Mom to Mom: The Hole In My Life Where My Child Should Be

The hole in my life

Melancolie–created by Albert György

 

The Hole In My Life Where My Child Should Be

 

I have the power.

The power to change the way I react to the disease of addiction.

The power to stop its destructive spread.

For too many years I was consumed by the poison my son was consuming. I snarled and yelled and argued and begged and cried; I re-negotiated the non-negotiable; I rationally discussed the irrational; and, at night, I either paced the house―holding vigil for my child’s life―or dreamed of growing octopus arms to squash down all his problems.

There was no room in my head for anyone but my addicted son; that’s just what happens once an addict starts wearing a beloved child’s face.

So, while my son was the one consuming the poison, the poison seeping into our household was passing directly through me, sneaking in on the umbilical connection. I was a carrier―the Typhoid Mary of addiction―spreading misery and destruction through our family. Helping the disease to do what it does best.

You see, for too many years, I was trying to change something that wasn’t mine to change: my son.

The truth is, the only thing I can change is me.

(And that has real power.)

Addiction is horrible enough without me making it worse, so I’m done with that. There will be no more ripping apart of hearts and lives―not by my actions (or my neglect). Not by my words, thrown around like poison darts. I will not blame or argue. I will not get sucked into dramas or force issues that don’t belong to me. I will protect my boundaries, making room in my head for all the people I love. I will be calm not crazed. I will be positive. I will have reasonable expectations. I will change the tune and change the dance; I will change my family’s chance.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care. Or don’t hurt. Or won’t cry.

It just means I will fill the hole in my life where my child should be with goodness, not badness.

Kindness, not madness.

I will honor my son with my words and my actions―not the addict.

The destructive spread of the disease of addiction stops with me.

 

© Sandra Swenson 2014. Author of ‘Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children’, ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ App [Hazelden], and ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction’.

 

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Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

 

Mom to Mom: Thanksgiving (when your child is addicted)—Filling Not Stuffing

 

When my boys were little, they hovered about the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, eager to get started with stuffing the turkey. We tied on aprons, washed our hands, pushed step stools over to the kitchen counter, and discussed who, exactly, would need to touch the pale and pimply turkey flesh.

My oldest son dumped bread cubes into a large bowl and his brother stirred in the onions and sage; they took turns scooping stuffing into the hollow center of our holiday bird before it was slathered in oil and popped in the oven. Our home was full of pleasant aromas and anticipation and things to be thankful for.

Norman Rockwell picture-perfect.

But things changed once my oldest son became addicted.

Thanksgiving became a day stuffed with unspoken disappointment, anger, and fear rather than too much pie and good cheer. His younger brother, dad and I would wait for my son to show up—or not show up at all—while our turkey and sweet potatoes shriveled away in the oven. Retreating to different parts of the house, we avoided the sad festivities and phony smiles until tradition beckoned us to sit down at the table across from my son’s very empty place. Thankful, I was not.

It has been ten years now since my son even pretended he was coming home for Thanksgiving dinner. (I don’t know where he has turkey. Or if he has turkey.) I’ve had time to adjust to Thanksgiving the way it is and stop wishing for the way it should be, but time hasn’t taken away the hurt—or the hole where he should be. I suspect it never will. Instead, over time, I’ve grown stronger. Over time, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me to get through and even enjoy the holidays again.

1. Make room for your feelings and let go of old expectations.

I’m now strong enough to face the hurt rather than stuff it away (more often than not), and I’m strong enough to fill the holes in my life and my heart with things that make the day better, not worse. That means facing reality, not trying to re-create what can’t be re-created, starting new traditions, and spending quality time with some happy old memories.

There’s a lot wrapped up in this big day that rolls around one short day a year. A lot of hopeful hopes, fears, disappointments, and stress—when holiday tradition and expectation meet addiction it can be madness. But it’s possible to look at things differently, to do things differently,especially if the whole family is recruited to open their eyes and minds. And when the spirit of things leading up to the big day is giving thanks, that spirit is contagious.

Thanksgiving is meant to be a day for gathering together with loved ones and having fun. So simple—and beautiful—if left simple. A performance, it is not. And living up to unrealistic expectations, I will not.

