Ian and Irene’s Story, ‘Living Through Our Son’s Addiction and Death: Our Journey to Recovery’

After losing their son Robin to a heroin overdose, Ian and Irene set up CPSG (Carer and Parent Support Gloucestershire) to help family members avoid some of the problems they experienced. (5,469 words)

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‘Living Through Our Son’s Addiction and Death: Our Journey to Recovery’: Ian and Irene’s Story Update

In my last blog post, I described how I met Ian and Irene MacDonald at their home on the outskirts of Cheltenham during my last trip to the UK in September 2022.

Ian and Irene had lost their 27-year-old son Robin to an accidental heroin overdose in November 1997. In response to this loss, they set up CPSG (Carer and Parent Support Gloucestershire), a free and confidential service that was available to anyone concerned about another person’s substance use.

I posted Ian and Irene’s Recovery Story, Living Through Our Son’s Addiction and Death: Our Journey to Recovery, on this website in 2013. We updated this Story in 2021 for my eBook Our Recovery Stories: Journeys from Drug and Alcohol Addiction. Here is that update:

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Visiting UK Recovery Friends: Part 9 (Ian and Irene MacDonald)

After leaving Wulf and Melanie Livingstone’s house in North Wales, I headed to Ian and Irene MacDonald’s home in the outskirts of Cheltenham. I first met Ian Macdonald at the FDAP (Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals) Annual conference in 2007; we had previously corresponded about a few articles that I posted on our news portal Daily Dose. We hit it off immediately. Ian told me how he and Irene had he had lost their 27-year-old son Robin to an accidental heroin overdose in November 1997.

After a long period trying to get their lives back on track after Robin’s death, Ian and Irene realised that their lives would never be the same again and accepted that their lives would not be bad, just different. They then began to wonder if there was any possibility of something positive coming from Robin’s death.

They spoke to each other about this for a long time, until one night it occurred to them that what they could was to provide what they had wanted when they first discovered their son’s addiction to heroin—’quite simply, someone to talk to, understand what we were going through, be non-judgemental, have a knowledge of drugs and addiction, and be able to act as a signpost to further help.’

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Recovery Moments: Ian and Irene’s Story

Two of my favourite people that I have met on my Wired In journey are Ian and Irene MacDonald. I first met Ian in 2007 at a Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) meeting, although we had been corresponding earlier. Ian and Irene had lost their son Robin to a heroin overdose in 1997 and were now running a family support group, CPSG (Carer and Parent Support Gloucestershire).

Ian later asked if I would give a talk to family members in Cheltenham and I happily agreed. The talk took place in September 2008. I was still living in Cowbridge in South Wales at the time. My new partner Linda was visiting from Australia, so she came to Cheltenham with me. We spent a lovely evening with Ian and Irene. I remember thinking at the time how would I ever recover from losing a child?

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Most visited content: Nos 11 – 15

rsz_img_4069I continue our list of the most viewed content on this website, this time focusing on those that just missed the top ten.

15. Beth’s Recovery Story: ‘Becoming Beth’ tells the story of a young lady who says, “I really shouldn’t be here.” Beth was dependent on alcohol by age 19, had an eating disorder, anxiety condition… and more. Now she is in recovery, running Smyls, a solution-based service to help other people.

14. Stopping heroin use without treatment is an article I wrote focusing on Patrick Biernarki’s research in the mid-1980s into how 101 heroin addicts gave up using their drug without accessing treatment. Far too few people know about this seminal research.

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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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