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Archive for July, 2010
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When it Comes to Addiction, There are No Simple Answers
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

An excerpt from The Los Angeles Diaries by James Brown:

My beautiful sister, in the beginning alcohol and drugs bring you relief.  They give you courage and confidence and then slowly, over a period of years, they strip it all away and you spend your final years struggling to fill the emptiness that it’s left inside you.  It’s futile, it’s madness, and my drinking and using will one day take me down the same path.  I will fight with my wife as you fought with your husband.  I’ll explode for no reason and phone you late at night, drunk and wired, while my children cry in the background.  These memories hurt, and I have others, many far worse.  They accumulate over the years, and instead of fading with time they only grow more vivid.  The shame and remorse builds.  The load grows heavier as we age, and I understand now how every day you find yourself a little closer to that overpass above the Los Angeles River.  My beautiful sister, we are drunks.  We are addicts, and we behave recklessly without regard for the consequences of our actions.  Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, we destroy the ones we love as surely as we destroy ourselves.

This excerpt is taken from a chapter of my memoir, The Los Angeles Diaries, which is dedicated to the memory of my sister and brother.  Alcoholism runs deep in my family, and it’s spared no one.  As a recovering alcoholic, I eventually had to come to terms with my addiction and attendant insanity.  Simply put, it was either change or die.  I could not continue to live and drink, and, perversely, I could not for the longest time live without drinking.  My brother ended his same struggle with a bullet at the age of 27, an empty fifth of Ten-High on the night stand beside him.  After one last binge, my sister leaped to her death onto the concrete banks of the Los Angeles River.

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Posted by James Brown  /  Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, Family History, Recovery & Relapse  /  Comments: more

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010


The Partnership is excited to welcome new blogger Dr. Libby Cataldi!  She is an educator and mother of two sons.  Dr. Cataldi is the author of Stay Close: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction.

A mother wrote to me: I’m giving up on prayer, I’m afraid.  Recovery was going well, I thought. He was attending meetings, had a new job he likes, nice girlfriend…I was beginning to trust and hope again. In the last week, money was taken from my purse, he relapsed, and violated his probation. Now it’s back to court and maybe prison this time. I can’t do this again.

My Reflection:  Hope is fragile and fear is powerful. I wonder why fear seems to be stronger than hope? I don’t know, but I do know that there are times when I felt like giving up on prayer. Sometimes it’s easier to lose hope and faith than to try to keep feeling them and being crushed. When the addiction rises up again and again, and smacks us, knocking us to the ground, we hurt and don’t know what to do. It is then that we are in danger of giving up hope. But if we lose faith and hope, all is lost. We need to stay close to our children, but our children need to fight their own battles.

Today’s Promise: I am only human and sometimes I feel as though I can’t go on. But I will. I will go on in hope.

“We can’t be armor for our children. We can only be supporting troops.” Irwin Shaw

Posted by Libby Cataldi  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Recovery & Relapse, Taking Care of Yourself  /  Comments: more

Addiction Respects Nothing and No One
Tuesday, July 13th, 2010


I’m not a media hound or someone that has an interest in the lives of celebrities. I don’t know Ms. Lindsay Lohan or her family but when I saw this picture that has been in the news for the last few days, I have been haunted by the expression on Ms. Lohan’s face.

This is the face of every parent’s child that has a problem with drugs or alcohol. This is not the face of a celebrity or movie star. This is not the face of a rich starlet messing up one more time. This is the face of someone’s daughter that has a drug and alcohol problem. I’ve seen that face in my son. I see the fear and the panic of a person being forced into a situation that requires being face-to-face with their problem. But simply being face-to-face with the issue isn’t the answer; addicts live with their addiction every day. The unfortunate reality is that until the addict faces the reality of their addiction nothing changes — they back down and the addiction wins another day.

Quoting a friend, Barbara, who also has a son addicted to prescription drugs, “I’m sure many people watching were disgusted with her and see her as a spoiled celebrity that thinks she is above the law and deserves special treatment.” That may be the opinion of many but the truth is: she is an addict and addiction has no respect for a person’s wealth, status or celebrity. Addiction can strike anyone.

I hear so many people not familiar with addiction make up excuses or summarize it simply as “all she has to do is just quit.” People also make up reasons why a person like her does drugs like, “celebrity lifestyle.” Quoting my friend again, “It doesn’t matter why she started using drugs; once you are hooked, it is too late to change your mind. That’s when your problems build one upon the other and the more problems you have, the more you need your drugs to cope. If you are an opiate addict you need your drug just to keep from puking your guts up every morning…you need it to be “normal”. I’m not excusing Lindsay’s behavior, just trying to shed some light on the fact that she is incapable of living a responsible, honest life at this point.”

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Posted by Ron Grover  /  Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Substance Abuse  /  Comments: more

Overwhelmed: A Painting from My Journey to Recovery
Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

The inspiration for “Overwhelmed” came to me in my second week of treatment.  I was asked to create an autobiographical painting of my life at the time.  I had two weeks sober, I hated life, I didn’t want to be sober, I didn’t want to be loaded.  I was confused, my life was a mess and my future unknown.  I was new in sobriety and although I was grateful, I was questioning whether or not I had the strength to change.  Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind, and I was overwhelmed.


Overwhelmed by Annie Preece

Image is used with permission © Annie Preece.

Posted by Annie Preece  /  Filed under Addiction, Finding Treatment, Recovery & Relapse, Substance Abuse  /  Comments: more


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