I no longer spend the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving trying to pretend that everything is fine, that addiction hasn’t consumed my son (and therefore my whole family), and that we can still pull off a pretend-perfect performance.

I no longer stuff down my sadness, putting on the dressing of normal life in the same way I shove myself into my jeans after a big meal—by taking a deep breath, swallowing the pain, and pasting on a smile.

Instead, I plan ahead. I take the time to face my feelings—I take the time to grieve and cry for what was and what isn’t—and then, acknowledging the pitfalls I don’t want to fall into, I figure out ways to make the holiday work. And one of those ways is to ask for help—from friends, family, a therapist or counselor or any of the hundreds of support groups, like Al-Anon, Families Anonymous, or The Addict’s Mom.

2. Celebrate those who are at the table and let go of perfection.

I have Let Go of thinking that I’m the only one who can make the day (any day, actually) perfect, for anyone. Or that I can please everyone. Thanksgiving is made all the better with family participation—which means asking for everyone’s hands and hearts to be in the right place at the right time. Together we can prepare and adapt to the fact that our addicted loved one might not show up (or worse).

But, who is not at the table shouldn’t take up more space than the people who are.

There is no end to the room I have at my table. And in my heart. But both my heart and home have rules. Before the big day, I set my boundaries (and set up escape hatches), knowing that it’s possible that not everyone who shows up is going to behave. I can’t control the actions of anyone else, but what I can control is me (and even that is no easy task.). By facing reality, my actions don’t need to be reactions. My boundaries don’t need to be rough, they just need to be strong.

3. Try something different; open your heart to something new.

When the holiday hurts, maybe it’s time to try something different—something smaller, or bigger, or somewhere new. The meal, the menu, an old family recipe, the way (or the place) that we’ve always celebrated Thanksgiving…. the little traditions mean nothing compared to the meaning of the big tradition itself. There was a time when I would spend weeks shopping and chopping, mixing and rolling, cleaning and decorating, for a meal that, for all of its hype, actually took less than thirty minutes to eat (not counting the time spent talking). But I enjoyed all the creative chaos. Until things changed. And then I didn’t. I felt a bit guilty at first, serving store-bought pie or stuffing from the deli, but the reality is, that isn’t what matters. And no one ever noticed—or if they did, they didn’t care.

4. Share your gratitude and give back.

Who is at the table is more important than what is on the table (or where the table is). In the holiday hubbub, it’s easy to forget what the holiday is really about.

Giving thanks.

So I’ve learned, having grown in my own recovery, to make every effort to live in the moment. To give thanks for the moment. To give thanks for those around me—those people who matter, and who deserve to feel like they matter, no matter what else is going on. I take the time to soak in and appreciate everything I have to be grateful for. Of which there is a lot.

My need to fill the hole that addiction has left in both my heart and life is big. And I’ve found that helping others keeps me moving forward. It may be overwhelming to add one more expectation to a day already laden with so much, but giving thanks by showing thanks doesn’t have to fall on one particular day in the fall. I’ve got 364 other days of the year in which to do what my heart needs to do. It helps me to help kids whose moms, for whatever reason, are unable to do mom stuff for them right now. And maybe someday someone will do the same thing for my son.

5. Accept what is, one day at a time.

Yes, I’m finally strong enough to fill the hole in my life where my son should be with things that make the holiday better, not worse. I’m strong enough to face reality—to accept what is—to start new traditions, and to spend time with some happy old memories; those are mine to keep and enjoy, forever.

Old memories still have the power to bring tears to my eyes, but I’m finally able to treasure my memories for what they are: gifts. I am blessed to have had so many years of such happiness, and not even addiction can take that away. After everything that has happened, I still have my sons’ smiles, the sounds of their voices, and the feel of their hugs, no matter how far away they may be. So, in giving thanks, I take the time to remember what was before embracing, fully, what is. I laugh, I cry. I allow the movies in my mind to fill my soul.

This year I will visit my 91 year old mom in Memory Care, then my dad and I will have our Thanksgiving dinner at the home of friend I grew up with and her parents, people we’ve known for about 55 years. Friends like family–I’m immensely grateful for that.

