The most important story I’ve ever written wasn’t about a college football game. It isn’t about an athlete, a team, a trade, an injury, an ownership, a stadium issue, an Olympics or the NCAA. The most important story I’ve ever written was about addiction and recovery.
My son’s story. My family’s story. My story.
I wrote a “Personal Journey” with my son, Josh, who first went into treatment for an addiction to Oxycontin in the spring of 2011, just before his scheduled finals his senior year at the University of Georgia. Having written about athletes with drug and alcohol issues in the past, as well as growing up in the somewhat loose culture of California, I believed I knew a lot about the worlds of addiction and recovery. It turns out I knew very little.
Josh’s struggles and relapses in his first two years were painful for all of us. But our lives today are better off for it. My wife, Jeanne, and I have gained a new perspective and live our lives completely differently, one based on spirituality, gratitude over expectations and understanding the concept of powerlessness.
We wanted to help our son recover. But we learned the hard way that was out of our hands. Understanding powerlessness is the most difficult lesson for both the addict and the parent.
Addiction, whether we’re talking about drugs, alcohol, food, gambling or anything else, is a one-day-at-a-time battle. Josh is approaching two years of consecutive of great days.
Why are we telling this story? Because Josh and I believe if we can help just one addict, one parent or anybody who has been touched by addiction and mental illness, it will be worth it. It’s the final step of any 12 Step program: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
I hope you read the Personal Journey in Sunday’s paper or online. A closer look at our story: