☼ All I Want For Christmas Is My Son Back (From The Addict Who Stole Him)

All I want for Christmas Is My Son Back

Joey, with visions of sugar plums…

Do you see what I see?

A child, a child, stolen from my life.

Do you hear what I hear?

A very silent night.

Do you know what I know?

My son drags around his addiction like Marley’s chains, but only he can turn things right.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and I’m trying, but while roasting chestnuts and jingling bells, I grieve for Joey and his very tortured life. The joy of the season and the pain in my heart are like a tangle of tinsel, or competing garlands of flashing lights. 

This year, yet again, my youngest son will be home for Christmas, but my eldest son will not.

Joey’s stocking is no longer hung by the chimney with care, and none of the gaily wrapped presents tucked under the tree are for him. Long gone are the days of toy trains and blocks, pjs and robes, iPods and iTunes. Long gone are the days of giving gifts safe for an addict―gifts Joey couldn’t sell for cash, or fall off of while drunk, or cut himself on while high. Gone, even, are the days of giving a gift certificate for addiction treatment; Joey refuses to go to treatment ever again (and has repeatedly walked away or been kicked out in the past).

The last time Joey was in rehab, I collected photos of the people and places Joey loved more than anything in the world (well, until he loved the things that fed his addiction even more). Happy memories, warm memories, I carefully placed them into an album, hoping my gift would touch something deep inside Joey. Hoping to pull him back. But, before I could send my Christmas gift off in the mail, Joey walked away from the addiction treatment program, turning his back, yet again, on the help and the hope and even the order of the court. The album sits on a closet shelf collecting dust.

Sadly, visions of sugar plums are no longer what dance in Joey’s head. On Christmas, he will be far away. My heart cracks a bit just thinking of this. But Rick, my younger son, will be here; we will tear wrapping paper and toss bows and eat too many cookies and watch movies and play games―we will be making new memories, and these gifts of time are the ones that really matter. I don’t get to make new memories with Joey, though. The memories I have of him, of us, are old and dusty like the photo album abandoned on the shelf.

All I want for Christmas is my son back from the addict who stole him, but that’s not a gift I expect to find under the tree this year. Instead, I will wrap myself up in the peace of the season.

My wish is for you to do the same; find the peace of the season.

(And, Joey, if you are reading this, I wish the same for you, too.)

The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction  is available in bookstores and libraries.

93 thoughts on “☼ All I Want For Christmas Is My Son Back (From The Addict Who Stole Him)

  1. Rhonda Tremblay

    We lost our son two days ago to this horrible disease . Oh how I hate this disease…. To those of you who continue to struggle with this battle may you find the strength to get well…to those who lost this battle may you rest in peace.

    Reply
  2. Kathy Russell

    As a mother or three adult addict sons all I can do is cry as I read this. My heart is with you. I know these horrible feelings all too well…

    Reply
  3. Melissa Tenney

    Wow I felt like this post was talking about me. I have struggled with addiction for many years. I lost trust and self-respect. Drugs took over my life. Jail didn’t bother me. I did go to treatmet a couple of times too, that didn’t work. Please don’t give up hope. I lied and stole from anyone I could. I also pawned my christmas and birthday gifts. I sold my car for drugs right before I had to turn myself in to jail. On October of 2012 something came over me and I knew I needed an NA meeting. I had been in and out of NA and had seen people consistantly making meetings and living productive lives. So far I have been clean 3 years and I hope I never pick up again. I still go to 3-5 meetings a week and have a new recovery family. Nobody opened my eyes except through prayer.

    Reply
    1. Marci

      Good for you Melissa. Keep doing what your doing! I have lost my son. He OD this year. My daughter is also and addict and keeps avoiding treatment even though her brother died. I’m at a loss what to do to help her.

      Reply
  4. Lauren

    This is my first Christmas without my one ond only child who died from a heroin overdose in February. Where there is life, there is hope. He is no longer suffering from the relentless disease of addiction. I am thankful that he is at peace and hope and pray I will see him again. Until then I will go through the motions of life. Christmas does not exist for me this snow year. I dont know if it ever will again.

    Reply
    1. Jenn

      Lauren I’m a recovering addict. Your comment has touched my heart this morning. I’ve put together some clean time. This morning was rough. My disease was calling for me. After reading this I will not use today! I can’t imagine my mother alone in Christmas Day. I don’t think she could handle it. My heart hurts just thinking about it. God bless you. Today I will live my life for God, my family, and yours.

      Reply
  5. Elva

    My son was addicted to crystal meth for ten years. He was in and out of jail and treatment and seemed to be lost forever. I know the worry and the pain of seeing him live that lifestyle, when I knew where he was. As a counsellor with teens I had told many parents of addicts not to blame themselves but when I became one of those parents I found out how hard it was not to blame myself. I don’t know what happened but the last time he went to court he asked the judge for federal time so that he could get treatment in jail. He got that treatment and has been clean for over 9 years. He has also told me that it had been his decision to do the drugs and that it wasn’t my fault in any way. I pray that your son will finally reach that realization that this is not the life he wants and get the help he needs.

    Reply
  6. viki larson

    I am in this situation also only my daughter choose to b pregnet use whole
    time . Baby was born sugust 1 state of course is involved I was told on aug 21 by my daughter
    she went to treatment 6 months she was in dual diagnous I keep guard up
    I recived letter she hit 90 days I started to breathe next day I recived letter returned to me from there it was saturday I cslled monday hoping it was my shityy writting
    no she been kicked out the week b4 they wouldnt tell me sny more
    today is 3 weekd no contact from her
    my grandson has issues physical extra gets over stimulated exctra
    I am physucslly emotionally spirtually finicailly unable to b a foster home for him
    I live on other side of state I havent meet him unless she get head out of heer ass I wont
    I am crushed shattered devasted mad bitter sad depressed
    I am trying not to give up hope
    my other child my son bshy is due thursday
    so hard to feel excited happy while I starting to grief my other one

    Reply
  7. Sharon

    I sit here typing this and my son sits in jail due to his addiction. No one wanted to help decorate but it had to be done so I did it…all alone. and I cried, I cried for the loss of innocence not just the addicts but for the rest of the families. I cried because he wont be here with us. He wont be getting any gifts, no stockings. His little girl will be without her father on Christmas. Life is not supposed to be this way. Its not supposed to hurt like this. But addiction has given us something else, so I sit every day and I try to make the most of it. Sometimes its just going though the motions and hoping for a brighter day tomorrow. Sometimes when I’m all alone its letting the tears out and trying to find some peace in this mess. God knows I wish I could make my son stop… I tried for many years. I hope and pray that this is his bottom. I hope and pray that he chooses a better life for himself and for the rest of us. I miss my little boy so very much. I have not been able to hug him for almost a year know and I miss that contact. I worry all the time about how he is doing in there. he is not always honest with me when I go to see him and I know as only a mother can, All I can do is hold onto the HOPE I have

    Reply
  8. Cathie

    I am putting your family in my prayers. Merry Christmas to the Swenson family and may God watch over Joey forever and always. My heart goes out to you Sandy.

    Reply
  9. Terry

    I am in the same situation. We have been going through this for 10 years with our Son’s addiction. It has cost us thousands trying to help him. He has done two stints in prison and just recently released. It is breaking my heart because he is back on meth. He cooks it to support his addiction. I find myself angry, scared and saying horrible things to him and then I hate myself for it. I feel that I have had a nervous break down. It’s hard to concentrate on my job, and family. My son’s addiction has consumed my life. He is our only child even though he is now 37 years old. It is not if but when he will be caught and locked up again.

    Reply
  10. camille morrison

    Your book was inspirational and yet I feel the need to do something more.. So I am interested in making a TV movie about your story and have the finances and people that can help us..I am a mother of an addict and my story is yours.. So please contact me to discuss this opportunity to share with the world what we know and give us the ability to help others..

    Best Regards and Hope,

    Camille M

    Reply
  11. Hismama

    I am crying as I read these posts. How many of us are there that share this heartbreak ? Our journey began in June Now I wonder what the holidays will bring. We have put him thru rehab 2x He has relapsed, again. This time it was IOP We were so happy, laughing joking ….he has a new job (going well). Found a new roomie, with plans to move out in 30 days, hobbies are picking up, hope had come back to our home…. Now the relapse. We followed through with consequences, he had to leave. Now what is next?

    Reply
    1. Pamela Lowery

      I found you through some comments from a facebook page I am on..”The Addict’s Mom” I started reading your blog and all I can do is sit here and cry…my son drug of choice is meth…he is in county jail..they want to send him to prison…three years is what they are saying….possibly rehab….my heart is breaking

      Reply
    2. D

      Trust God ! Even when it seems impossible even when it hurts even when your weak … Trust him and know he is control and will take care of everything !!!