Many years ago my oldest son sent me this message:

“Happy Thanksgiving, Mom. Hopefully, someday I’ll give you a reason to be thankful for me. I love you. Thank you for still loving me.”

No matter what, I have always been thankful for both of my boys. And I’m thankful for what I have now. And I’m thankful that they both know how much they are loved.

This is me filling, not stuffing.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with things to be thankful for, too.

 

© Sandra Swenson 2015. Author of ‘The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction’, ‘Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children’, and ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ App [Hazelden]

 

 

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy Swenson

The Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

 

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

 

 

Staying Dandelion Strong. ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’. A New App.

Exciting News!

Readings for Moms of Addicts App

READINGS FOR MOMS OF ADDICTS

 Now available in Apple and Google/Android app stores!

As moms with addicted children, we may often feel fragile, but we are strong. And we are many.

To every mother living with the complicated reality of loving a child with an addiction, Sandra Swenson has been where you are today. As a follow-up to her beloved meditation book Tending Dandelions, Sandy has written brand new honest readings for mothers living in the place where love and addiction meet. With the Readings for Moms of Addicts app, you can carry these new meaningful readings with you wherever you go. Sandy honestly addresses codependency, shame, grief, stigma, and how she came to realize that letting go is not the same as giving up. Wherever you and your child are in your unique recovery journeys, these readings will remind you that you are not alone.

This app contains 146 new readings that are different from, yet complementary to, the readings in the book Tending Dandelions published by Hazelden Publishing. This convenient and searchable app format provides the perfect tool for use in support groups–such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon Family Groups, or Families Anonymous–or at any time you need connection and motivation.

🌻🦁❤️

Excerpt:

Love (Unconditional)

Addiction has changed my understanding of love.

Before my first child was even born, back when he was just a bun in the oven—before I even knew that such a love came baked-in to motherhood—I already knew a love that was pure and beautiful, unconditional and without end. But in time, beaten down by The Addict’s cruel lashes, I’ve come to know a love that is painfully less than that.

And more than that.

Never could I have imagined that my child would use and manipulate me and my love, even while starting out on the road to recovery. Never could I have imagined that I would need to protect my heart and soul from the child I love, or that the field in which my love was meant to grow would be so harsh.

My love now has boundaries. It has to. But still, it is a love unconditional and without end.

Maybe it’s even stronger than it would have been, because it’s been growing, and adapting, in a storm.

A tattered, yet enduring, dandelion.

“If you let us, I promise you, with every fiber in my being, that we will rip your heart out and suck you dry until you are bleeding out—a ravaged, withering carcass left out in the cold. I’m not saying that we want to do that to you, but I’m saying that we will because we are insane addicts whose addiction comes first before anything and anyone.” —Charles A. Peabody

Quoted from the app Readings for Moms of Addicts available in the App Store or Google Play. (c) Sandra Swenson.

http://bit.ly/DandelionStrongAppleApp

http://bit.ly/DandelionStrongAndroidApp

Staying Dandelion Strong

Other books by Sandy Swenson

Tending Dandelions

The Joey Song

Mom to Mom: The Land of Tears

Tending Dandelions, The Land of Tears

I’ve lived for years in the land of tears—and there’s no escape from the sadness.

By day, I retreat, pushing other people away, and I roam the dark house every night. I cry, I pull myself together, and I crawl back into bed. I get up, I fall down, and I try not to drown. I can’t eat. I eat too much. I eat away at the fears and worries that are eating away at me. I slap on a smile, I force out a laugh, even on days when I don’t make my bed and don’t take a bath. I build up a wall, I knock it back down. My love and loyalty get kicked all around. I pretend to be strong. I pretend not to hurt. I try to believe things are going to get better, but too often I don’t believe they will. I suffer in silence; I feel so alone.

I’ve lived for years in the land of tears—and there’s no escape from the sadness.

“It is such a secret place, the land of tears.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is from the book:

Tending Dandelions
by Sandra Swenson

Tending Dandelions

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

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Mother’s Day–Sending Hugs and Dandelion Wishes

 

Mother's Day, moms with addicted children

Mother’s Day: Together We Are Stronger

As moms living in the place where love and addiction meet, our hearts are always confused and hurting—but as Mother’s Day nears, our tender hearts seem to become even more so. As moms with addicted children, this day doesn’t feel or look the way it’s supposed to.

But, we can find strength and comfort in each other—and in the enduring blessing that is motherhood.

And we can celebrate that.

FB Live Video:

Mother's Day: Together We Are Stronger

We can find strength and comfort in each other—and in the enduring blessing that is motherhood. And we can celebrate that.

Posted by Sandy Swenson on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

 

”Sandy Swenson is the Obi Wan Kenobi of healing. Treat yourself to this brief video if you need comfort, company along the road of a child’s addiction, or if you just plain want to nourish your soul.” ~ Parent Pathway

 

The Joey Song, Mother's DayTending Dandelions, Mother's Day

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Mother’s Day: Together We Are Stronger

Moms with addicted children, dandelions, Mother's Day

Finding Strength as a Mother of an Addicted Child

From One Mom to Another

If you have a child struggling with addiction – whether or not they’re in recovery – you undoubtedly understand the pain that accompanies it. Through the stress, worrying, and helplessness that come with this role, it can be easy to forget about your own well-being. We’re here to remind you that you’re not alone, and you are stronger than you think.

Hear firsthand from another mother in this position, author Sandra Swenson, as she reflects in a touching video on the emotional turmoil she’s experienced as the mother of a child suffering with an addiction. You can learn more about her journey and lessons she’s learned along the way in her blog post on parenting an addicted child.

Sandra’s latest book, Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children, offers honest, daily meditations for mothers of addicted children. Her first book, The Joey Song, offers an inside look into her story with her son’s addiction.

Find support for Mother’s Day at an upcoming Facebook Live event

On Tuesday, May 8th at 8:00 p.m. CDT, join Sandra online for “Mother’s Day: Together We Are Stronger,” a Facebook Live event during which she will offer thoughtful support and meditations based on her own experiences loving a son struggling with addiction. To join the event, follow Sandy at facebook.com/sandyannswenson now, then sign on to Facebook at the event time to tune into the live broadcast.

 

 

 

Tending Dandelions
by Sandra Swenson

Tending Dandelions

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Mom to Mom: Self-Respect

Self-Respect

 

When my kids used to say, “Mom yelled at me,” what they meant was that I had told them to clean their rooms, or to say “please” and “thank you,” or to obey some other parental directive they didn’t like. To them, this was yelling because we just weren’t a yelly household. So I don’t know how my child became comfortable with yelling and swearing at me once he became an addict, but he did.

And I let him.

I used to be strong. I had self-respect. I would never have let anyone walk all over me. But with my addicted son, I pretty much rolled out the red carpet. He sneered at me and called me names; he was rude, insulting, and mean. He manipulated me, used me, and abused my love and trust. When he said he hated me, didn’t call back, or didn’t show up, I pretended it didn’t hurt. Instead, I groveled. I was desperate, determined to hang on to the last imaginary thread of our relationship–even if it was abusive.

This is not love–not of the self. Not of anyone.

 

“Unconditional love doesn’t mean you have to unconditionally accept bad behaviors.” ~Anonymous

 

Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is from the book:

Tending Dandelions
by Sandra Swenson

Tending Dandelions

Dandelion Shop for Moms with Addicted Children, Sandy SwensonThe Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

Facebook, Sandy Swenson

Mom to Mom: Before My Child Was an Addict

 

Before my son was an addict, he was a child. My child. But he could have been anyone’s child. Before my son was an addict, he liked to joke around, give big hugs, and work hard and play harder. Sometimes, he also lied, or said things that were mean, sulked, or was crabby. In other words, my child was perfectly normal.

Even though he has done some bad things while being an addict, my son is not a bad person. He’s a sick person. When addiction scooped up my child, it did so indiscriminately; my son, at his core, is one of the least “bad” people I know. Before my son was an addict, I used to judge the dusty addict on the corner very harshly. Now I know that being an addict isn’t something anyone would choose.

I wish I hadn’t waited for the worst to happen before I opened my eyes and heart. Before I looked beyond the addict’s dust to the person he was meant to be. To the person my child could easily become . . . and did.

