Independent film producer shines light on addiction and recovery

Leslie Glass and her daughter Lindsey Glass have just made their second documentary about recovery. Here is a film clip and report from YourObserver.

At a 2011 luncheon for the premiere of her first documentary film, “The Secret World of Recovery,” Leslie Glass remembers hearing a collective gasp as she told the crowd of nearly 400 people that she was the mother of a recovering addict. It was the first time she’d ever told anyone.

“When you come out with it for the first time, you have a sense of shame about it,” she says. “What did I do wrong as a parent that I have a child who’s had these difficulties? I think that’s so common; people don’t want other people to know.”

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From Discovery To Recovery: My Emotional Journey As The Parent Of An Addict

iStock_000017274301XSmall1-300x199Powerful writing from Ron Grover, a parent of a son with a substance use problem, which appeared on the Intervene website.

‘What’s it like being the parent of an addict? I’m not talking about the day-to-day experience with a crisis and drama around every corner. I mean what is it like inside the mind of a parent who has gone from discovery (of a child’s drug use) to recovery (from a drug addiction)?

As I take stock of my current emotional state – examining all of the emotions I have felt over the last 10 years – I wonder: Am I normal? Am I a survivor? Am I crazy? Maybe I’m just a composite of these experiences and it’s simply who I am now.

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‘A Family Illness’ by Phil Hughes

IMG_5024This excellent blog was written three years ago to the day on Wired In To Recovery. 

“I was like a tornado causing as much devastation as I possibly could in my family. But the problem was, I couldn’t even see it because all I cared about was me. I was caught up, obsessed with finding ways and means to get my next drink. When I didn’t have it, I was a nightmare to live with.

My mother felt so helpless, slowly watching her son kill himself through drink and drugs and not knowing whether she was coming or going half the time. It’s through that feeling of helplessness and frustration that the anger started to rear it’s ugly head.

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‘Beautiful Boy: More Than An Addict’ by Jim Contopulos

The beauty of the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve in southern California provides the backdrop for a father’s lament upon losing his beautiful son to addiction and mental illness.

Walk alongside him, as together, we who survive dream of a better day, sustained and inspired by the pain, brokenness and courage of those who live with the unrelenting weight of mental illness and addiction.

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‘What’s Next for the Truth?’ by Suzanne Beachy

Any diagnosis of mental illness results in a complicated and uncertain fate for those it strikes. When you lose a son as a result of such a diagnosis, it ignites a search for answers. Suzanne Beachy has gained a perspective on life as a result of her loss but is still asking, “What is the truth?”

Suzanne gave this talk at the TEDxColumbus event in 2010.

‘Never give up hope’ by Elizabeth Burton-Phillips

Never give up hope by Elizabeth Burton-PhillipsAnother of my favourite blogs from Wired In To Recovery, from December 2009.

“Like most grandparents, I can’t resist showing off pictures of my beautiful little grandson James, sitting with his adoring father Simon. But for me, the joy runs even more deeply than most, contrasting as it does with the devastation my family experienced almost six years ago.

At the age of 13, my son Simon and his twin brother Nick began experimenting with drugs by smoking cannabis. They sampled increasingly dangerous drugs over a period of 14 years, culminating in injecting heroin. One February day in 2004, after a huge drug-fuelled argument, Simon went to make peace with his brother and found that Nick had hanged himself.

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‘Experiences of a mother of two young heroin addicts’ by Mark

IMG_4069A very moving blog which first appeared on Wired In To Recovery (WITR) in May 2009. Mark blogged regularly on WITR until the community closed.

“We found my 20 year old brother dead of an overdose. He had just kicked the habit so tolerance was low. He started a job and the first payday was his last.

Mum wrote this after I got clean. Copy and use it anywhere it can be of use.”

‘What is it like being the mother of an addict? (Experiences of a mother of two young heroin addicts)

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Susan’s Story, Part 3: ‘Missing Michael – A Story by Blog’

P1010995Susan lost her son Michael to a drug overdose on the 22nd January, 2010. I, for one, cannot begin to understand what someone must go through after such a loss.

However, I gained some appreciation from the Susan’s extraordinary writing in a blog she published on our online recovery community Wired In To Recovery. I was captivated and deeply moved by Susan’s writing, as were many other people in our community.

This is Part 3 of a slightly edited version of Sue’s blogs. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you have not seen them.

