone after doing all the right things and seeing no results. This letter is meant to encourage people who feel helpless in the face of a family member who is addicted. Thank you. — Blessed Mom

Dear Blessed: Thank you for sharing this moving story. I hope it inspires any struggling parents out there to never lose hope.

Dear Annie: Can you help me get over my irritation with things that I find, well, irritating? Things like people who look up into space while they talk, as if pontificating great wisdom for the masses. I just want to snap my fingers in their faces and say, “Hey! I’m down here!” Or people who talk with their hands, even while driving! I’ve noticed more and more talking heads on TV with this habit. I wish the cameras would only shoot them from the neck up!

And speaking of TV, is there some sort of contest among women as to who can have the longest hair cascading down their right shoulders? And what’s with their high-pitched little girl voices?

I find myself seeing these mannerisms more and more, and becoming more and more irritated with them. I don’t believe I’m an intolerant or judgmental person ordinarily (you can spot one a mile away, after all!), but I guess I am. Help, please. — Intolerant

Dear Intolerant: It’s normal to have pet peeves, but persistent irritation with things of this nature is not. Ultimately, getting yourself so worked up over things you can’t control only hurts you more than it does anything else.

Reflect on what these annoyances might really be about for you. When you notice yourself feeling annoyed, try redirecting your focus to something positive or use humor to lighten your perspective on these human quirks. Make an active effort to show grace for others. Life is far better lived with empathy, understanding and compassion than criticism and judgment.

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“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


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