When I met Stacy by phone just days ago, she was desperate for help, but unsure she could change. See, she had languished in a bucket of bad over many years in addiction. She’d literally been swimming in it.
If you’ve ever tossed a rock onto the face of pond, tried to skip it across the glass surface; you know the effect of that rock in that moment is significant. You can’t say it doesn’t change things. The water moves, little waves ripple out from the intrusion.
It’s like that in the life of an addicted mom like Stacy who arrives to The Dr. Oz Show with her husband and 2 tykes in tow.
She’s like that stone on the calm surface, again and again, making waves that aren’t meant to exist. That’s what her addiction has been like, the effect on her family. It has been consistently interrupting the surface. It has changed everything.
I say this not to pile shame upon Stacy. It’s just the truth. In her family, her husband and children are constantly affected by her addicted behavior. So when she asked for help – I saw this as a moment to help not only Stacy, but her husband Todd and her precious 2-year old son and 4-year old daughter as well.
In my work I travel from coast to coast and crisis to crisis. It’s dusty, frustrating work oftentimes, though as often it is a day full of laughter and light, drama, relief and tears.
I’m in Boise, ID today. I was last here 10 years ago more or less. I drove by the first house I ever bought, the same one I drank myself silly in again and again and again. I made lots of painful memories here in Idaho to go along with the good times. I love the people and the place though, and for the past 2 days I’ve had the chance to make new healthier, happier memories in a place that previously held pain and defeat.
I was a weather anchor at one of the Boise TV stations in the 1990s at the height of my active addiction. The drinking and drugs couldn’t be stripped from the experience. They were to emmeshed with one another.
This trip I’m making new sober references for a place that had few for me. I had a frozen yogurt with a colleague and had a meeting at the Governor’s office. The man that left Boise back in 1996 (me!) to conquer Washington, DC has changed tremendously. Gone are the booze and the drugs, missing are the pills and the pain.
I made it out to the other side of a joyful life.
Likewise, today (Tuesday, April 27, 2010) on The Dr. Oz Show, Stacy will have the chance to embrace faith and plan that can alter her life and the life of her precious family. Will she accept the help? Will it change her for good?
If she accepts help, she’ll be taking her kids to rehab with her, so it won’t be an ordinary intervention. When I considered the best treatment fit for Stacy and her family, I immediately thought of New Directions for Women in Southern California. This program is a nicely-priced one that allows addicted moms to enter treatment with their young children.
Generally, children have been intimately involved in the crisis of an addicted parent, so allowing them to be part of a parent’s recovery provides a powerful segue into change, for mom and children alike. Becky Flood, the Executive Director of New Directions joins us on today’s show. She’s an amazing clinician and I’m overjoyed that she’s flown in to New York City to join me in helping this precious family.
Stacy’s story is like so many. She got hooked on the pills to treat a legitimate physical pain that started years ago. The pain has gone away, while the pills’ chokehold on her life remains. Addiction’s path is progressive and powerful and quite frankly, a conundrum for those around the addicted person.
Do we step in, or step aside? Today we step in; to help and hold and enable healing. Will Stacy say yes to change? I’m leaning into hope on this one and hoping she accepts our help. Change begins!