La Vogalonga, Venice, Italy

My son wrote this about his first rehab center (he was nineteen years old): I was shocked that there were no feelings that were uniquely mine. I still owned the details, but there was a community of other people across all ages that used drugs as I did and faced issues similar to mine. On some level, everyone was dealing with the same types of broken relationships, legal issues, and personal shame. I remember being comforted by the commonalities.

My reflection: Addictions have many things in common and this is one reason why Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon work. Within the group, we see ourselves and hear our pain expressed by others. We learn that we’re not alone. My son found comfort in this, and so did I.

Today’s Promise to consider: In our trauma, we find solace with others. In our stories, we learn. Today, I will acknowledge the addiction and allow myself to get help from others. I must give myself the gift of learning from other’s pain. Even though I resisted attending Al-Anon and family group meetings for several years, they became my lifeline. They didn’t fix the addiction, but they helped me to fix myself. I learned that I was not alone.


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Nancy Schmitz
Nancy Schmitz
4 years ago

I just finished your book, Stay Close. It changed my life as a Mom of an addict son. I’ve been in Al Anon 10 years and my son in his addiction 14 years with 8 rehabs. I felt we almost had the same son. The only difference is I only have one child and he is a combat veteran. Otherwise, his addiction has brought me to my knees. My husband is not much help and can isolate well. This past month was the hardest month, when we said NO and followed through with the NO for good. No more money even after the horrific stories he can tell. I’ve chosen not to take his calls to protect myself. He can still call our landline or Dad, with his emergencies. I’m grateful to your son for letting you write this book and his comments. I guess I was finally ready to read it and I share this with my friends how it has changed me.

4 years ago

My son just relapsed after 2+yrs being sober. How does that happen and all the lies hes told us even while sober. Its just to much!!!!