Marc and Michele’s son is in prison – 287

Is someone you love facing jail or prison because of their drinking or addiction? How do you live through something like that? Michele and Marc share their experience, strength, and hope. Their son started drinking and using drugs in high school, and it's been quite a ride since then. He is now in prison. They describe their journey and what it's like for them now.

Readings and Links

Marc opened with a reading from the Nar-Anon daily reader, Sharing Experience, Strength, and Hope, July 24.

Michele read from April 18 of that book.

In response to a topic suggestion of “principles before personalities”, I referred to our episode 98 on Tradition 12.

A listener suggested a topic about adult children who are still actively using, and I pointed to the Parents' Roundtable, episode 22.


We have a topic suggestion of quotes, proverbs, and parables. We'd love to hear about the ones that are meaningful to you.  Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Parents of teen alcoholics and addicts – Episode 254

How can you detach from your teen alcoholic? What is your real responsibility when your child is an addict? How can Al-Anon help?

Mary and Ellen talk about their experiences as parents of teenage alcoholics and addicts. They share what they learned, and how they navigated their difficulties, fears, and hopes.

Our discussion was grounded in these questions:

  • When/how did you become aware of your child’s behavior?
  • Were you in Al-Anon at that point?
  • How long did you struggle before you found Al-Anon?
  • When were you able to admit that your child was an alcoholic or addict? What brought you to that understanding?
  • What were some of the program tools and principles you used first?
  • What were the hardest tools to apply?
  • Did you feel that, as a parent, you needed to help or fix your child?
  • What did you do to help/fix?
  • Did you feel responsible for their behavior?
  • What is the one thing you would say to a parent who is new to Al-Anon?


We read from or talked about this Al-Anon literature:

Courage to Change, February 17, “faith takes practice”.

How Al-Anon Works, p. 30, “don't pick up the rope”.

From Survival to Recovery, p. 267-268, the “Al-Anon promises”.

Intimacy in Alcoholic Relationships, a new book from Al-Anon in which members share their challenges with all aspects of intimacy–physical, emotional and spiritual–in all relationships affected by the family illness of alcoholism.

Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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The Sober Parent – Episode 232

Are you the sober parent in an alcoholic family? What challenges have you faced? How has recovery helped you?

  • What challenges do you face as the sober parent?
    • Keeping your children safe
    • Making decisions about how to parent. What happens when you disagree?
    • Taking everything on.
    • Anger, rage and anxiety.
    • “Parenting” your spouse?
    • Jealousy/resentment of the “fun parent.”
    • Attributing all “problems” to alcoholism.
    • Decision-making.
    • Not know what “normal” is.  Or what “healthy” is.
    • Trying to parent together when you don’t feel strong in your marriage… or when its actually breaking/broken.
    • Protecting anonymity while being honest on medical and education paperwork for my children
    • Traveling for work and setting expectations for care of our kids knowing I really have no control over whether or not my wishes/expectations are upheld
    • Not having control. Allowing kids to ride in the car or even just be at home alone with the alcoholic parent.
  • How did you react to these before recovery?
    • Resentment – LOTS
    • Snide, snarky comments to spouse, spitefulness
    • Anger, particularly misdirected anger
    • Guilt and self-loathing
    • Exhaustion
    • Apathy
    • Depression
    • All or nothing attitude/perspective
    • Relentless pursuit of “agreement” or seeing my viewpoint
    • Lack of trust
  • How has recovery changed the way in which you face these challenges?
    • Living one day/one hour/one minute at a time.
    • Setting boundaries
    • Focus on myself… self-care, self-inventory, stay in my hula hoop
    • Crazy thought train doesn’t stay as long
    • Awareness of my anxiety and anger
    • Learning to pause.
    • Not as hard on myself
    • I don’t always feel compelled to make decisions right away
    • I’m learning to let go of outcomes
    • I’m learning the difference between true issues/problems and simply unmet expectations
    • I apply program to my actions on a daily basis (first things first, how important is it, HALT, etc.)
  • What is a typical day like now?
    • More loving behavior with my spouse.
    • More patience
    • Make amends to my kids whenever necessary
    • I hear from my Higher Power through my children
    • More loving and accepting of myself and more compassionate toward my spouse, which creates a more peaceful environment
    • Imperfect – some days i feel like i’m right back where i started, but that doesn’t last as long
  • How do you face the fears and worries that you have for your children?
    • How do my children see me? My spouse?
    • How can I be the parent my children need? The parent they want?
    • How can I not transmit my resentment and anger at my spouse to my children?
    • But: fear of what’s to come in my children’s lives.
  • What tools do I want to give to my children?
    • “Pause”
    • God Box  (kind words, deep breaths)
    • Acceptance of their emotions
    • A parent who is approachable and thoughtfully responds rather than reacts

Upcoming topics include parenting an alcoholic/addict child, and how recovery has changed the way in which you are a parent. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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Interview with Michele – Relapse preview – Episode 58

Michele wrote to us last week suggesting that we talk about relapse. She also offered to share her experience with us. I called her to interview her, and realized that her story was powerful and compelling. So, I changed the plan and this episode is our interview with Michele, talking about her 8 year journey as her son sank into addiction, about her journey into recovery, and about how that helped her to deal with his repeated relapses. When I wrote her to request an interview, her response included this: ” Ironically, my son did relapse–just this past Saturday night, the day after I sent you my e-mail…” Listen and hear how she recognized a real change in her reaction and her response.

Our topic for next week is relapse. Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
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God – a meditation




But now I know this:

I know that God exists.
I held her in my arms.
I never knew I was able to ever feel this strong.

Blue October — The Worry List


I have never felt more connected to God and the universe than when I first held my children in my arms. How is that we can create new life? How is it that these newly created people have their own identity, their own personality from the first moment? The love I have for my children must be something like the love God has for all of us.

As they grew up, I wanted to protect them and guide them, to insulate them from the bumps and pain of living. But, you know, they had their own ideas, their own goals, their own plans. The toddler who said “do it SELF!” became the teen whose ambitions sometimes outstripped her abilities, resulting in emergency room visits. (“Hi, this is Heather. Your daughter is OK, but you need to come and decide if she should go to the ER.”) Explorations of friendship turned into first loves, and eventual break-ups, with middle of the night drama. Late night exploration turned into an encounter with the law. Throughout, even when I was angry, scared, or just shaking my head in disbelief (“you did WHAT!?”), that core love never failed.

And so it is with God. I may or may not follow God's plan, but I know I am always loved, for what I am, for who I am, right now.

A meditation for August 16, 2013

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