      Reply
  12. Maureen Wagner

    Sadly, our family is in the same situation. I am praying for the strength to get through the holidays. My son is now in jail. I find myself scrutinizing my every action….do I hang his stocking with everyone else’s. Should I visit him? Should I send him a Christmas card? What do I say to extended family members when they ask about him? Should I talk about him with his siblings when I know that it will make everyone sad? There’s no play book on how to handle this. I find myself reverting back to the “what ifs” and ” if only I did ______”….”why didn’t I do…._____..” I wish the holidays were in my rear view and I handled everything fine and my family still had a nice Christmas without my son. Truth is….they will probably have a nicer holiday without him around. And that hurts too.

    Reply
    1. amanda

      As a recovering addict who spent 5 holiday seasons in a row in prison please go see your son for Christmas. If your concerned whether he’d want to see you or not my answer would be you’ll never know unless you try. At the very least please send him a card with 20 dollars it will make a world if difference for him to know he not been forgotten or ignored at Christmas. Happy holidays

      Reply
  13. Sandra landry

    I am a member of Praying For Tim Facebook page where families post and ask for prayer for their addicted love ones! We are seeing miracles every week! God is answering prayers. Please join us in claiming God’s promises for our families.

    Reply
  14. Linda

    Sandy, thank you for your words. They reflect Christmas for, unfortunately, many families including mine. Please know that we understand and also wish peace for you and your family during this holiday season.

    Reply
    1. Becky

      It’s another holiday and I am always looking for hope……I am 66 and my oldest son is 44 and in jail…. I can’t even begin to talk about all of it at this time…… It’s just too much pain. This sight has been a blessing for me….. Thank you all….
      Becky

      Reply
  15. Melissa

    As a recovering addict, sober for 8 years, reading this and these comments I know how my family felt when I was out there. I don’t know the secret to getting and staying sober. I wish I did. I’d give it to all of you. Addiction is a horrible monster, stealing your morals, dignity, love, trust and everything else. Your loved ones may have moments when they want to change, they want to get better and stay sober. But it is so freaking hard. I tried multiple times before succeeding. Never give up on them. You don’t have to condone their behavior or choices. But if one day they decide, today is the day, today I am going to stay sober, be there for them. And just listen. Don’t tell them you know what they are going through because unless you’ve been there yourself you can never know the fight inside them. I pray that your loved ones win the fight. And to those who lost their loved ones, I am truly sorry.

    Reply
    1. Dianne

      Melissa: I too and a recovering addict and found comfort in your post. I too have family members who are/were affected by this horrible disease. unfortunately, all my information on recovery were of no use in saving my late son, Jason. he died in August 2012. nothing I said to him. nothing I tried to employ him to use or do helped. he even tried the methadone route which only amplified the problems and created worse disasters. his monster was huge and so hungry. it was so voracious that when he had nothing to use, he would go to a convenience store, or truck stop and purchase over the counter stimulant and sleep aids, taking whole boxes at once. he would end up like a walking zombie. it was horrible. he did not live with me, it was worse, he had a wife and children. I did not find out until later that he was doing drugs with his son, my grandson. my AGS is now in jail (for the 2nd or 3rd time – he has already been in prison once. same charge but he keeps messing up his probation.) there is a sign of hope there – he is in a type of Huber center instead of the main jail and therefore can attend a treatment program. this sounds hopeful. however, this boy has been doing drugs since he was 9. NINE. the idea of him quitting seems as probable as the congress and president agreeing on something good for the middle people in the country. (sorry to bring politics into it.) I still have hope though. I still pray. I still try to reach him. it doesn’t cost a thing to support him when he makes choices in a positive direction. I love this site. I love all the sites like this. they help. thank you for taking the time.

