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Tom Catton introduces you to the revolutionary belief that for some individuals a life fraught with sickening addiction can quite possibly become a misunderstood gift and a blessing in disguise.

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The Partnership is excited to introduce our new blogger, Tom Catton. Tom has been in long-term recovery since October 20, 1971 is the author of

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We’ve all done it. Seldom, if ever does it work. We make deals; we are willing to sell our soul, our dignity and our future to an addict in an effort to stop the madness.

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When you are a small child growing up in a home plagued with addiction you get a very distorted picture of what it means to forgive. We do whatever is necessary to survive the emotional rollercoaster we are on, while resentment builds inside of us. When we are old enough to understand the addiction we just want to forget everything that ever happened. It would be great if I could wave a magic wand and erase all those terrible memories. But I have had to live with them.

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In the first week of his sophomore year, he was caught ditching class, 4 days out of 8 in World History, and it’s then that my wife and I finally put it together. We confronted him as soon as he came home that day.

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What kind of training has the staff had regarding adolescent addiction?
When my son was in a sober high school, the principal was a kind and knowledgeable educator, but he did not have a background in adolescent addiction and was easily manipulated into thinking the kids would voluntarily admit if they or fellow students were using. That didn’t happen. Like teenagers everywhere, not to mention teenage addicts, the kids lied about their own use and covered up for their friends. Staff needs to be educated and trained in adolescent addiction.

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Then we snap out of our dream and see our child addicted to a drug and wonder if the future is even possible. We mourn the loss of our dream. We experience suffering for our child because in our life and wisdom we know the hardship of life even without being saddled with addiction. We cry, become depressed and grieve this fading picture. Never really giving up the hope that all of the past will go away and we all get a “do over”.

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Addiction affects many individuals and families. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. And it begins with sharing our stories, better public education and a broader sense of acceptance of addiction as a treatable disease (similar to diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

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Certain parenting books help us feel less alone and provide hope that our child’s drug use can get better. They provide a treasure chest of advice, information and comfort through the ups and downs of raising a teen with a substance abuse problem.

If you’re a parent of a child struggling with drugs or alcohol, here are 11 noteworthy books that might help you take care of yourself during this difficult time.

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It starts with letting go of the idea of having a “normal” life. Truthfully, it’s a far cry from the storybook life we all fantasized about once upon a time. Being a parent of an addict is about being more than you ever dreamed you could be. And most days it feel like you’re at war.

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