Do you want to hear a personal story of forgiveness, surrender, tenacity and amends?

Following yesterday’s blog on trauma stewardship, I will share my experience with someone very close to me and their struggle with addiction. I will not share publicly who this person is out of fear. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma when it comes to addiction. When this person was slowly coming to terms that there was a problem, he reached out to those at work and explained he was struggling with stress and mental health issues. Immediately there was empathy and support. Shortly thereafter, as often happens, the person identified that the mental health issues were directly linked to addiction: binge drinking. Treatment was sought out and openly shared with those at work. Immediately there was a cold wall of judgement and limited communication. Hence, although this person is courageous and open in explaining his disease, for which I am exceptionally proud, I am concerned that he will be unfairly judged.

I share this not for any response, pity, and absolutely not for anyone to make my drama their drama. I ask that you possibly ponder the story and suggestions. My hope is that this story will make a difference by preventing another person fall victim to addiction and help a family rethink parenting and communication strategies so that the disease of addiction does not hold and choke a life…. COVID a life. Yes, addiction is like COVID, it doesn’t care, it’s a disease that manifests in the brain and once it takes hold like COVID it very difficult to battle.

This person has battled the disease of addiction for approximately 16 years. When he took his first drink around 15, he says he knew something was different. He was the fellow who couldn’t stop drinking. Oh sure, there were times that he could have just a couple of drinks but often it became a black out episode. These black out episodes continued with more frequency and often the blame was directed towards a lack of work life balance and working in a crazy service orientated business with exceptionally long hours and demanding workloads. These cycles of drinking did not help his highly sensitive and empathetic personality. He was using alcohol to self-medicate given his stress. He did stop drinking all together for over a year, then starting back to the same binging spikes. Finally, it was the last black out that scared him to surrender and obtain help.

My role in all of this was to support, question, suggest, encourage and forgive. Did I enable? Did I make excuses or was I delusional suggesting that his work was the cause? It’s a constant guilt factor that I wrestle with, yet, I know there were circumstances at times that had I not been there to offer support, he might not be here. I differed to compassion and love.

This young man is one of my heroes. It has been a long journey for this very loving and sensitive fellow. Throughout his crazy ‘ride’ he consistently was more honest with me than not. He has had the courage to admit that he is helpless to alcohol. He has learned to forgive himself, which I believe was more important than hearing I forgave him. He has approached his recovery with such tenacity that he attends 12 step meetings several times a week, assumes leadership at a variety of meetings, attends meetings when traveling, spoke eloquently as a guest speaker and supports others when they express the need for encouragement and support when battling the disease of addiction. His statement now is that his sobriety is his most important commitment. He is constantly working a living amends for past transgressions. He is constantly taking inventory of his daily character defects and tries to make amends on a daily basis. He is living a growth mindset … a rebirth. I couldn’t be prouder of his strength of character to battle this disease.

I Believe In You

So, during this journey what have I learned? What would I suggest a parent of young children?

  • Look at your family history. Honestly acknowledge who might had had addiction issues in your family (this is any type of ism…shopping, alcohol, drugs, food, any type of extreme behavior that has become a compulsion). Could there be a predisposition to addictive behavior?
  • If you have ever done 23 and me get the raw data to be sent to you, which you can share with a naturopath to find out more interpretations of your genetic composition. You might find out that you have an addiction gene – dopamine imbalances which need to be kept in check as this young man has found out.
  • If you question whether alcoholism is a disease watch Dr. Kevin McCauley’s video. I watched this video and it was exceptionally informative.
  • For young children watch their sugar levels. Sugar is a highly addictive substance and plays with dopamine levels. Limit sugar intake for your children.
  • If you have preteens and teenagers, go beyond showing your child an egg in a frying pan and saying this is your brain on drugs. In other words, instead of putting the fear in your child that drugs will kill you, inform your child on the effects of alcohol. Discuss what it is like when you start drinking, the process of how it impairs judgement and at what rate. It is not normal to go black out. What does black out or throwing up mean – alcohol poisoning. If your teen thinks they can’t stop drinking, identify it early and tell them this is dangerous – it could mean a lifelong problem. Let them know if they are predisposed to having an allergy to alcohol (alcoholism in the family). Alcohol is a substance and a gateway drug. Why? It impairs judgement and a person will be more likely to try other substances once impaired. Above all, remember that the earlier your child (before 16) is drinking the higher likelihood that they will develop an alcohol problem. Take a look at at Michael Bradley’s ‘Yes Your Teenager is Crazy’.
  • Watch Michelle Titian’s video on her story and addiction

Dazzle’s Challenge:

Do you want to hear a personal story of forgiveness, surrender, tenacity and amends?