      Reply
  16. Heather

    Last Christmas I too felt similar. Only the addict I love and miss was/is my brother. I had a tree and all the gifts. A big family Christmas meal prepared. Almost everyone I loved and adored was there. Almost…my little brother Raymond was in jail. His addiction has been a long rode. My family has ridden the addiction train hand in hand with him straight to hell. I remember my mixed emotions about him not being there. At least he was safe? After all, it was rare that I ever knew where he was anymore. Jail was warm, safe and he was fed.
    Last Christmas seems almost like a different life. Sadly, on October 5th of this year 2014 just a few weeks after my brothers release from jail he passed. Heroin has finally one. This Christmas there will be no comfort in knowing where he is. No hope for a better Christmas next year. All there is is sadness and nostalgia for times when he and I were just kids and all that mattered was climbing trees and what time macgyver was on tv. Heroin has stolen from me my entire past. My entire childhood and my brothers entire future. If I were to be totally honest my brother has been gone for a very long time. The sweet, caring, enthusiastic and joyful little brother I loved was swallowed up and desposed of long ago by addiction. Spitting out little pieces of his soul along the way. In these moments at 1:03 am as I lay awake again typing. I think to myself I have to still fight. I can’t stop now. But how? Im not to sure just yet. But I will not stop. I fought for my brother for 28 years and will for the rest of my life. There has to be a answer a way to change the fate of all the sons, brothers, nephews, grandsons, daughters, sisters, nieces and granddaughters of this world. The sadness in my heart will inevitably last a life time. But so will my passion and love for my brother. And to everyone else. Don’t stop fighting. Dust off those books full of memories. Keep fighting. One day there will be an answer. There just has to be.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Oh, Heather, this just breaks my heart. I’m so sorry that you lost your brother to addiction. I will keep my memories polished. I will keep myself healthy. I will not let my sons addiction destroy me and my family so that one day, if Joey returns, he will find me waiting here, still strong, arms open. I will honor my son (not the addict), no matter what happens. Like you, I will believe that someday there will be an answer. Together we are stronger. Sending hugs.

      Reply
  17. Debbie Mahan-Bean

    I am also in the same situation. My son just turned 20 a month ago, and has been addicted to heroin for two and a half years. It breaks my heart every day. I never know if I am going to get that dreaded phone call in the middle of the night saying he is gone. I thank you so much for posting that holiday message. It was beautiful yet heartbreaking. To all of us moms with beautiful sons who are currently ravaged by this horrible disease, I wish us all to find some sort of peace. I will definitely be checking out the Facebook groups that you mentioned. One that I have joined is called heroin took away the child I love. It is so hard to go through this, knowing that my sweet, beautiful boy, has turned to lying, dealing, stealing, making countless promises to stop or that he has stopped. I cannot believe a word that comes out of his mouth anymore. And to see the physical destruction that this has caused is almost too much to look at. I pray to God every night that my son will find the strength somewhere within himself to stop being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Much love to all of you moms out there who along with me, go through this daily struggle.

    Reply
  18. Tom

    It always amazes me how similar all of our stories are! This will be the 4th Christmas that my son will not be at our table or opening Christmas gifts by the tree. In between there are many birthdays, Mother & Father’s Day dinners, Easters, July th celebrations etc. etc. that were also missed. We live in NYC and he is, thankfully in sober living and clean in Florida. We have made a decision to not allow him to live here in our home again…….people, places, things and sense of having no responsibility for his support is the reasoning behind our decision. It isn’t easy but we learn to live with it….we never accept it, we live with it, thankful for, for today, he is clean, alive and working his program . My heart aches for you and all parents, family member and friends who live with an addicted loved one. May they all find that peace of the season that you spoke of and maybe, just maybe, 2015 will bring peace and serenity to all of us ! We have to hold onto the hope that something will change! Never give up that hope!!!

    Reply
    1. Suzanna Stout

      I had to make a decision to “Let Go Let God” of my 18 year old son in 2011. He is alive. Supports himself through a factory job.

      He is not sober. Though at age 21 he has come to many realizations of the pain he suffered. The experiences lost. He’s talking about going to college, but afraid he cannot do it without living assistance. I’m considering allowing him to return to my home next fall.

      I too followed the guidance of the therapists and AA to not allow him to return. This is another tough situation for me.

      Praying I’ll make the right decision…and that he’ll find that sobriety is the only way.

      Reply
  19. Vicki

    Wow….I quite often read your blogs and I have a son who has struggled with sobriety for 13 going on 14 years. When he does jail time he is pleased with him good he feels sober…then when he gets out it only begins again. For the most part I have become stronger at pushing him away. We are careful what we purchase for christmas..last year we bought the new Xbox ….which now sits at a pawn shop…I still cry but never tell him….we pay his tent because we don’t want him here….it’s sad…..I hope Joey finds his way back and our Robbie too…..bless you Sandy for your words of wisdom I hope you have happy days ahead.

