By: Dr. Barbara Sinor
My son, Richard, was an alcoholic. He knew it, but did not admit to it until age twenty-five. His father, my husband, didn’t want to believe it; I sensed it much earlier. Both of Richard’s grandfather’s were alcoholics, that could not be denied.
Alcoholism skipped a generation as neither Rich’s father nor myself drank alcohol more than a social glass. Rich, on the other hand, had that demon within which tormented him to drink to oblivion.
His life had ventured from human compassion and grace to relapses and hiding under bridges in the pouring rain with his favorite friend, Vodka. My heart exploded with his achievements and shriveled each time he acted out in a drunken rage.
Richard died by suicide in early 2009. He was thirty-nine years old.
In Memory of Richard
A year after his death, I sat at my computer to tackle the most difficult book I would ever write, Tales of Addiction. I wasn’t inspired to write it; I was compelled to write it.
Before Richard’s death, I was working in collaboration on an addiction book titled Addiction: What’s Really Going On? My brain was inundated with addiction news, addiction counseling, addiction books and references, and forever strained dealing with my son’s alcoholism! My counseling practice had made a 180 degree twist from working with adults sexually abused in childhood to working with the addiction population.
At the time, I felt if I could just learn all there was to know about addiction, perhaps I could help my son–silly, or I should say stupid me.
Of course I could not “help” my son–he was the only one who could guide his addiction to sobriety.
Richard’s Story: The Inspiration
While going through his belongings, I found Rich’s personal journal along with the miniature AA book my father had given him. As I read through Rich’s touching words written during rare sober periods, it became evident that I should share his addiction story.
And then that night, I had a dream.
My dream declared that I was to write a book that contained not only my son’s story but many addiction stories. Soon, I put out a “Call for Addiction Stories” through the media to those willing to share their story with the possibility of it being included in my new book. Through the months, while reading the stories I received, I decided to include within the book my own perspective as a mother of an alcoholic son.
Whether addicted or not, we all have stories to tell.
Family Pain and Addiction
I wove the words of nearly two dozen addiction stories with my son’s journey through our trauma and pain. So many of the stories displayed just how dehumanizing addiction truly is. From Rich’s journals, or his stay in three recovery centers, or the grief, anger, disbelief, and agony that his father and I experienced, I discovered how we were all connected in our stories.
After two years of tearful writing, the book formed into a glance, just a glance, at the addiction realism in our nation.
As I shared in Tales of Addiction:
“All souls are on a spiritual journey…Living with an addiction is also a spiritual journey. I believe no one took that first pill, drink, snort, inhale, or injection thinking they will become addicted. Perhaps a trauma or pain in their life, which was not addressed or healed, guided them to their self-destructive behavior.
How should we view a person with an addiction? Do we judge them as a low-life or someone who is less than ourselves? That choice is yours. I choose to view those with an addiction as missing the mark.”
They may have wandered off their path onto a side-street called self-hatred. Or, perhaps their soul was to experience the addictive path this lifetime. It is not our place to judge another’s spiritual path.
I do believe though that it is our responsibility to help guide those with an addiction to envision a new pathway, a new direction filled with self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love.
Helping Others Toward Recovery
Richard’s addiction story ended ten years ago. I still mourn his passing, but I have chosen to envelop my remaining years in the thought that his addictive life story, through this book, has helped guide many to take a second look at their own path–perhaps to take a step toward sobriety.
Barbara is a retired psychotherapist and the author of eight books available worldwide. Her books are highly endorsed in the adult children of alcoholics, childhood abuse/incest, and addiction recovery genres.
Dr. Sinor’s newest release October 2018, Inspirational Musings: Insights Through Healing is now available as an audiobook.
Tales of Addiction is available in hardbound, paperback, eBook and audiobook.
Besides nonfiction, Barbara has also written a novel, Finding Destiny, which invites us to find inspiration and to remember the interconnectedness of all things.
Dr. Sinor can be reached through her website: www.drsinor.com
#Writing, and recovery heals the heart.
So many people are struggling with their addictions, whether it’s the individual or their family. If you have a story of hope, consider a guest post today.