Dear 2018

Dear 2018,

I hope this letter find you well, and in good spirits. It is but only 2 days until you make your grand arrival, and I would like to take this opportunity to acquaint you with some history of my life and my family. See, I have nothing but high hopes for this coming year. Actually, that is a lie. I’m afraid it is going to suck bird turd and I am about one incident away from complete and total psycho. Think, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I would be the Cuckoo.

2012 was rough. I was laced with depression and volatility but we managed through it. 2013 things got progressively worse. The year 2013 was as much fun as sucking eyeballs through a garden hose. But then, just when I got the taste of dirty eyeballs out of my mouth, 2014 showed up. This year had more ups and downs then a bipolar support group. It felt like I was riding a roller coaster that no one was manning and I had no safety buckle. Just when I was sick of hanging on, and I contemplated letting go, bamo, 2015. Now, 2015 started off very rough, but then it got better, actually. We had about six months in the middle of the year that were, I’m almost afraid to say it, nice. AC and I got married, we had a family trip, things seemed calmer, and normal. Of course, in my world that could never last. 2015 ended with me using the guts of my enemies to garland my Christmas tree. Ok-fine, not really but in my head it happened.

That brings me to 2016. 2016 was tough. There were times that I was afraid to get out of bed. Afraid? No. Resistant. Defiant. I am so grateful that I have all the kids, and AC, and most importantly the only reason I live, Diego, to get me through it. If it wasn’t the crazy, unhealthy and at times frightening love for my kitty, Oh-and my husband and children, I think I would jumped head first off the roof of my house. The other reason I didn’t do that is because things were going so effed up in my life I was afraid I would live but with one eye, three fingers on one hand, and no toes on one foot. Or, something equally as embarrassing and not at all deadly hence fulfilling my fear that I wouldn’t even be able to kill myself right. In the end, we made it through the year. We forged forward, and rang in 2017 with a bang.

I had such high, high hopes for this year. Buying a new house, all the kids were home, everyone had their own room, and AC and I had a room that was befitting to fabulous, magnificent and wonderful parents like ourselves. My high hopes were squashed. Not like a bug squashed. Think the guy that walked across those high story buildings in New York on a tight rope, but image he slipped plummeting like 200 stories to the ground type of squashed. SQUASHED. While every year has redeemable moments, and 2017 did too, I will not have another year like this one. I cannot. My family cannot. And, I have to say 2017 is trying my patients, and my will, and my faith right to the very end. Now, I’m hoping that 2017 knows something I don’t, like 2018 is going to be better and it’s the fight between good and evil. I am hoping that the evil 2017 is just holding on to the last bits of control it has because the last few days have been nutso to the 8th power. Think Stephen Kings movie Room 1408 (if you haven’t seen it, do. The book was better but the movie stars John Cusack- I mean, c’mon-John? Too cute for words!).  As the time ticks by, and it’s almost over I begin to fear something worse is coming.

This is where 2018 comes in. Listen, I am changing shit up a bit here. We are having a big News Year Eve party which means I will be actually awake (if I am not passed out drunk) at midnight. We are going to throw our Good-bye Eggs right after Midnight in an effort to get rid of the unwanted and unseemly devises of 2017 and …. Actually there is no and. That’s it so far. But, I am going to think positively. Now, that is not easy for me, and it is not something that comes naturally but I have been working on. AC and I have a packed for a New Year’s Resolution that involves being healthier, thinking positively, and making more time for ourselves so I have the tools in place I just need a little help from the stars. So, if you could help a girl have a banner year after 4 suck-ass, horrible, no-frills, dirty toilet water sprayed in your face kind of years, I would be forever grateful. One year. That’s all I’m asking. I’m not dishing out my five year plan, or begging for a life of leisure eating bon bons and watching The Following over and over (Um, James Purefoy? I can’t handle it. How can I love a character that plays a vicious serial killer… oh wait that actually is me totally!)? I am just asking for boredom. The lack of excitement. Simple-ness, and ease. Just nothing. Just living life. Doing dishes, going to work, hanging out with friends. Nothing remarkable at all. Just over look any dramatics or histrionics for this family. I am ok with no major changes or any kind but if there is some rule that there has to be SOMETHING then change for the positive is essential because one more year like this and I am pretty sure I will go right off the deep end. People will forget about Manson and only talk about Melanie! (Two serial killer references in one post, hmmm… Freud would love that.)

Thank you in advance,





Hello- it has come to my attention that in previous posts I have eluded to or insinuated that JoDee was terrified of someone.  I want to clarify that when I said I wanted to pull a U turn to go to Everett to pick JoDee up because she was terrified, she was not terrified of a person but of treatment. She was terrified of going through withdrawals, and surrendering, and allowing herself to face the possibility of a normal life.