    Reply
      1. Gina

        Praying for Joey this Christmas Sandy!
        I still believe in Christmas Miracles, praying one for you, Joey and the family <3

        Reply
  20. SUsan

    To The Author; This has been my life for 13 years.,HOPE then HEARTBREAK, I am lost,confused ,broken, but trying to life my life each day My son from age 24 to present (38) has been an addict,first you try everything you can think of ,read about, etc. untill you find that you son THE JOY OR YOUR LIFE,lies,steals,uses your heart, and the deep LOVE a mother has for her children until you are broken beyond repair, I fight then I give up, I help, then I hide, I feel alone broken ,lost,DEAD INSIDE. Your story helps me know im Not alone although I feel I am ,I will PRAY for you and your son Joey ,and hope we find Love,Forgivness, and LIFE LONG RECOVERY,that will fill OUR HEARTS and MINDS with PEACE FINALLY PEACE..

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Susan, you have lived a lot of pain for a lot of years. I know the heartache, the roller coaster of hope and hurt and hiding away. Thanks for your prayers. I will keep you and your son in my prayers, too.
      “… hope we find Love, Forgiveness, and LIFE LONG RECOVERY, that will fill OUR HEARTS and MINDS with PEACE FINALLY PEACE.” Thank you, Susan. You are not alone. Hugs.

      Reply
  21. Stephanie

    I’d just like to give some hope to those parent struggling right now.
    I am a recovered addict. I am 25 and started treatment when I was 21. I used from 14-21.. so by the time I got treatment, I desperately needed it. Thanks to my counselors and my will to want to be clean surpassing my want to get high, I’ve been sober now for 4 going on 5 (this Feb) years. It is very possible for your children to get sober, however I find that the more the parents, friends, partners or family beg and plead and argue or try and force sobriety, the more the addict shoves them, even further away. I have told this to my ex’s mom whose eldest son is still battling addiction. They must want to be sober more than they want to be high and unless court ordered, they need to make that choice on their own accord. I wish you all the very best and I hope dearly your children will come around.

    Much love from a child addict.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Stephanie, thanks so much for sharing your perspective as a recovered addict. We parents need to hear from children like you… both for the hope you offer and for the in-the-trenches tips on how to best deal with our own addicted children. Congratulations on your hard work and success in achieving long term recovery. You and your family must be so proud. Thanks so much for reaching out. Big hugs to you.

      Reply
  22. katelyn

    Thank you so much for letting me read a little of your book.. . I’m an addict myself and have been struggling a lot these past six months (before that I had 1yr clean from anything mind altering)., currently I’m having a war in my head about wanting to use and not wanting to use. I’m trying my hardest to keep myself busy and not think about it, but that’s all I want just one more time I keep telling myself… or this time is the last time. And this battle has lasted another six months. Why do we do this to ourselves everyone would like to know…. its an uncontrolable urge that I can’t control right now. I don’t like to lie to my family but I do. I don’t like walking into work late because I had to drive 30 mins in the oppisite direction so I can get high first. I don’t know why I do the things I do and continue to self destruct my life. I have 2 siblings that I barely know because I was too worried about getting high than to get to know who they really are. The comments left above touch my heart because I got letters while in rehab from family trying to make me aware of the destruction I have caused in not only my life but the lifes of each of my loved ones. I’m sorry if I keep rambling but this is keeping me sober at this particular moment. So please for all you parents out there don’t give up on us I know sometimes you want to and ur mad and upset and heartbroken… we know you are but so are we. This life is not easy, its actually very exhausting. So when is enough, enough? * one is to many and a thousand is NEVER enough *

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Katelyn, I replied to you in a private email, but wanted to reply here as well. Hang in there. One day, one moment at a time. Do it for you and for all the people who love you. Do whatever it takes. Sending warm hugs and positive thoughts to you.
      Warm Hugs, Sandy

      Reply
    2. Stephanie

      Katelyn,
      Dear good Lord my heart aches for you in more ways than one. I know that feeling, that uncontrollable urge, the need we feel to escape from the morbid reality that is our daily life. I do not know where you live nor how old you are, but there is an amazing place called Four Circles Recovery Center here in North Carolina and they take an amazing approach to recovery and also offer financial help to those who apply. They incorporate the wildness and so much more to help get to the true Root of the reasons as to why you use and why and what triggers those thoughts. I do not know you, but I am you. I will keep you in my thoughts in the new year and I truly hope you get the comfort you so desperately are looking for.

