A Very Fine House – Interview with Author Barbara Cofer Stoefen

Lisa Frederiksen interview with Barbara Cofer Stoefen, author of "A Very Fine House: A Mother’s Story of Love, Faith and Crystal Meth "I recently finished reading Barbara Cofer Stoefen’s book, A Very Fine House, a Mother’s Story of Love, Faith, and Crystal Meth, and my first word reaction was, “Wow.” Wow in the way one feels after reading something so powerful, so compelling, one knows it’s going to take a while to let it all sink in.

In her book, Barbara captured the roller-coaster ride a person (in her case, a parent) experiences as their loved one’s drug or alcohol use spirals out of control, taking family members and friends along with them. But she also shared something often overlooked: the fight to save oneself and the other non-using family members. In so doing, she finds the wisdom and courage to set boundaries that eventually helped her daughter find recovery.

The best part is her daughter, Annie, did find recovery and so did Barbara and their family. With wit, humor, honesty and a compelling writing style, Barbara shares her story of courage, strength and hope, and I am honored to share my interview with her in today’s post.

Thank you Barbara Cofer Stoefen for sharing this interview with BTC readers!

Thank you Barbara Cofer Stoefen for sharing this interview with BTC readers!

Q. Please set the stage for us by telling a bit about your family in the early days, prior to Annie’s spiral into addiction.

I often tell people we were the family this could never happen to. Not because we’re so great, or so special, but because we were a regular family. I thought addiction only happened in what many might call a dysfunctional family… or a bad family. Whatever that is. My husband and I were devoted, attentive parents, and we participated in every aspect of our kids’ lives. Meth addiction? No way. That was never going to happen to us. The four of us did everything together, and my husband and I talked to our kids, Annie and Jeff, about absolutely everything, including drugs. Plus, we knew they were just too smart to even go there. We of course worried about alcohol and driving, alcohol and pregnancy, alcohol and swimming, alcohol and overall recklessness. But not alcoholism. And I rarely worried about marijuana because marijuana’s, well, just not that big a deal… right? Or so I thought.

Q.  As the saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” With that hindsight, please share some of the early signs there was a problem and what you would do differently, now, to confront Annie’s deft deflections regarding the concerns you expressed. 

I’ve asked myself this questions a zillion times and keep coming back to the same conclusion: We do the best we can with what we know at the time. If I had a do-over though, I would likely let my daughter fall and fail more when she was growing up. I was too quick to help; too quick to rescue. I mistakenly thought that if I modeled everything for her… that is, DID things for her, and TOLD her how to solve problems, she would learn from me. Big mistake. People of course learn by DOING themselves. The net result was a very bright, very capable girl, but with poor coping skills. Some of that was inherently Annie, but I could have done a better job preparing her for the world.

In terms of my reaction to the onset of substance issues, I believe I was more ignorant than what we classically refer to as “in denial.” When drinking began to look like a problem, I figured she could/would just stop whenever she wanted/needed to. I didn’t know people her age could be alcoholics. And the many problems she experienced at college I thought were mental health issues (i.e. depression, anxiety). They were in part, but it never occurred to me she had started experimenting with hard drugs. That was just so contrary to who I believed my daughter to be. But when she ultimately told me she’d begun using meth, well, that was a game changer. My husband and I then caught on pretty quickly that we needed an aggressive game plan, and we became relentless with allowing negative consequences. We couldn’t stop her, or change her, but hoped that whatever life dished out would get her attention.

Q.  You spoke openly of Annie’s addiction and your struggles with your family, friends and community members. Do you think that helped? What were people’s general reactions?

Speaking openly with people about what we were facing really saved me. I’m a person who needs to talk and to process stuff, so it felt natural to me. I was also so floored by what we were experiencing, and felt I needed to warn others. It seemed if this could happen to our family, then it could happen to anyone! I know that sounds like a completely “duh” kind of statement, but I really was that clueless about addiction.

I don’t remember any judgmental comments from others, and never had the feeling people were talking about our family in a nasty way. We were a nice family and I just assumed people knew that. I may be kidding myself… maybe people were talking behind our backs and I was completely clueless.

But we only received helpful support from family and friends. I did wonder about one person though. There was a woman in our neighborhood who had never really liked me and she didn’t like Annie. You know, the kind of mom who thinks her kids are perfect and she made them that way. I did wonder if she was having a field day with our misfortune. Didn’t care though.

Q.  Describe your reasons for and what it was like to call the police on your daughter.

Pete and I came home from work one day and found our bedroom had been broken into through a window off the roof. After some investigation, I realized my mother’s pearls were gone, and some cash and a few other pieces of fine jewelry. But the rest of the house remained untouched. We knew instantly it must have been Annie, and had actually learned in our support group that her stealing from us could be a possibility.

Our instincts as parents is to protect our children, and it’s unlikely my husband and I would have conjured up the courage to call the police about Annie had it not been for the support group. Other parents had told stories of holding their children accountable in this way, so we adopted the idea as a way to intervene. It’s a pretty bold move, and terrifying, but Annie was already involved with the criminal justice system. She’d been in jail before, so the idea of having her there again wasn’t quite as surreal as it may have been otherwise.