Following yesterday’s blog on trauma stewardship, I will share my experience with someone very close to me and their struggle with addiction. I will not share publicly who this person is out of fear. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma when it comes to addiction. When this person was slowly coming to terms that there was a problem, he reached out to those at work and explained he was struggling with stress and mental health issues. Immediately there was empathy and support. Shortly thereafter, as often happens, the person identified that the mental health issues were directly linked to addiction: binge drinking. Treatment was sought out and openly shared with those at work. Immediately there was a cold wall of judgement and limited communication. Hence, although this person is courageous and open in explaining his disease, for which I am exceptionally proud, I am concerned that he will be unfairly judged.

I share this not for any response, pity, and absolutely not for anyone to make my drama their drama. I ask that you possibly ponder the story and suggestions. My hope is that this story will make a difference by preventing another person fall victim to addiction and help a family rethink parenting and communication strategies so that the disease of addiction does not hold and choke a life…. COVID a life. Yes, addiction is like COVID, it doesn’t care, it’s a disease that manifests in the brain and once it takes hold like COVID it very difficult to battle.

This person has battled the disease of addiction for approximately 16 years. When he took his first drink around 15, he says he knew something was different. He was the fellow who couldn’t stop drinking. Oh sure, there were times that he could have just a couple of drinks but often it became a black out episode. These black out episodes continued with more frequency and often the blame was directed towards a lack of work life balance and working in a crazy service orientated business with exceptionally long hours and demanding workloads. These cycles of drinking did not help his highly sensitive and empathetic personality. He was using alcohol to self-medicate given his stress. He did stop drinking all together for over a year, then starting back to the same binging spikes. Finally, it was the last black out that scared him to surrender and obtain help.

My role in all of this was to support, question, suggest, encourage and forgive. Did I enable? Did I make excuses or was I delusional suggesting that his work was the cause? It’s a constant guilt factor that I wrestle with, yet, I know there were circumstances at times that had I not been there to offer support, he might not be here. I differed to compassion and love.

This young man is one of my heroes. It has been a long journey for this very loving and sensitive fellow. Throughout his crazy ‘ride’ he consistently was more honest with me than not. He has had the courage to admit that he is helpless to alcohol. He has learned to forgive himself, which I believe was more important than hearing I forgave him. He has approached his recovery with such tenacity that he attends 12 step meetings several times a week, assumes leadership at a variety of meetings, attends meetings when traveling, spoke eloquently as a guest speaker and supports others when they express the need for encouragement and support when battling the disease of addiction. His statement now is that his sobriety is his most important commitment. He is constantly working a living amends for past transgressions. He is constantly taking inventory of his daily character defects and tries to make amends on a daily basis. He is living a growth mindset … a rebirth. I couldn’t be prouder of his strength of character to battle this disease.

I Believe In You

So, during this journey what have I learned? What would I suggest a parent of young children?

  • Look at your family history. Honestly acknowledge who might had had addiction issues in your family (this is any type of ism…shopping, alcohol, drugs, food, any type of extreme behavior that has become a compulsion). Could there be a predisposition to addictive behavior?
  • If you have ever done 23 and me get the raw data to be sent to you, which you can share with a naturopath to find out more interpretations of your genetic composition. You might find out that you have an addiction gene – dopamine imbalances which need to be kept in check as this young man has found out.
  • If you question whether alcoholism is a disease watch Dr. Kevin McCauley’s video. I watched this video and it was exceptionally informative.
  • For young children watch their sugar levels. Sugar is a highly addictive substance and plays with dopamine levels. Limit sugar intake for your children.
  • If you have preteens and teenagers, go beyond showing your child an egg in a frying pan and saying this is your brain on drugs. In other words, instead of putting the fear in your child that drugs will kill you, inform your child on the effects of alcohol. Discuss what it is like when you start drinking, the process of how it impairs judgement and at what rate. It is not normal to go black out. What does black out or throwing up mean – alcohol poisoning. If your teen thinks they can’t stop drinking, identify it early and tell them this is dangerous – it could mean a lifelong problem. Let them know if they are predisposed to having an allergy to alcohol (alcoholism in the family). Alcohol is a substance and a gateway drug. Why? It impairs judgement and a person will be more likely to try other substances once impaired. Above all, remember that the earlier your child (before 16) is drinking the higher likelihood that they will develop an alcohol problem. Take a look at at Michael Bradley’s ‘Yes Your Teenager is Crazy’.
  • Watch Michelle Titian’s video on her story and addiction

Dazzle’s Challenge: