Sunday, January 10, 2010

i know i dont write on this much, its hard with so much going on around, yet i am standing still. I have tried opening up and expressing every morsel of feeling in my body and at times it makes me want to use more than anything. this time i am trying something else and its just making a decision to stop and thats the end of discussion. This has been working so far but it is wearing on me because it seems like everyone i care about is still trying the old method. which must work for them, but it makes me uncomfortable. its like them constantly reminding me that i am a piece of shit. i know that is not their intentions but it is hard not to feel this way. My father just informed me he has been offered to do a story about our life in diane sawyer. dont get me wrong that is exciting and could help alot of people, it is just that i will be constantly reminded and labeled as a junkie and could possibly effect all my future relationships and life opportunities. I am not sure i could handle it also it will cause a massive amount of stress for my close relatives who also have clung to the forget method that works for them. i am still struggling with every obstacle that life gives me and this time am fortunate enough to include all the people who actually want me to make an improvement. my group of friends this time have done nothing but support me and i hope one day they know that they saved my life


  1. Alex, I want to respond to this comment but don't want your dad pissed off at me. I have a lot of respect for your dad, I have learned a lot from him and, not having a husband, it helps me to hear the male perspective. BUT with that said, I have changed my views drastically in the last week after almost losing (in fact he could still die) my "adopted son". You can read my blog if you want details.

    I had a long talk with my "real" son today about all this after he saw his best friend lying there on life support after an OD. My son expressed something similar to what you said here:

    "everyone i care about is still trying the old method. which must work for them, but it makes me uncomfortable. its like them constantly reminding me that i am a piece of shit. i know that is not their intentions but it is hard not to feel this way."

    He said that where he's at now he feels like he's respected and understood and cared about and that helps motivate him. He said prior to this "everyone" made him feel like he was a hopeless case and they were waiting for him to fuck up.

    Against the opinions of many I am allowing my son to come home next month when he's out of rehab and live here, for free, and get on his feet. I am going to love him, and encourage him and tell him I believe in him, cause I do. I am not going to be stupid or naive or enable him or be in denial. I am just going to treat him with love and respect. If he used, he goes to jail, but that's not my rule, he's on probabtion. So I plan to provide him a safe and loving home.

    As for Diane Sawyer - wow! She is probably the second most respected person that does interviews in the world (imo) so this is really an opportunity...but I also totally see your side of it. It sounds like they are looking for another "Beatufiul Boy" father/son. Have you read that book or "Tweaked"? If so I'd love your thoughts on it.

    I hope you and your dad agree on whether or not to do this, I don't see how it can be done if you both don't AGREE sincerely.

    I know my son would be all over it cause he'd see it as a chance to be "famous" and I would be all over it too but only cause I am passionate about the message. I would DIE if I had to be on TV, I rather poke my eye with a stick.

    Do what's best for YOU. Don't write here if its making you want to use. Do whatever the heck YOU have to do to stay clean for YOU.

    I believe in you, my son, Josh (your friend) and Anthony. You guys can and will beat this shit.

  2. My son has said the same exact things to me, that I make him feel like he is a piece of shit. That always tore me up inside because I love him so much and of course only want the best for him. Like you said, that is not the intention behind any actions we parents may do and I am glad you recoginze that. All that being said, I am so happy to hear you report that your peer group is supporting you, I think that is important, very important. I also appreciate that you stated NO ONE CAN CONTROL THIS. I need to hear that from someone like you, over and over again. It helps me remember to stay out of my son's way, let him stumble and learn on his own. I know that when I quit smoking (and drugs many years ago), the one thing that kept me going was looking at how many minutes, hours or days I had gone without the substance. I just never wanted to throw away all that "hard time" to start over, so whenever I would have an urge, that is what I always went to (when I actually quit these things for good). You can do it, one minute, hour or day at a time. As far as the interview, I agree it is a powerful message, but only agree to do this if you are ready and it feels o.k. for you, nobody else. Don't do it for anybody else or out of guilt, etc., just for you. Keep up the great work, it isn't easy, but it is so worth it and life will get so much better!!

  3. P.S. Its good to hear that your friends are supporting you, I head someone say the same thing tonight about how his friends made all the difference in his recovery. You're a lucky man to have those kind of friends and a family who loves you.

  4. Alex - I agree with Barbara and Renee!

    I was wondering if you could go into more detail about what your family says or does that makes you feel badly. My son has said his step-father and some other family members make him feel "like a piece of shit" and I'm trying to understand it. Thanks for any advise you can give.

  5. wow Alex.

    there are many issues here. educational, emotional, family dynamics, personal, and more

    in my opinion ONLY....(remember, this is the B***ch talking here.)

    your family, in future, will respond to you as you set the stage for them to.

    by that, I mean, if you act childish and petulant, they will treat you as such.

    if you man up, admit you fucked up (we ALL fuck up, even the most proper grandmother has skeletons) and simply start living your life in a responsible and human manner, then the whole thing will sort of come together.

    if you only do half of it, then only half of it will come together.

    by that I mean, like my daughter. She is still on methadone and allegedly not using anymore.

    however, she still lives a junkie lifestyle. she chaos's, she dramatizes, she whines, she makes excuses, she lies at worst and fails to tell the truth at best. she doesn't manage her money at all, she doesn't plan for the future, she is defensive all the time...and...

    so everyone in the family is still responding to her like she is a junkie, and yes, looking at her as though she is a piece of shit. because that is how she acts.

    now. honestly? after over 10 years, it would be hard to respond any other way.

    BUT, and this is REALLY important. Our family, like yours (very much) was extremely close and helped each other out. At the beginning, it could have turned out much differently.

    You haven't been using for over 10 years. you have consciously made a hard choice and are sticking to it like glue. And, it is NOT easy for you. But, not impossible either.

    If you have faith in yourself (and you HAVE to or you wouldn't have made it this isn't just your family's faith in you, my daughter had that as well, but she didn't have faith in herself)...get normal friends, do normal things and lead a normal life, you will be viewed as normal by society.

    society judges. that is a fact. if we see someone staggering around, nodding off and falling down we are gonna think junkie. if we see someone who can't find/hold a job, pay his bills, raise a family, etc...we are gonna think loser.

    none of us like living under societies rules, but we all had to learn that if we don't, life just sucks badly.

    having your life on national tv? could be dicey. but if you have turned around....are proud of what you have accomplished, are a strong man who took control of his life instead of letting life control him, then i think it could be a positive thing for many many people.

    like i said, just my opinion. in any case, i think you are doing much better than most and are probably one of the only 13% that actually get and stay clean. for THAT, you have beat the odds :::big smile:::

  6. I can't imagine how therapeutic a blog that your parents read can really be. If it were me, I would feel like even my thoughts are being held accountable to their expectations.

    Sometimes when you don't know what expectations to have of yourself, people in the world, that you admire, are a good place to look. Ultimately, as you get to know yourself (clean) again, you need to have your own expectations and priorities, and you need to free yourself from the guilt of having priorities and expectations that are YOURS.

    You have made mistakes, but you need to allow yourself forgiveness, even if it doesn't feel like everyone else is. It is YOUR life.

    People will be quick to take responsibility for anything good you are. Parents will easily tell others, "Look at my son, he has accomplished..., I am sure it is because I did...!"

    When you make bad choices you don't overhear your parents saying, "Wow look at what a good junkie he is! His lying and stealing are on point! He must get that from me!"

    It can leave you feeling like you are responsible for everything bad you have ever done, but anything good, surely must have come from their innate ability to parent.

    Parents have expectations and hopes mostly to see you happy and succeed, but usually it is expectations that living like THEY live will make you happy.

    Just like you are redefining your life clean, they are going to have to redefine your relationship with them. It will be a process of learning and healing for you all, but do not hold yourself accountable for everyone else's feelings. Just as your parents cannot enable you because it allows you to remain comfortable in addiction, you cannot do the emotional work of healing for them, because it makes you uncomfortable in recovery.

  7. You need to remain in a supportive peer group that helps you to work through the pain and issues that addiction covered up, or the things that are lacking in your life that addiction replaces. You need to replace addiction with your own expectations of yourself, defined by you, and hold yourself accountable.

    As far as the show, if you are confident and comfortable in where you are and are doing it because YOU think it would be positive, then go for it. Don't risk your emotional stability to make your Dad happy or to try and save the world. Right now you need to work on Alex, one day at a time. There will be plenty of time to save the world when you are stable in your own recovery.

  8. Very exciting about the tv show. Any info about what the "angle" of the story would be?

    If I were in your shoes, it would be more satisfying to have the story go beyond just the human interest/awareness aspect of "this is what it is like to be addicted/have an addicted son" and ask for something to change.

    What that is for you, I don't know.

    For me I would like to see more money going toward treatment and less money going toward incarceration.

    I would like to see more done about drug overdose (narcan available to drug users and their families as happens in NY state and some other places), and drug related transmission of HIV and Hep C (federally support syringe exchange, and federal funding for Hepatitis C prevention and treatment on par with and integrated into HIV prevention and treatment).

    I would like to see federal funding for buprenorphine clinics because their aren't enough private doctors prescribing to meet the need, and the private doctor's offices aren't providing much beyond the prescription (and we all know that lots people need more than just the medication to succeed).

    I'd like to see treatment providers held accountable for the harm they cause when they discharge people from treatment for minor rule breaking without an adequate discharge plan.

    I'd like to see jails/prisons required to provide adequate medical care including for drug detox. I'd like to see them provide effective drug treatment while a person is incarcerated. And I'd like to see the incarcerated person released with an effective discharge plan in place that includes treatment continuation and practical supports in finding housing, job etc.

    I know from past experience with the media that it is difficult to control the message. You may say all kinds of great things and that never makes it into the show.

    I suggest getting some clarity from the show what exactly you can expect the finished product to look like. This might help you avoid being exploited or help you decide to tolerate some exploitation for the sake of actually getting a message out that might change things for people who are addicted and their families.

    Enough with the "awareness" and the "human interest" already media! Let's see some stories that move the national conversation forward!

    tom at

  9. I'm trying to start an online social support network for people who are living with and seeking to overcome opiate dependence --and their families and friends.

    You can find it at

    Please come and join and help me get this going!

    Thanks, Tom at