Addiction can happen to anyone.

“Don’t judge, just love.” ~Anonymous

 

Today’s thought from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is from the book:

Tending Dandelions
by Sandra Swenson

The Dandelion Shop is a curated gallery of Dandelion Designs created in partnership with an array of ETSY artists especially for moms with addicted children.

MinnPost Interview with Author Sandra Swenson

“When I started to speak up about addiction I realized that I’m telling the addiction, ‘I’m fighting you for the sake of my son,’ ” Swenson said. Speaking up is noisy, she said, but that’s part of the deal. “We can’t fight addiction, we can’t break down stereotypes, if we’re quiet. The world is not going to believe addiction is a disease if we moms treat it like it is a disgrace.” ~Sandra Swenson

MinnPost

After fighting her sonʼs addiction for years, one mother learned to let go

By Andy Steiner 3/7/18

Sandra Swenson

As she watched her son Joey slip into addiction, Sandra Swenson became obsessed with his every movement.

“I literally was stalking him,” Swenson said, explaining that during Joey’s teenage years, her obsessive observation felt like good parenting: “I would go find him if he wasn’t where he was supposed to be. I had his passwords from early on in high school when he was doing college applications, so I’d check his emails, his Facebook posts, everything I could get my hands on.”

But when Joey’s struggles continued into adulthood, Swenson said her stalking grew out of control. She was trying to save her son’s life, she explained — but it got to the point that she had no life of her own.

“My husband would stand at the door of the den, literally blocking the way to the computer,” she recalled. “He’d say, ‘You shouldn’t be doing this. It is so unhealthy.’ ”

Despite her family’s tireless efforts to help Joey achieve sobriety, he bounced in and out of treatment programs (including Hazelden), dropped out of college, ran into trouble with the law, overdosed and attempted suicide. Swenson couldn’t help but feel like a failure. Filled with guilt and shame, she retreated into a sad sort of seclusion.

This kind of behavior isn’t unusual for mothers of addicted children, Swenson said.

“I think many mothers in the same situation hide from the world because we are so ashamed of what is happening to our children. We feel lonely and scared. We just flounder around in our fear. And that fear can cause us to act irrationally or obsessively.

Swenson’s obsessive focus on her oldest son’s every movement eventually had to stop. Joey was enrolled in yet another sobriety program when she realized that staff needed to know some of the things she’d covertly uncovered about her son’s addictive behaviors.

“I knew that if I told them I would have to explain how I learned that information,” she said. “There was a lot of shame in that, and a lot of fear about Joey’s potential reaction, but I told the truth. The gig was up. I was forced into doing something I should’ve done a long time ago.”

The realization that no matter how desperately she wanted to save her son, Swenson had to back off and let him live his own life was the inspiration for her first book, “The Joey Song” (Central Recovery Press, 2014), a memoir designed for parents of addicted children.

The book, Swenson said, “is about me trying to fix my son for years and finally realizing that that I couldn’t do that for him. I tried and tried and tried before I eventually realized that I had to do my part in this journey, which is separate from his part. It was incredibly difficult, but now that’s what I focus on now.”

Life after separation

After Swenson vowed to let go and let her son live his own life, the two developed an uneasy sort of truce.

Joey lives in Florida, and Swenson, who grew up in Minnesota, lives in Texas, so they see each other usually once a year. As far as she knows, Joey is still addicted, but Swenson resists the urge to ask him about it.

“There was a time when I would know exactly how he was doing in his addiction journey,” she said. “Now we don’t talk about it. We spend the time that we do have together making new pleasant memories so that we have something healthy left over when hopefully he does find recovery.”

Swenson believes that this truce is better than the alternative — which is her son cutting off all contact with his family — but it never feels like an easy solution.

“It’s not what any mother would dream of,” she said, “but it is way better than it could have been. I’m grateful for that.” 

Swenson’s second book, “Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers With AddictedChildren,” (Hazelden Meditations, 2017), grew out of that realization. It’s a support book for mothers struggling to maintain relationships with their addicted children, but it’s more than that: It’s also an acknowledgement of the innate power of mothers — even in situations that make them feel powerless.

It wasn’t an easy book to write, Swenson said.

“The first book was about Joey’s struggles, about my coming to terms with and even understanding that he had struggles at all. This book is focused on my part of the journey. As a mother, it’s hard to shift the attention back to yourself, but it’s what I had to do to maintain my sanity.”

Stronger together

Remember that isolation that so many mothers of addicted children retreat into? Swenson hopes that her books help them find a community of support that will help them navigate the torturous twists and turns of loving a child who struggles with substance use.

That’s where the title “Tending Dandelions” comes from.

“I feel like we moms are those deceptively delicate dandelions,” Swenson said. “We feel fragile, but together we’re strong and we’re many. We’re a movement now. We are starting to stand up and talk about this disease. Things have changed: I feel no shame about this disease whatsoever anymore.”

It helped Swenson to attend support groups like Al-Anon — and to meet people who had read her books. Finding a community helped her feel stronger and less ashamed. She wants the same thing for her readers.

“When I started to speak up about addiction I realized that I’m telling the addiction, ‘I’m fighting you for the sake of my son,’ ” Swenson said. Speaking up is noisy, she said, but that’s part of the deal. “We can’t fight addiction, we can’t break down stereotypes, if we’re quiet. The world is not going to believe addiction is a disease if we moms treat it like it is a disgrace.”

This summer, Swenson will be in Minnesota June 22-24 to lead a two-day workshop called “Mom to Mom: Where Love and Addiction Meet” at Hazelden’s Dan Anderson Renewal Center.

At the workshop, Swenson said, attendees will discuss “the struggle and the horrors of this thing called addiction, and how as mothers we can come to terms with the fact that we cannot do this for our children.”

Swenson said that she wants to show that letting go is not a sign of weakness.

“We have a lot of power as moms to overpower the destruction that the disease of addiction spreads. At the workshop, we will work on finding that power within ourselves by shedding the shame and the guilt and turning it into something that can actually do good. We want to change the way our community perceives addiction and make it an easier journey for our children.”

This will be the first workshop that Swenson has led. She can’t wait to get big group of mothers together in the same room — the energy they create has the potential to be unstoppable.

“I’m very excited,” Swenson said. “It’s going to be a wonderful weekend. I feel so connected to moms who are on the same journey as I am, moms who are trying to understand that sometimes help enables and hope hurts: We feel so helpless in the face of this disease, but together we are strong.”

 

Registration for “Mom to Mom: Where Love and Addiction Meet” is available online.

 

“There was a time when I would know exactly how he was doing in his addiction journey,” she said. “Now we don’t talk about it. We spend the time that we do have together making new pleasant memories so that we have something healthy left over when hopefully he does find recovery.” ~Sandra Swenson

 

Mom to Mom: Where Love and Addiction Meet

A Mom to Mom Retreat—Please Join Me!

June 22-24, 2018

Center City, Minnesota

 

We have the power to overpower the destruction that addiction spreads.

 

Moms vs Addiction

We may often feel fragile, but we are strong. And we are many. As parents, we have the power to overpower the destruction that addiction spreads. The power to trade shame and blame for strength. Sandy Swenson offers help and hope for parents living in the place where love and addiction meet—a place where help enables and hope hurts. For parents trying to figure out the difference between helping their child to live and helping their child to die. For parents grieving the loss of a child who is still alive. For parents needing to find a recovery of their own.

Hazelden
Dan Anderson Renewal Center
15251 Pleasant Valley Rd.
Center City, MN 55012

 

Fill out the perliminary registration form and we will contact you with final details.

 

 

Sandra Swenson is author of The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction and Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children. Sandra is a voice for parents, especially moms, living in the place where love and addiction meet.

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HAZELDEN BETTY FORD FOUNDATION PHOTO POLICY: By attending this public event, I hereby grant the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation the right to use and publish photographs and videos of me, or in which I may be included, for editorial trade, advertising, and any other purpose and in any manner and medium and to alter the same without restriction. I hereby release the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and its legal representatives and assigns for all claims and liability relating to said photographs and videos.

 

Directions to the Dan Anderson Renewal Center