My biggest fear was whether or not she’d ever forgive us. Sounds funny now… if she’d forgive us. Her call from jail a few days later was really eye opening. She said, “Mom! What kind of parents have their daughter arrested?!” To which I replied, “You’re asking the wrong question, Annie. The real question is ‘what kind of child steals from her parents?’”

I’m happy to report that when Annie entered into recovery, she did indeed forgive us. We all forgave each other.

Q. I especially loved this sentence, “How do I write a broken heart?” Please share how things were for you and your family at that time.

Having a child in the throes of addiction is to experience profound grief. I’ve never lost a child to death, but it comes as close to death as I can imagine. We lose what they used to look like, smell like, we lose their health, we lose their companionship, we lose the pride we once had in them, we lose the very essence of them… because they truly have become someone else. Also, parents are often the target of a great amount of wrath coming from their addicted child, and it often feels we’ve lost their love too. But maybe most important of all is we lose our dreams for our child… our hope for their future. Because we doubt they have a future. And we lose all of these things over and over and over again. It’s like a wound that never heals and continues to split open.

So the family lives with daily grief, with daily loss. The family also lives with constant upset because of the havoc someone in the throes of addiction can wreck on others. There’s often middle-of-the-night phone calls, angry rants, demands, interrupted holidays, and of course the criminality that often goes hand and hand with addiction. We were on a first name basis with many police officers and people in the judicial system.

Oh, and there’s drama. Lots and lots of drama.   

Q. You share how helpful the Meth Friends and Family Support Group (MFFSG) was to your and your husband’s recovery. Please described how this group helped and whether they have chapters elsewhere.

Our Meth Friends and Family Support Group here in Bend was launched years ago by a nurse who worked at the hospital. Her daughter was in recovery from meth addiction and, frustrated by the lack of resources in our community, she wanted to provide support to others. Different from Al-Anon, which I highly recommend, this group provided more practical support, rather than spiritual self-help. (Both are important.) We talked, shared stories, and had community leaders visit as speakers. We heard from people in law enforcement, the judicial system, parole and probation, the jail, health care providers, and counselors. We became educated on addiction, and the group empowered us to make hard decisions. Interestingly, about 80% of the families represented in that group have loved ones who have sustained long-term recovery.

Over time, the group dwindled and there were no newcomers. So we disbanded. But since my book was released, people local to Central Oregon have contacted me and expressed interest in the group. So I started a new one! We’re called Life Raft now, and most of the parents who attend have an adult child addicted to either heroin or meth.

If your readers want to start a group in their own community, Lisa, anyone can do it. Simply find a public place to meet, and put the word out on social media. I’m happy to offer tips to anyone who wants to contact me.

Q.  What do you consider the three most important facts about addiction that family members, friends and society in general need to know.

I think what’s important is different for families, friends, and for society in general. I look at it this way:

Families need to:

  1. Know they didn’t cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it. (Al-Anon slogan)
  2. Get support. We can’t go through this alone.
  3. Work on their own recovery. The person with the addiction isn’t the only one with problems. Everyone in the family needs to do their own part to heal. This is more critical than most people realize.

Friends need to:

  1. Listen compassionately
  2. Withhold judgment. If you don’t have addiction in your family you’re fortunate, not special.
  3. Bring casseroles (literally and figuratively). A loved one in jail or treatment is just as unsettling to a family as a loved one in the hospital.

Society needs to:

  1. Become informed. Addiction is a devastating disease, not a moral failing.
  2. Support the movement to treat rather than incarcerate. Putting sick people in jail doesn’t make them better.
  3. Vote for those who “get it.” It will change the world.

And EVERYBODY needs to pray for those who suffer. Prayer requests can be posted on my website:http://www.barbaracoferstoefen.com/postings-of-hope/ 

Q.  You write, “My journey with Annie through her addiction has changed me in almost every way.” Please share what you mean by this sentence.

Had my daughter not become addicted to alcohol and other drugs, I would likely still be the entitled, “I’m better than” person I once was. Mind you I was a nice entitled, “I’m better than” person. LOL. But I once thought our nice little family had been my doing, rather than the result of a lot of good fortune. I thought I could control the wind. I thought I could control life. I now know my daughter’s difficulties were not my fault, any more than I can take credit for my son’s achievements. There is much in life I can’t control or change, I can only adjust my sails

My definition of what constitutes a “nice” family and a “nice” life is now much different than it used to be. I’m privileged to now have many “drug addicts” I call friends, and a daughter who has taught me more about life than I have likely taught her. There is wisdom in the recovery community we can all benefit from! I find my judgments are fewer, and my view of the world is broader. I think I love better. My faith is deeper, too, and more about compassion rather than dogma.

It’s tempting to say I’m glad all of this happened, but I’ll refrain for fear that life will deal me another big lesson to learn. I’m happy with this one for now.