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Susan’s Story, Part 2: ‘Missing Michael – A Story by Blog’

P1010975Susan lost her son Michael to a drug overdose on the 22nd January, 2010. I, for one, cannot begin to understand what someone must go through after such a loss.

However, I gained some appreciation from the Susan’s extraordinary writing in a blog she published on our online recovery community Wired In To Recovery. I was captivated and deeply moved by Susan’s writing, as were many other people in our community.

This is Part 2 of a slightly edited version of Sue’s blogs. Check out Part 1 if you have not seen it.

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Must-read books: ‘Tweak’ and ‘Beautiful Boy’

P4081216Five years ago I read two remarkable books by a father and son. There was only one way to describe these books – they were an emotional roller coaster.  I read one straight after the other, hardly putting them down.

I was wrapped… and I was drained! I felt despair… and then hope. I learnt so much from these books. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

The two books were addiction Recovery Stories, written by Nic and David Scheff.  Here’s what the back cover of Nic’s book Tweak had to say:

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Susan’s Story, Part 1: ‘Missing Michael – A Story by Blog’

P1011034Susan lost her son Michael to a drug overdose on the 22nd January, 2010. I, for one, cannot begin to understand what someone must go through after such a loss.

However, I gained some appreciation from the Susan’s extraordinary writing in a blog she published on our online recovery community Wired In To Recovery. I was captivated and deeply moved by Susan’s writing, as were many other people in our community.

I decided it would be a good idea to edit down Susan’s writing into a more manageable size and publish it in a single document. However, I found this difficult, as there was so little I felt I should edit out.

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Natalie’s Story: ‘I didn’t plan to be an addict’ (Part 2)

IMG_3468I first met ‘Natalie’ over 12 years ago when I lived in South Wales. I will never forget how she emphasised the importance of providing online support for people with substance use problems. She had been desperate to find helpful online information when she trying to overcome her drug problem.

Natalie has always been such an inspiration to people around her. Mind you, many people had to first get over the shock of finding that such a lovely lady had once been a heroin addict.

We left Natalie in Part 1 of this Story in the pre-treatment part of a 12-step treatment programme.

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‘Remembering my son’ by Susan C

IMG_2398Some of the most moving blogs on Wired In To Recovery were from Susan C who lost her loving son Michael from a heroin overdose in 2010.

Sue contacted me recently and said how much she missed the old website. She found it to be a lifeline when she was struggling. I had the impression that writing helped Sue deal with her terrible loss, if only a little. Here is one of Susan’s blogs from 2011.

Next week, I start a three part ‘Story by Blog’ by Susan C entitled ‘Missing Michael’.

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Natalie’s Story: ‘I didn’t plan to be an addict’ (Part 1)

IMG_3464I first met ‘Natalie’ over 12 years ago when I lived in South Wales. I will never forget how she emphasised the importance of providing online support for people with substance use problems. She had been desperate to find helpful online information when she trying to overcome her drug problem.

Natalie has always been such an inspiration to people around her. Mind you, many people had to first get over the shock of finding that such a lovely lady had once been a heroin addict.

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The Personal Story of Kevan Manley

This is a short version of a 35 minute film focusing on Kevin’s recovery from drug addiction that we made a number of years ago. His mother Kerry talks about her experiences during Kevin’s 15 year history of problem drug use and his recovery.

The film was made for Wired In by Jonathan Kerr-Smith and Lucie James in and around Cardiff, South Wales.

Impact of substance use problems on the family

P1010665This piece of writing, which you can find in the Articles section, was based on a piece of research we conducted ten years ago. Hard to believe!

‘In November 2004, I wrote an article, entitled ‘Family Misfortune’, for the magazine Drink and Drugs News in the UK, that focused on the impact that substance use problems can have on the family. The article was based on a piece of research that Gemma Salter and I conducted with family members (primarily mothers) of people who were experiencing substance use problems.

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People affected by a loved one’s addiction

Not enough attention has been focused on the difficulties experienced by loved ones and friends of people with a substance use problem. That’s wrong.

I’ve probably made the same mistake during my blogs this week. So here’s a film from David McCollom, a young man in recovery who is doing some great film work on recovery in the UK.

When a Man Loves a Woman

Did you know that you can watch the whole of this feature-length film on YouTube? The film stars Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia, and chronicles one woman’s alcoholism and the efforts of her husband to help her. It lasts 2 hours and 6 minutes.