This is Living

This is Living

I’d met a friend for coffee, my first outing since the start of the COVID pandemic. I was eager to escape the ongoing pressure of dealing with grown sons with addiction and mental health issues. Usually, this friend is willing to hear me unload all the difficult moments. But now, sipping lattes in Starbucks, she […]

Mother’s Day Cry Room

Mother’s Day Cry Room

Yesterday, my granddaughter brought home from preschool a potted petunia. She’d glued purple glitter on the pot’s sides, glitter that left a trail everywhere. When I asked her why her mommy got a flower, the five-year-old’s eyebrows scrunched up and she shrugged. “For Mother’s Day, I guess.” I was relieved. I hate Mother’s Day. Is […]

The Third Way

The Third Way

I can still feel the kneeler biting into my knees as I begged the pastor to pray for me. “I’m a failure at tough love,” I began. “No matter what I do, I can’t throw out my son.” For me and loads of other moms like me, “tough love” means “kicking him out” or “turning […]

Monster Meth

I pick up my adult son’s sunglasses—cradle them, really. Yesterday he showed them off to me—his grin so wide you’d think he’d won the lottery. These flimsy shades were from the dollar store, he said, but I like them. And he did. But today, he’d say those glasses are made out of plastic so cheap […]

But Is It Love?

But Is It Love?

On St. Valentine’s Day, my grown son offered to wash my car, even though legendary Oregon rain was in the forecast. I was thrilled by his gift—long-time meth use and ongoing mental health issues keep him unemployed. Besides, any mom will tell you that a kind gesture from your kid is worth its weight in […]

Here Come Da Judges

Here Come Da Judges

I stood at the book signing event, discussing with a reader my first published book called Lost Boys and the Moms who Love Them. Two of my three sons were abusing substances. A couple of friends had sons who also struggled, so we collaborated. My feet ached as I explained how the three of us […]

Blind Trust

Blind Trust

A few days before Thanksgiving, it was already dark at four-thirty—the time of year when I jump into jammies early and pray again for my son’s miracle: Let him find recovery. Then the text came: Can I get a ride home before you go to bed? I heaved a sigh but pulled on my boots […]

The Power of Words

My husband and I ought to have permanently melted ears by now. Over the past years, our three grown sons with addiction have cursed us, called us awful names and vowed that they hate us. The old schoolyard taunt declares, “words can never hurt me.” Moms and dads of those with addiction know that’s so […]

Getting It Right

Getting It Right

The treatment center’s director met me in the lobby. Tall, blonde and willowy, she listened as I outlined my young adult son’s challenges. I told her how at just ten or eleven he’d started sneaking out at night to drink alcohol. Yes, ever since then, he’d abused methamphetamine. The director nodded sympathetically. “He’s over eighteen […]