Many people do not understand the depth of anxiety that accompanies addiction. The life someone knows, even if it is a disgusting life, is hard to change. Everyone is scared of change, but someone in active addiction is scared of many things, including themselves.  As a parent, it is uncomfortable, and depressing to hear that a child is terrified, especially when you know that they are really terrified of a good life. I should not have to explain that, or myself, to anyone but I believe there is a misunderstanding that needs clearing up.


This blog is about the parent of an addict. It is not about my daughter, or anyone she associates with. It is about my feelings, and how I manage, and the ways I cope with living with an adult child addict. I don’t presume to understand how outsiders feel and I don’t presume to understand how siblings of an addict feel, or significant others, husbands or children feel because that isn’t my story. My story is about my child. I was asked to write this blog by an organization that thought it would help others in a similar situation, and it has. I have made many, many good friends as a result because sadly we all have addiction in common. This blog is in no way intended to bash, harm, discredit or otherwise disparage anyone.  I have very strong opinions about certain people whose path she has crossed during active addiction and those people know who they are and I hardly doubt they read this blog. Don’t assume it is about you unless the shoe fits…. then I guess you should lace that bitch up and wear it.


To Whom It May Concern:

Hello. How are you? I hope this letter finds you  well. All things considered, this year has been awful. I am not the only one who has found that 2017 has really sucked ass. Now, I know that sounds harsh, and judgmental but there must be a way to make this better.  I am not sure who to reach out too, but I was wondering how to change our karma, or clean our spirit, or otherwise chase off the black cloud.  Can you help a girl out with that?

Just to recap this year, which I might point out has only been 31 days , I have listed them below:

  1. The sale of our house was delayed, and delayed, and prolonged, and completely fucked. This ended with us having to move the previous owner out, and keeping half the crap to dispose of ourselves. Fan-effing-tastic.
  2. The first few weeks in the house, we painted, and organized while we waited to have our rugs and floors put in. At some point, someone knocked the thermostat off the wall, and no one noticed so our new house, that I hate, and can’t stand, was absolutely freezing. Because we have too much going on, it took us like ten days before we figured out how to turn the heat up.
  3. The state of our union is looking bleak since no one can agree and the hate being slung around is vicious and soul-sucking. One of my few luxuries at the moment is flipping through Facebook to see how the rest of the normal world lives and that has been ruined by politics. Thanks for that .
  4. I have spent more than I care to think about, or tell AC about with retail therapy. Sadly, and really unfortunately for my wallet, I could buy anything I want from the convenience of my phone. Apply Pay has ruined me financially; however, the new house that I hate has been decorated handsomely. Also, I had no idea I could buy LED candles for the new candle holders for my mantel that have a remote control! That is simultaneously horrifying at the sheer laziness and exciting that I can turn them on without leaving my couch.
  5. My daughter overdosed on drugs, had a stroke, and was left on the street like a piece of garbage without a care in the world. As a result she has lost feeling in her right leg and foot, and suffered short term memory loss. I sat in Mass General Hospital for a week reminding her multiple times a day where the nurse call button is, and why she ordered a grill cheese for the fifth time in a row. I watched her legs swell up with edema, and her oxygen level dip because of water retention. I did this all while trying to suppress my anger at her addiction, at the dickhead that helped her get to that point and to the future which will probably involve long-term short term memory loss.
  6. While trying to leave the hospital to sleep in my own bed after several days on the sleeper chair that had the potential to catapult me onto the floor every time I moved, I had an incident in the parking garage. The incident begins with not remembering where I parked my car since I was there for so long. Then I realized I was on the wrong floor so I took the stairs to the lower floor. I don’t know if it was from sleep deprivation or frustration or an MS thing but I slipped on the stairs, grabbing the railing to steady myself and pulled muscles in my neck, shoulder and back. That was fun. Good times all around.

So basically what I am saying is cut the fucking shit out. We need a break. If the entire year is going to go like this, I have to say, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. I have begun carrying the bat in my car again, just in case. And my witty, charming sarcasm has become a little more edgy then is absolutely necessary. Anything you can do to help turn this around would be great.


Also, I am willing to compromise. You can continue to make my life suck at your will, if you leave my kids alone.



Dear State House

Dear Madam/Sir (I am so freaking sick of Sir coming first. For God sakes it is 2016. Can’t Madam come first for once?)

I would like to come forward to address the epipen vs Narcan controversy. Actually, I don’t want to address it because it is a ridiculous and unrealistic debate. I would like to address the absurdly inappropriate silent stance our state has taken. I see on social media sites that our government officials push their political propaganda to propose the latest popular regulation or law in an effort to collect more votes. I often see the traditional picture of my senator giving candy to a baby or participating in the Veterans parade, though not actually fighting for Veterans rights which are a letter for another day. What I don’t see, and is absolutely needed, is someone with authority and knowledge to put the fire out between the new mommies with the peanut allergies and the suffering mommies with the drug addict kids. This is not an either or debate. And the government, our state of Massachusetts, knows that, and is watching people compare apples and oranges silently. Shame on you.