      Kindest Regards from a recovering addict.

      Reply
  23. Judy

    Me too. The title of your blog rings true for me too. After reading the comments, I realize we’re far from alone. I just pray a lot and have faith that our sons will get well some day.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Judy, I saw on my FB page that you found my blog on Drugfree.org. There are so many of us searching for understanding and solutions. It is comforting (though so very sad) to find we are not alone. Have you found any of the groups for parents of addicts on FB? Or tried an Alanon group for parents? I’ll keep your son in my prayers, right next to Joey. Hugs.

      Reply
  24. Kelly Stainbrook

    I received that 2am phone call this Christmas morning that my 24 yr old heroin addicted daughter wanted bail from jail. Merry Christmas mom love you. Reading this site this morning has made it somewhat easier. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Kelly, what a difficult start to Christmas Day. I’m so sorry. But I’m glad you found a bit of peace here. Take care of yourself. You are important. Hugs!

      Reply
  25. Linda

    I feel your pain… My oldest son, my addict has been missing from my Christmas for 6 years… They say it gets easier with time but honestly every year it gets harder for me. They tell me one day he will come back to me and I think WHEN??? When is enough enough??? When will you get sick and tired of being sick and tired my son??? I miss you!!! Your little brother misses you!!! He’s growing up so fast and your missing it all!!! He looked up to you and even with your mistakes in life I encourage his memories of you and continue to nurture his need to remember the relationship the 2 of you both shared!!! Your still choosing the blame game instead of being accountable and my parents (your grandparents) still continue to enable you, and blame me while they choose to leave your little brother standing on the sidelines wondering…When is it MY turn to be loved by you??? I have turned it over to my HP… I pray every day for your health happiness and recovery… But honestly… When is enough enough??? All I can do as your mother, and I will always be that,is continue to pray and let go and let god…I love you from the very depth of my soul my first born son…Always have… Always will!!!

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Linda, your pain is so raw, even after six years. I understand that; I feel it too. I wish your son could read your words, that they might slip by the addict and sink in. But even if not, your words have been heard. All of us know how you feel. We are feeling it with you. You are not alone. Sending warm hugs to you.

      Reply
    2. Cheryl

      Oh Linda, I just happened on this site. I sit here with tears flowing. I am so so sorry for your raw pain. One day at a time. I wish there was a place for us. A 28 day stay where we could go to gather strength. I will think of you and pray for you.

      Cheryl

      Reply
  26. LCP

    This makes me so sad. The reality of my son going to prison for his addiction is starting to hit me like a brick wall. I can’t do Christmas. I can’t pretend it is OK when it is not. I want my son back. I just want him home. Last year at this time he was in rehab. 85 days clean. Gone. Back to heroin. Back to meth. Back to lying, stealing, doping, dealing. This is my reality. My son is facing prison. I am facing life without him.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Oh, LCP, my heart breaks for you. Addiction has whisked your son out of your life, again. There really are no words of comfort for this. You are not alone, though. Find peace and strength in support groups. Al Anon, FB groups for parents of addicts. We get throughout this by getting through it together. Hugs to you.

      Reply
  27. Heather

    My baby brother was\is an addict. He lives on the other side of the country and wont speak to me. The last time I talked to him he said he was clean. But I know better. Its been five years of dealing ng with this. Though im sure hes been an addict longer. We used to be so close. The loss of our mother makeing our bond stronger than most. But his grief was to much and life got the better of him. So every holiday evry day I do the same. Wrap myself in hope and love. All that I can get. But I still have the same picture in the same frame from when we were kids. And ill always hold it close when I miss him the most. Ill pray for your joey when I pray for my matt.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Heather, it is so hard loving an addict. Such a tragedy of lies and loss. Yes, wrapping ourselves in hope and love is sometimes all we can do. Tnaks for your prayers. I’ll be praying for you and your brother Matt to find peace in 2014.

      Reply
  28. heather

    I just lost My mother 11-17-13 to drugs and My younger sister struggles with the same addiction to the same drug and has lost everything due to the drugs, i.e.car, job, family,been arrested numerous times for drugs and recently been placed on corrections AND doesn’t have her precious little 9 yr old daughter and even the death of our mother isn’t enough to wake her up!!!!!!! I hate these dam drugs and What it does to people and the lives it destroys!!!

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Heather, I’m so sorry that the addiction of loved ones has had such a destructive presence in your life. I’m sorry about the recent loss of your mom to this horrible disease and I’m sorry for it’s grasp on your sister and its affect on your niece. Addiction is so powerful. It really is the destroyer of everything. I know virtual hugs aren’t enough, but it’s all I have. That and prayers. Sending you both.

      Reply
  29. holly

    Your addict is my addict too. I’m still trying to not be so heartbroken that I don’t find other good things in life. I haven’t given up yet and your post helped me today.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Holly, I’m glad my post helped a bit to get you through a tough day. I find strength, too, when others understand this heartbreaking world of addiction. You are not alone. Don’t give up… the people who love you need you. Warm hugs to you. (PS check out some of the FB groups for loved ones of addicts such as The Addicts Mom or Moms United To End The War On Drugs.)

      Reply
  30. Kathy Frasier

    You sum up the feelings for addict’s moms across the world who have memories sitting on the shelf of days past. Like always, loved your writing.

    Much love and blessings for a joyful Christmas surrounded by those you love, with Joey in your heart.

    Kathy

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Kathy, thanks so much for your kind words. You are a source of strength. Peace to you in 2014. Warm hugs!

      Reply
  31. Lisa

    Sending hugs your way. As usual you post invoke emotion in me, and make me tear up. Not everyone that reads this understands, but I do. Keep on writing, there are many out there that think they are alone, as I once thought. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Lisa, thanks so much for your kindness. I’m glad my words have touched something in you, that you feel a little less alone. Warm hugs to you. And a peaceful 2014.

      Reply
  32. Debbie

    This is the first Christmas in 32 years that I won’t have my son here. He is in jail and has a hearing tomorrow (12/19). He is supposed to get sent to residential treatment. I am so overwhelmed with emotion and sadness. My heart breaks for my little grandson who won’t have his father here on Christmas. Just hoping this will be the beginning of a long road of sobriety. Your posts (and those of others) give me hope. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Debbie, oh what a hard Christmas for you. So many levels of heartbreak. I too hope this is the beginning of the road to sobriety for your son (and all of you who love him). May 2014 bring some peace to your heart. Sending big hugs.

      Reply
  33. Katie

    This is my first Christmas without him. He is my first born and for 21 years he has been with me at Christmas. I don’t know how to “celebrate” without him. I’m so sad that it overwhelms all I say and do. just want to fast forward to January.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Katie, I’m so sorry. I know how hard this is for you. I know your sadness. Try as we might, some of the holiday merriment can’t help but fall into the hole where are addicted loved ones belong. I hope 2014 is better. Warm hugs.

      Reply
  34. rose

    Oh my goodness this touched me in a very different way, first Merry Christmas to you and your family………………………..
    I am an addict too in recovery for a few years now and you know I am still suffering the consequences of my addiction of 26 yrs. My own beautiful daughter is in labor today w/my second grandaughter first from this daughter her very first child and because of my choices my precious child asked me on the phone this morn mom why did you have me with him???Speaking about her still addicted father and my only answer is thank God I did that I have you …You girls are the best thing that ever came from him…. Prayin your son finds his way back b4 it’s too late my grandaughter was born @ 1:46 pm today I am blessed tobe sober alive and present for this wonderful gift…. Praying for your son and your peace this season

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Rose, congratulations you on your recovery. What a gift to your children. And grandchildren! What a blessing you have in all of them! And to be able to look forward, not back. Thanks for your prayers for my son. I will be keeping you in mine as well. Enjoy those grand babies!!

      Reply
  35. Chelsea

    My heart goes at to you as a child of addiction. My parents have fought and given up for many years. Make sure your remaining son knows how much you love and cherish him, and never take guilt with you in your heart. I’m sure everyone one of us, has asked the question, where did I go wrong? When a parent is the addict, the question is why didn’t they love me enough to stop? You made the right decision in distancing. I pray more people find that strength to do the same, myself included.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Chelsea, thanks so much for sharing your perspective as a child of addicts. And thanks for reminding me not to carry guilt in my heart. I draw strength from people like you. Big hugs.

      Reply
  36. Roseann

    Too many of us join you in this pain and memories of the times when it was different. Thank you for putting into words what we are all feeling. May you find strength to move through the holiday season and see the beauty that surrounds you.
    My prayers will go out for your son, the sons and daughters of other mothers and my own son for a Miracle to happen in each of their lives. I do not understand this journey so many of us are on.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Roseann, thanks so much for your prayers and kind words. Praying for you and your son and all the others on this journey, too. Hugs to you.

