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Acceptance is a baseline for clear mindedness in the wake of discovering a family member suffering from drug addiction.

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As for adults, after you read this, I hope you’ll never ignore our emotions, or think we don’t feel things as deeply as grownups because we’re not acting the way you think an upset or depressed person should. Don’t confuse ‘young’ with ‘clueless.’

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A mother wrote to me: Things are better at the moment, but we have ups and downs. I am working on the “loving with detachment” issue. I spend hours each day trying to look at where I went wrong as a parent or what I should have done differently.

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This excerpt is taken from a chapter of my memoir, The Los Angeles Diaries, which is dedicated to the memory of my sister and brother…My beautiful sister, in the beginning alcohol and drugs bring you relief. They give you courage and confidence and then slowly, over a period of years, they strip it all away and you spend your final years struggling to fill the emptiness that it’s left inside you…

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I am only human and sometimes I feel as though I can’t go on. But I will. I will go on in hope.

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Instead of using Ms. Lohan as just another gossip rag celebrity, let’s remember she needs help just as thousands of other addicts do. Addiction knows no boundaries.

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The inspiration for “Overwhelmed” came to me in my second week of treatment. I was asked to create an autobiographical painting of my life at the time. I had two weeks sober, I hated life, I didn’t want to be sober, I didn’t want to be loaded.

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What if, in addition to having a substance abuse problem, your son or daughter also has a mental illness such as bipolar disorder? Your child’s behavior is erratic, temper explosive, judgment impaired. It’s hard to know which roller coaster you’re riding. Is it drugs or manic depression?

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When a teen becomes an addict, that person you once knew and planned a future for has effectively checked out. What you experience is an addict who will play you better than you can play them. After a period of time, your teen’s brain becomes progressively “hard-wired” to his or her drug of choice, to use a colloquial term.

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One day I just became so weary and felt alone. I decided to go to an Al-Anon meeting at the suggestion of my counselor. I didn’t like the first meeting, but did go back later and something clicked. I now attend meetings when my schedule allows — usually once a week, along with counseling. These sources of support helped me let go of my expectations of my son and realize he has a disease. You wouldn’t ask someone with cancer to just stop having it.

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