And We All Fall Down

“I believe that when a loved one hits bottom they take the entire family with them.”

I’ve spoken with many families who have a loved one that is struggling with a substance use disorder.  I’m amazed by the countless number of families that are looking for advice about what to do, what to say, even how to bring up the subject when they suspect their child is using drugs. Many families have gotten suggestions and recommendations from friends, organizations, websites, books, pastors and peer groups.  Some families have even created their own approaches by, “taking a little of this and adding a little of that.”

Whatever they decide to do, whatever direction they decide to take, I always remind them that addiction is a family disease and your choices and your decisions will impact every single family member in some way.

I believe that when a loved one hits bottom they take the entire family with them.  I know.  When my twin brother hit bottom, I spiritually, mentally and… in a manner of speaking…physically went there with him.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat.  I felt his pain, anguish, rejection and shame… and I no longer had the strength or ability to help him fight for his life. I had hit my bottom too.

So the advice I give is to chose an approach that includes love and kindness.  Yes, you can love your child, your spouse, your partner into sobriety.  Yes, you can love your loved one through recovery. Reward them when they do something right.  Acknowledge their achievements. Remind them that you love them unconditionally.  It means more than you can imagine, because at times they don’t even love themselves.

The more I learn about this horrific disease the more I admire and respect my twin brother. He is my hero, my inspiration and I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing twin.

Spending quality time together as a family can help your loved ones who are struggling with a substance use disorder.

Who Is My Neighbor? It’s Not Always Clear.

“For too many families, addiction brings shame and judgment.”


Miss Jenkins who lived across the hall was definitely my neighbor.  Michael who lived downstairs was a good friend and a wonderful neighbor.  And Mrs. Jones who had superpowers and could keep her eyes on all us kids from her living room window was everybody’s neighbor.  Neighbors live near us, next door, on the block, on the corner or down the street. We trust our neighbor, build strong bonds and as the Good Book says we… love our neighbor.

However, when you’re a family with a loved one with a drug addiction, sometimes having a loving neighbor can be too close for comfort.   For too many families, addiction brings shame and judgment.  This leads to isolation and a sense of feeling alone.  So what’s changed?  Have our neighbors changed? Are these drugs so powerful that through osmosis they’ve gotten into our neighbors’ bloodstreams preventing them from loving us, trusting us or caring for us?

In my quest to find the answer to, “Who Is My Neighbor When A Loved One Has A Drug Addiction?” I found answers and comfort in this well known Biblical parable, The Good Samaritan.
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