      Reply
  37. Misty

    My husband and I are both recovering meth addicts as of May 13,2013. I am very thankful that we were able to break free from the monster on our backs before it was too late! I hope one day your Joey and other addicts have this experience of what life could/can be away from addiction.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Misty, wonderful news that both you and your husband are in recovery. This is the best gift you could ever give yourselves, each other, and the people who love you. Congratulations on your hard work and success. I, too, hope for the same for my son and for all the other’s who are struggling. Hugs.

      Reply
  38. Laurie Ozmun

    I have not had my daughter home for any holidays in 6 years. She is still fighting this disease, You said what I have always wanted to with such deep thoughts and emotions. My Erin is in prison now and hopefully she will one day be home .

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Laurie, I’m so sorry. Such a long time to miss your daughter. We can always hope that our addicted children will find recovery and come back home. Many do. I hope you can find some peace this holiday season. Sending warm hugs to you.

      Reply
  39. Karen

    I received a Christmas card from my son Ash yesterday who is in jail because of his addiction, the card read To Mum and Paul Merry Christmas Love Ash, ps. I wish I was there with you guys xxx this card has made my year considering the last few Christmas’s have been nightmares. Ashley has been clean for almost 3 months, he will be released on the 5th of January, I can only hope and pray for him that this is the last time. Xxx

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Karen, what a lovely message from your son; I hope that next year he will be with you and your family. Three months sober now…a good start. Warm hugs to you. And Merry Christmas.

      Reply
  40. cveta gass

    This poem/letter is exactly what I have been going through for the past 5 years. Thank you for expressing it so eloquently.
    Good luck to you and your ENTIRE family. I will pray for Joey.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Cveta, I’m sorry you know this pain. Thanks for your warm words and prayers. You will be in my prayers, too. Hugs.

      Reply
  41. Michele

    Our addict will no longer be with us for any gatherings as she was taken from us in August. I have comfort in knowing she no longer suffers and we can begin to heal from many years of watching her deteriorate into a person who cared about everything yet cared about nothing, if that makes sense.

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Michele, I’m so sorry. And, I understand your feeling of comfort. I hope you can eventually find peace. Addiction is such a horrible disease. Sending warm hugs to you.

      Reply
  42. Kathy

    My heart is torn for you and your family ,, there is nothing like the love we have for our children, I hope and pray , someday they all come home to us! God bless you !

    Reply
  43. Karine

    This is my First Set of Holidays with my family after almost 3 years away…….My Self was an addict who didn’t care who i hurt my mom had to deal with 2 kids addicts….. I know will have 2 years clean……. I hope u one day get ur son back and get to make new memories with both of ur sons just have faith god bless and Happy Holidays

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Karine, so sweet of you to write. Congrats on your hard work and success; your mom is lucky to have you back. Thanks for your kind words. I will always have hope for more memories… Hugs to you!

      Reply
  44. Amie Crowell

    My heart is with you and your family. You are doing a good thing and hopefully it will help you heal as well as help others like myself. This will be my second Christmas without my brother, Aaron. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can ever do to bring him back. But I am thankful my youngest brother Trent is home for the first time in 3 years and clean and sober. I take my blessings over the heartbreak. I am eager to purchase and read your book as I do all of your writing. My Aaron is like your Joey and my Trent, your Rick. God Bless.

    Amie

    Reply
    1. Sandy Swenson Post author

      Amie, I’m so sorry about your brother, Aaron. I know your heartbreak. And, your blessing in having your other brother, Trent, with you and in recovery. Hold him tight. Find peace. Thanks for your kind words. Warm hugs!

      Reply
      1. Brittany

        I am so sorry about your son. I am a heroin addict and I have just been clean 6 weeks. Addiction hurts a lot of people and is very hard to understand. I am 24 and have been addicted for years, it is not easy to overcome. What you wrote touched my heart and I pray that your son find the courage to get clean, for his sake as well as yours. May God comfort you this holiday season. Merry Christmas to you.

        Reply
        1. Sandy Swenson Post author

          Brittany, how wonderful that you are in recovery now for six weeks. Every day is another day in the right direction. Your family is blessed to have you back. Thanks for writing, it gives me hope.I will keep you in my prayers. Merry Christmas to you. And, hugs.

          Reply

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