The facts are that Narcan is only available now because it is funded by Department of Public Health. Massachusetts is one of the only states I know of that does that. In many states it is illegal to be in possession of Narcan. The kits cost about $75 and are now funded because many families, and addicts, and medical professionals fought for the right for those in need to have it available at the ready. Many, many addicts died before it was funded. It took many years for that to happen. It took funding efforts, and proof that addicts were more than the sum of the horrendous things that they do while using. Once again, because Big Pharma has jacked up the price of something that has nothing to do with addicts at all, addicts are reduced to nothing, worthy of nothing, and are the product of nothing. This is not accurate. Addicts are people. They were people before they were addicts. Sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers, spouses, partners, neighbors, who had lives and contributed to the world as we all do. They all have the potential to continue to contribute to the world but they need that opportunity. Narcan is giving them an opportunity in a moment, at a time, in the situation when they have no faith in themselves.

In no way does that have anything at all to do with someone having access to an Epipen. Parents, patients with allergies, medical personnel who feel strongly should get out there to fight for their rights exactly the same way the addiction family had to for theirs. It is criminal to inflate the price of a medication that any person needs for life saving issues. No matter the reason; Whether it is chemo for a lung cancer patient who still smokes, for a Narcan to an addict, insulin pumps for diabetics that won’t change their diet or people with allergies who have no control over their allergy at all.  Parents up in arms about epipen being outrageously high in cost have a right to be outraged. But they do not have a right to compare it to Narcan. They have a right to put their fight (and their mouth is)  up with those that control such things: the state, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies. Leave addicts and their families alone. And passive aggressive meme’s on Facebook are childish, also they show nothing but keyboard courage so grow up. I will say it since clearly, our government won’t.

Stop watching people pitting each other’s kids illnesses against each other like a good Jerry Springer show. Do the responsible thing as the leaders of our state and lead. Your silence is cowardly and unjust. And it makes you look like a donkey’s ass.


A mother sick and tired of watching the news and seeing people die while politicians use the opiod epidemic as a platform to get votes while not actually doing anything to help a specific person. Also, I’m tired of seeing articles in the newspaper that follow addicts, exposing their dirty secrets, and their awful times, so the world knows what they are going through but never finishes with an Oprah-like ending by helping them get an apartment, or an education, or into a good rehab but simply says how bad that sucks and fairly-well while walking away. A mother, who works hard, prays hard, chases demons from her children, and forgets what a regular life looks life while the politicians that run my state vacation on the Vineyards. A mother who wants people to wake up and smell the shit, not the coffee, because shit stinks and it isn’t going away on its own. A mother is who going to start voting for herself because I think I could do a better job at this point.







An Open Letter To Anyone That Does Not Have a Child Addict

Thank you. Thank you for your support and for loving our child and for trying to be helpful. I want to thank all of those that have offered support and kind words knowing that my daughter could be dead any day, at any time. It is with the utmost respect and gratitude that I say please shut the hell up. Please. On behalf of all parents dealing with addicted children, I say to you, stop. Stop offering advice to things of which you know nothing. Stop pretending that distance gives you insight on a situation that you cannot possibly understand. Stop convincing yourself that you know what needs to be done better than I know what needs to be done because the reality is you don’t know jack about shit.

I know this may come off as sharp and snide. It is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings or take away from your desire to help, because believe me; I know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But as a parent of an addict I want to let you know what the real story is. The truth that no one seems to understand, or is willing to see. Blindness is really only blocking out what you refuse to see in front of you. So that no one can claim ignorance any longer, this is the facts.

The fact is that a parent that held a child in their arms, and happily cherished midnight feedings because it allowed you to soak in and absorb the beauty of your infant can fully grasp the agony of addiction. Only a parent that has poured blood, sweat and tears to make a child made it to every gymnastic practice, ballet class, doctors appointment and worked to put braces on her teeth can understand the agony of watching the same child kill themselves slowly. The absolute horror of the disregard that child has for a life you, the parent, have enjoyed, treasured and loved is immeasurable.  When the denial wears off and the reality of the life you have been thrown into, like or not, becomes clear it is a bleak moment. It isn’t sad or makes a parent mad. It’s terrifying and makes a parent livid that drugs can alter their entire perception of life, their life. Their precious, beautiful life. For what? For us to have to watch them die, every day, every relapse losing another piece of themselves?

On top of that, if that weren’t enough, we have the well-meaning bystanders who offer all sorts of advice based off of Intervention, Drugs, Inc and Dr. Phil. These armchair quarterbacks believe that they have the knowledge and right to tell me, or you, to kick them out, let them stay, cut them off, give them money, help them or don’t. This is said with love and caring, not with malice. But if you are such a person, please know this. You are not helping. You are not making anyone feel better but yourself. You may feel good that you helped out, even in a little way, but you have only succeeded in making us, the parents, the casualties of addiction, feel worse. Your advice is like saying you don’t think we are doing it well enough, or right. You are sending us the message that we have done something wrong, and you, the all-knowing, are better able to make hard decisions for us. You are delusional. Because every single piece of advice you have given us, we have tried. When you go behind our back and give the addict money, or shelter, when we are trying to take a stand to make it harder for them to stay high, we know you are doing that. It might help you sleep better to think that you have helped in some way, and congratulations on that. But what you are really doing is helping the addict die. And congratulations for that, too.

If a parent of an addict says that the addict needs to be on their own, it’s because we have exhausted all other efforts. Anything given to the addict at that point is only helping them stay high or get high. The addict is conniving and cunning and manipulative. They know how to play you, something we already learned the hard way. We have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt. So stop. Stop and ask yourself, why wouldn’t the parent be doing what you are doing? The answer is probably that they already did. No person can “fix” an addict except the addict. The only hero in the story is the addict. They can get help, and participate in life. They can get their shit together and live for a better tomorrow. They are using you for anything and everything they can. I’m sorry about that. It’s a terrible feeling once you realize that’s what has happened.

So, while I know you love the addict, and you want to help, and be part of the success that brings the addict back into the real world, the only way you can do that is by doing nothing. Instead of offering the parent advice that is useless, offer to listen to them vent, or buy them coffee or offer to pull weeds in their garden on the days that the depression is so bad they can’t get out of bed. Don’t remind them how badly they suck as a parent. Unless you want them to stop talking to you because they realize how much you suck as a friend. Be a friend. Not a suck bag. When you are a suck bag, and you don’t even know it, we pull back and isolate. We find it emotionally exhausting to listen to you tell us all the things we should be doing and have us tell you why we can’t or that we already did.  This exercise only serves as a reminder of how sick our child is, which makes us more depressed, and want to punch you in the face repeatedly. Then we feel bad because we know you love us and are trying to help which makes us more depressed and want to punch ourselves in the face repeatedly. Do you see the pattern? When a person watches The Walking Dead thinking that life would be so much easier if the dead tried to eat the living, there is something wrong.

Please, from all of us suffering through addiction via our children, please, just pick a damn weed, and remember the silence is the essence of eloquence.

Thank You,

A Mother of an Addict trying desperately not to throat punch the world with a pickaxe


****This is a general letter to the public. No one person is the intended recipient. However, should you wonder if I am @ you, then most likely you have done some of the things above. No worries, I still love you. Suck bag.*************


The Advice Letter


I think I’m pretty steeled at this point of life. Not much surprises me. Actually, very little tends to shock me. But something happened recently that made take pause.  In my email a few days ago I had this (I changed pertinent info so not to identify the writer of the letter and I re-named her Blacked Out, because I blacked out her name!):

Hi Melanie

My name is Blacked Out. I have a child that is a heroin addict. I know that because I found my child with a needle in their arm passed out on their bed several years ago. It’s been a rough few years since then.  I follow your blog religiously because your life is parallel to mine. Thank you for putting your family out in the open for people like me that can’t do it but need to know they aren’t alone.


At this point in the letter, I was thinking that I was glad this person reached out. I have gotten several emails like this in the recent past and have made some good friends out of it.  I am always humbled when I hear that someone get’s comfort from something I write. As I continued to read, it took a whole different turn.


Their addiction is not why I am writing to you today. I need advice. I recently started dating a man. I did not tell him about my child’s addiction problems because I didn’t want to put it out there unless I wanted to see him longer.  I am pretty sure I  do. We went out on a dinner date to a nice place and there was a person panhandling on the street outside the restaurant. He made a terrible comment about drug addicts. Something I don’t want to repeat but made me want to throw up. I know a lot of people make comments like that when they don’t have an addict in their life. What do you think? Should I try to explain it to him to give him the benefit of being a decent person? I haven’t dated in a long time. I want to have a social life. I don’t want to let my child’s addiction run off someone else. As you know addiction can be isolating even for us. Please be honest.


Thank you,

Blacked Out.

Yup. That happened. I did not see that coming. I am not an advice columnist. No one wants my advice on life matters. No one wants my advice on love matters. Hello- how many times have I been married???? Trust me when I say, no one wants my advice, which is what my original response was. After going back and forth about it for a while, she said that I sound like someone who says what needs to be said and not what someone wants to hear (Is that true? Do I do that? No. Can’t be.)  So this was my response:

Listen- I know how isolating addiction is. I know that I used to have a social calendar filled with friends and dinners and lunches and places to go and gardening and now I have a social calendar filled with Bates Motel, Grey’s Anatomy and Breaking Bad. My big outing on the weekend is to the grocery store that I prepare for by deciding what we will eat all week and making lists of meals for dinner and lunch, snacks and weekend cooking. Then I do all the lists of things to buy and do, and errands to run. I make lists of lists I need to make.  All that being said, and the fact that I am coupled up notwithstanding, I would say, absolutely kick that bastard to the curb immediately. Your kids addiction is not going to run him off, you should! Ignorance is ignorant. Rarely can someone ignorant be educated in a way that makes them enlighten especially when we are talking about a comment worthy of vomit.  That is not the odd comment made at the wrong time or with wrong delivery. That’s just dick-ish. Typically dating is when a couple is in a honeymoon phase. Most people are on their best behavior and any unruly character flaws take some time to come out, i.e. dick-ish behavior. I can only imagine what is brewing beneath this guy’s surface if on a date in its early stages of the dating life (I am assuming that because you haven’t said how long you have been dating other than recently) he was so blatant about his attitude toward addicts. That means the behavior was natural to him. What other ignorant behavior is natural to him? It’s not about picking on an addict. It’s about picking on anyone. A normal decent person doesn’t talk smack about someone down on their luck in the street unless they know the person receiving the info pretty well. It’s true that AC and I might have a character assassination  while out at a ball game when we see a clueless, young girl trying to impress her date by dressing in a scantily clad outfit when it’s 45 degrees in the outfield but we know each other. And we know that we are not bias or prejudice or assholes. We know not to judge each other because of what we say because there is history. If I was walking down the street with my husband’s mother (assuming she spoke English and could understand me which she doesn’t and can’t) I would not make the same comment to her as I would to my close friends about someone unkempt or disheveled that we pass by because that’s what separates good people from dicks. Good people talk behind peoples back to other people they trust and know aren’t dicks. Dicks say anything at anytime.  Ask yourself this, at what age is a woman willing and able to see and respond to a red flag? Be a strong woman. Get a therapist. And don’t settle for a man who has qualities you may not like simply because you don’t want to be alone. If you want a social life join or get a dog. Don’t get a problem. You have enough of them.


Was that harsh? Was that too much? I know I can be too much. But I also can relate. I have been telling AC that I want us to have a life too. We have been crazy busy with kids and addicts and work and life that we have not really had time to enjoy anything. We need to enjoy something. We are going too. I don’t know what but something. Soon. This weekend. And if we lived closer I would extend an invitation for Blacked Out to come hang with us.  Women do not need a man to feel complete. And they don’t need a woman either. They do not need a partner. They need to learn to feel complete with themselves, even in times of despair. The best friend, the best partner any woman will ever have is herself. Learn it. Live it. Own it.


Upon further contemplation I have decided I absolutely should not give anyone advice. About anything. Ever. Hashtagsorrynotsorry.


Letter To The Editor

I have started, stopped, deleted and started again to write this post. One of the most under discussed, underappreciated parts of addiction is the effect it has on families. There is a meeting at just about any time of day that an addict can go to for support, comfort or help. Google up family meetings either Al-Anon, Narnon, or the like. Select days and times are available. It’s definitely limited. Why is that you ask? Or maybe you didn’t because you are already a parent or loved one of an addict and you know why that is… drum roll please…. Because we get a bad rap. I can only speak of my own experience but as the mother of an addict I know that when people at large hear of JoDee’s addiction, the first thing they think of is where was her mother when this all began.  Clearly her mother must be a piece of shit if her kid is running the street wild with little regard to herself. Obviously her family was uneducated, poor, child-ignoring, pimples on the ass of society.  It’s irrelevant that addiction knows no bounds. That addicts are grocery store baggers, Walmart greeters, stockbrokers, doctors, nurses, mail delivery persons, cooks, politicians, who were born to poor families, rich families, middle-class families, immigrant families, natural born citizens and everything in between.

In this hell here on earth that is dealing with an addict, we (representing all family members, parents or loved ones of addicts as in all inclusive term) watch our addict slowly kill themselves, but not die. We watch them suffer constantly putting themselves in harm’s way. We lose sleep when we don’t know where they are, and then lose more sleep when we learn where they have been. We cry when we see them high. We cry when we see them detox. We cry when we see them in recovery. We know that their future is grim without long term recovery and we know that the odds of long term recovery, specifically with heroin addicts is hard to obtain. We go to court to show solidarity even when we know they are wrong. We look past their short comings, criminal acts, and overdoses to see the pain, the humanity, and the potential they have to give back to society if they can hang on long enough. We fight for our addicts when they are in the hospital or detox or rehab to make sure they get the services they need and deserve. We often pretend we don’t see the sneers and snickering behind our backs when we are waiting with our addicts to be seen in waiting rooms.. We ignore the old ladies who pull their purse closer to them for fear our addict might jump up out of their semi-conscious state to rob them. And we turn the other cheek when the fathers tell their young kids not to come near us because our addicts smell/are dirty/haven’t seen the inside of a shower for more than a week.

The limitless amount of bullshit I put up with as a mother of an addict is unbelievable, even to me some days. I know that only another mother truly knows what it’s like. Arguing with myself on the way to pick her up, again, when I know I shouldn’t, and feeling guilty for feeling like I shouldn’t pick her up when I know that my help really hurts her is only something another parent would relate too.  It is because of all of this bullshit that I find what one fellow mother-of-an-addict had to endure after she suffered the loss of her son so absolutely horrifying. For those of you that have not endured this slice of heaven known as loving an addict, relief does not come when our addict dies. We are trapped in a never ending loop that includes living in hell when our child is an addict and living in hell if our child dies. I thought our society was moving toward a world that has less stigma regarding addicts. I thought that we were making progress in spreading awareness that addiction is a disease and that our addicts are people that are loved, and have loved, and were kind and humble before they were infected. I thought all of that until I saw this Man Dies From Heroin Overdose . Not only did this mother find her son unresponsive which is an unbelievably traumatic event in-of-itself, but she was violated, and traumatized a second time when the newspaper published not just her name, and her son’s name, but their address. If all that wasn’t appalling, the fact that the young man died from his overdose did not stop them from bring up his past criminal past which, in my opinion, diminished the tragic loss of his life and was completely unnecessary. It was as though they were saying yes, a young man from our town died but its ok because he was a low life criminal so really no loss. The newspaper had a choice to make: highlight the current rise in deaths by overdose and the epidemic plaguing an entire generation or ignore the current epidemic, down play this loss of life so not to upset the 92% white, middle-to-upper class population allowing them to further bury their head in the sand to convince themselves that addiction doesn’t happen to them. Just so we are all clear, so that no one can say they haven’t been warned, ADDICTS ARE PEOPLE. All those privileged individuals who think that addiction can’t and won’t happen in their family, you are wrong. You cannot throw money at addiction. It will only take your money to go buy more drugs. Or start their own drug ring. But addiction doesn’t care what color you are, what your sexual orientation is, what your father did or if you even knew your mother. Addiction doesn’t give a shit if you were born into a Christian family, under the moon in the Arizona desert, or into a family of polygamists. When a newspaper further flames the stigma that addicts lives are worthless it should be called out. And called out in a way that reminds the journalist that not only are they wrong, but us family members of addicts ain’t no dummies neither.  And for those reasons I was blessed to be sent this Letter To The Editor as a follow up. The way Julie expresses her disgust at how the paper emphasized Adam’s addiction at a time when her family was grieving and brokenhearted while accentuating his wonderful life, his love of his family and all his attributes is eloquent and sophisticated.  She used education and determination to tell them to Eff Off in a way I’m not sure I ever could. I did not know Adam but I walk away from this learning that he was a wonderful young man who suffered a terrible disease and will be remembered for the person he was and not the acts he committed in the name of addiction. Thank you Julie for reminding us that addicts are people with families that are suffering too.


To My Dearest Daughter

Hello, JoDee. I hope wherever you are that you are well, though I know, that you are not. When I first became aware of your addiction, I went into overdrive trying to get you away from the source, which I mistakenly thought was John. I was so hyper-focused on making sure that John was away from you, that I missed the most important thing, the why. I have written many times that no one wakes up one morning and adds drug addiction to their to-do list. As your mother, I should have spent more time pushing therapy, talking to you, and reassuring you that we can help the problem, not the symptom. Addiction was merely a symptom of a bigger problem. And, I feel as though I wasted precious time enabling you to use, managing your recovery for you. Every time you are using I assault you with begging and pleading and compromising until you go into detox, and then further treatment, and then you are back on the street before long. It’s a crazy pattern, and it’s killing both of us.  Instead I should have been apologizing and changing things, so let’s start there.

When I think about your childhood, I always thought of good memories. Dad and I were young, that’s true, and we made mistakes but you were loved beyond this universe by both of us, and our families. As the first grandchild on Dad’s side, and the twins-ish grandchild on my side, everyone adored you. You were the most precious, blond-haired, Hershey-kiss brown-eyed, little ball of piss and vinegar we had all ever seen. You were a fighter back then. You made sure we all knew exactly what you wanted and when. I think about family trips to Disney, camping, and then after we split up trips the four of us took (me, you and your bro’s), camping in the living room, picnic’s inside when it was raining, road trips, birthday parties and girly sleep-overs. I thought that I had done the best I could for you even though I was young and poor and uneducated. But ignorance is bliss.

I think when you think of your childhood you see turmoil, parents fighting, mom dating, moving around a lot, disruption and upheaval. I think you feel there was no stability and no guidance, and no money for the things you needed. I think it was chaotic for you as a child to spend weekends with Dad and weekends with me. I think it made you feel as though you were constantly moving, and never able to settle down.  I think I greatly misjudged your childhood, to the version I had. And if I am being honest, you are probably right.  You see, I loved being a mom. Especially to you. My first born. The one I had the first bond too. I was so happy you were a girl, because I would have a friend for life. I can remember holding you in the hospital and whispering in your ear all the things we would do as partners as you grew up and when you were an adult. I vowed that we would be so close, as close as any two people could be, that I didn’t really process the parenting that would go into that. I may have been looking at the finish line, without running the race. Maybe I was so focused on what you would be when you were older, that I missed what you needed when you were younger.

I understand now, when you say addiction can make you believe anything, because selfishness can do the same thing. When we were moving across country I convinced myself that this was going to a life experience for the three of you. That you would be able to see how another part of the country lived and it would broaden your horizon somehow. I thought we would look back on all those car rides, with Jared peeing in a bottle, and Jay J trying to get the trucks to honk at us, dead deer, floating tires you thought were cat’s and broken-down cars, and enjoy those times. Laugh about them. See them as experiences in life, adventures. I was so so wrong. Uprooting you from everything you knew, and everything you had done, for my own selfish reasons was so wrong. And when it was time to come home, and I stayed, and sent you with Dad, I thought it would be good for all of you to live with Dad like you lived with me, so you could bond with him and see that we are both your parents. I had such high hopes that Dad and his wife and her kids and you and me would all get along and be a big happy family. The depths of my delusion was terrible and to the detriment of all three of you.  I wasn’t gone very long, in the broad scheme of things, however, it was enough for you to feel that I abandoned you. All the calls, boxes of presents, trips back and forth, are not what was important.  That span of time, out west, back here, back out west and then all of us back here, and then all the fighting over where you all lived must have left, no branded, you all in a terrible way.  I should have worked with Dad and Momma J to come up with a plan that allowed all of us to spend time with you guys in a loving way without fighting.

Next big no-no was when you hit high school. I watched you, I watched your grades, I fought for your IEP  so you could get the services you need. I made friends with your friends so I would know what was going on, I went to gymnastic meets, bought prom dresses, limo’s and graduation party that filled our back yard and our hearts with love. What I didn’t do was insist you date NO ONE. One bad choice after another floated throughout your high school years and I chalked it up to kiddie love. As a precaution I put you on the pill and often had sex talks to make sure you didn’t get pregnant. When your last love was out of high school and much older than you I was con-ed by his politeness and charm, and opened our family to him. I was so wrong. Red flags were getting tossed around like penalty flags at a Patriots game and I IGNORED them. Ignored them. I let you walk right out of our house into the devil’s den.

On this dreary morning I think about the most recent events that led you to leaving, again. I can’t help but here your last words time and again in my head- I saw that blog, you don’t want me here. I will add that to the ever long list of mistakes. My words were not meant to cast you out. In fact, I always want you here.  Which leads me to my last and possibly biggest mistake, I want you here as the JoDee I want you to be. Not the JoDee you are. I have spent so much of this time of addiction trying to make you go back to the way you were before using instead of growing with you into the person you will become in recovery. I understand now that no one is the same after going through this horrible disease. I understand that you are the daughter I love more than my own life, more than anything on this earth. I understand that you don’t even know who you are, that you are traumatized, confused and self-loathing which is causing you to run out and block your feelings by using more which makes you feel guilty and hate yourself which makes you use even more….. I understand as much as a non-addict can.

So what I want t to tell you is this: You are so loved. No matter the mistakes I have made for my own selfish or stupid reasons, they were never a result of my affection for you. You have never been the problem. You are missed but I want to get to know the you that you are becoming. As we grew up together once, we can do it again. I want you to walk into your home and feel welcomed and wanted.  I am so sorry that you had a tough childhood. I’m so sorry I didn’t see it more clearly before. I have loved every minute of being your mother. It has been the greatest honor and the greatest gift I have ever been given. I feel like I didn’t cherish it enough but we can make what is wrong right if we work together. Hear this loud and clear, I always want you at home. I love you so much that the words themselves don’t see strong enough. I know the mistakes I have made as a person and a parent which is the first step toward recovery. Give us a chance to be the best friends we should be, the big sister you used to be, and the daughter you want to be, because you have always been the daughter I wanted.




Letter to My 18-Year Old Self

Dear 18 Year Old Self,

I am you, only older and wiser. I know you are about to embark on a whole new life, what with being knocked up and all. I feel it is my duty to tell you a few things. First and for most, you are an idiot.  You should be SO much more afraid of parenting than you are. Lots of women birth children, so being worried only about labor at the juncture is not just idiotic but scary. Parenting is so much more than delivering a baby. A bum on the street with a 7th-grade education could help pull that kid out of you. You need to be researching and reading and learning about being the greatest influence on this child. Instead of reading Cosmo start reading Parenting Magazine. And don’t just buy it so when people come over you look like you are reading about parenting, actually read the damn thing.

Try to evaluate your surroundings, dear child. You are pregnant with a high school education, barely, and you are living on the futon in a living room of a two bedroom apartment that 4 adults are in. Not the best situation for a baby. Soon you are going to go live with a set of grandparents, this is a better situation but still not grand. If you are big enough girl to have a baby you should start figuring out how to support it and you on your own. You have this irrational idea that the world owes you something because you are pregnant. Your lack of prophylaxis is not anyone’s fault but your own. Deal with it, and grow up. And I do mean GROW UP.  Start thinking like a parent. This baby is a living human being and her actions will be a direct result of your parenting. You are going to fuck this up. We both know it, but you have a chance to make it right. To do it right. Do that. Do not listen to all the advice of others. Your nature instincts will not serve you wrong it you listen to it. Have confidence in yourself. Have faith that your own ability as a parent will prevail if you allow it. You have a lot of people who think they know better than you. Some don’t mean to be harmful but they have about as much sense as the dried bird shit on my windshield right now.

We both know this marriage isn’t going to work out, but it doesn’t have to be a horror show. Try to be compassionate, and work things out in a way that allows co-parenting to happen and fosters a good relationship with everyone. Ok- I literally just laughed at myself. Try not to be a complete asshole. Things are not going to be easy. Try to remember that being right is not always a good thing, or necessary. The child you are carrying now is going to give you a run for your money. She is going to get in a bad scene that changes who you are as a person, which turns you into me. Maybe if you learn from some of our mistakes now, this child will have chance at a better life. 18 years from right now you will find out she is a heroin addict. You are going to find yourself sitting in the emergency room, holding her hand while she nods out and a pompous older woman sitting to seats over pulls her purse tighter, and purses her lips in disgust as I dare her to make eye contact with me starring at her face until she notices me. At which point you give her the finger, and when she looks away, you wipe the lone tear that leaks out of the corner of your eye. Yes, I said you cry. I know you find that hard to believe me you, this will be a very tearful full years.  There is no way I can prepare you for it, and you wouldn’t listen anyway. The only thing I can hope for is that you are more intuitive to things happening around you.

Something that’s you should know are: reading her the Basic Text while she is high, is not going to make her want to stop using. She isn’t listening to you anyway, and she doesn’t even remember most of those nights.  The security guard that you think is judging you, is not judging you, he is pitying you, and in my opinion that’s even worse. Pitiful is what she looks like when she is this sick. Pitiful is what brings you to your knees. Pitiful is what makes you beg the higher power of any religion you can think of to take away whatever pain has made her run to heroin to begin with. They will ignore you. There is only her higher power that can help her find the way to life without drugs. You can’t love her enough, or fight for her enough, beg her enough, bargain with some unseen prophet of clean-time enough. There is no enough. You will torture yourself trying to right the wrong that made this happen. And you will be mistaken to do so.  You are going to be heartbroken and distressed and those things make people act irrationally. You are going to isolate, segregate, and alienate everyone that you should be reaching out too.  Don’t do this. Eh… go ahead and do it anyway. When the dust settles you will feel connected to those around you. Sometimes tragedy cuts the grass of friendships if you catch my drift.

Be a good mother now. You can’t make up for lost time. If you spend too much time focusing on things that are not important, you will regret it. People will judge you for what you drive, how clean your house is, what you and the kids wear no matter how hard you try so don’t. Focus on carving pumpkins, picnics, going to the beach, loving each other. It is the good times in life that are the bridge of support through the stormy times. You need those things to be able to survive.  Life is a marathon not a sprint. It’s a marathon on steroids. I know there are going to be times when you are tired and broke and watching all your friends’ party like rock stars while you change diapers dreaming of the day your kids are older, but you will not enjoy your kids being older as much as you enjoy them now. You will miss when they crawl in your lap looking for loves. When they lay in bed with you absentmindedly twirling your hair in their fingers. You will long for the days when you could hear the high pitched giggling and screeches when they are supposed to be in bed.  Those days will go by so fast, if you blink you will miss it, so don’t waste one single second of that.

And one last thing, I forgive you for not listening to anything I just said.


With Love,