You can read Barbara’s full story in her book, A Very Fine House: A Mother’s Story of Love, Faith and Crystal Meth  (Zondervan/Harper Collins, 2014) It’s an intimate memoir of anger, pain, and loss. But it is also a story of transformation, of stepping back and stepping aside, of love redefined. Barbara’s obsession to save Annie at all costs, and her rage against God for allowing drugs to devour her college-age daughter, gave way to new insights about herself. Annie’s addiction changed them both. 

To connect with Barbara via social media, please find the following:





Barbara also welcomes you to contact her via her website – here’s her contact link: http://www.barbaracoferstoefen.com/contact/

Using the Science of Stress to Change Emotional | Physical Health

In my work with various groups and individuals, it’s been my simplification of the science of stress that has especially resonated for many of my clients, because stress is the underpinning of the impacts of secondhand drinking and often of alcohol and other drug misuse, as well as the success of one’s recovery.

So I was particuarly taken with Maria Popova’s July 20, 2015, article, “The Science of Stres and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease.” Ms. Popova does a beautiful job of explaining “how our minds and bodies actually affect one another” within the context of stress and Dr. Esther Sternberg’s book, “The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions.” As Ms. Popova writes in her article,

…[N]o researcher has done more to illuminate the invisible threads that weave mind and body together than Dr. Esther Sternberg. Her groundbreaking work on the link between the central nervous system and the immune system, exploring how immune molecules made in the blood can trigger brain function that profoundly affects our emotions, has revolutionized our understanding of the integrated being we call a human self. In the immeasurably revelatory The Balance Within: The Science Connecting Health and Emotions (public library), Sternberg examines the interplay of our emotions and our physical health, mediated by that seemingly nebulous yet, it turns out, remarkably concrete experience called stress.

Understanding emotions through the Science of Stress

Understanding emotions through the Science of Stress

Why Understanding the Science of Stress can Help

As my readers, audiences and clients report, it’s understanding the science of stress that has given them the tools to re-wire, to heal their brains and thereby heal their physical and emotional health. I enourage to read Ms. Popova’s article and leave you with one last quote – in this case, one of her quotes of Dr. Sternberg’s, “Rather than seeing the psyche as the source of such illnesses, we are discovering that while feelings don’t directly cause or cure disease, the biological mechanisms underlying them may cause or contribute to disease.”

Click here to read…

Dealing With a Passive Aggressive Partner | Guest Author Darlene Lancer

In famlies where there is (or has been) active addiction, there generally is (or also has been) active unhealthy coping skills developed by the person whose been grappling with their loved one’s drinking or drug misuse behaviors (aka secondhand drinking | secondhand drugging, aka codependency). Generally this happens because that person does not understand the nature of the brain disease of addiction (why it develops, the risk factors for developing it, the distinction between abuse and addiction, etc.). And as a result of how that person has learned to cope with those behaviors, that person often develops a passive-aggressive approach in their relationships.

It is a complex dynamic to be sure and here to help us understand is a frequent guest author on BreakingTheCycles.com, Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT. Darlene is the author of Codependency for Dummies and Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You, and her latest eBook is titled, Spiritual Transformation in the Twelve Steps

Darlene can be reached at info@darlenelancer.com or you may wish to follow her on Facebook or visit her website www.whatiscodependency.com.

Darlene Lancer, author of "Codependency for Dummies," shares her post on living with a passive-aggressive partner.

Darlene Lancer, author of “Codependency for Dummies,” shares her post on living with a passive-aggressive partner.

Dealing with a Passive-Aggressive Partner by Darlene Lancer

Passive-aggressive partners are generally codependent, and like codependents, suffer from shame and low self-esteem. Their behavior is designed to please to appease and counter to control. You may be experiencing abuse, but not realize it, because their strategy of expressing hostility is covert and manipulative, leading to conflict and intimacy problems.

Characteristics of Passive-Aggression

Because you can’t have an honest, direct conversation with a passive-aggressive partner, nothing ever gets resolved. They say yes, and then their behavior screams NO. They try to sabotage your wants, needs, and plans using a variety of tactics. We all engage in some of these behaviors some of the time, but when there’s a pervasive pattern of multiple symptoms, it’s likely that you’re dealing with passive-aggression.

  • Denial
  • Forgetting
  • Procrastinating
  • Obstructing
  • Ambiguity
  • Never angry
  • Incompetency
  • Lateness
  • Negativity
  • Playing the Victim
  • Dependency
  • Withholding

There are a myriad of other things they might do, like slamming doors, giving away something of yours, or offering you dessert that you’re allergic to or when you’re dieting.

What You Can Do

Passive-aggressive people act passive, but express aggression covertly. They’re basically obstructionist, and try to block whatever it is you want. Their unconscious anger gets transferred onto you, and you become frustrated and furious. Your fury is theirs, while they may calmly ask, “Why are you getting so angry?” and blame you for the anger they’re provoking.

Because a passive-aggressive person is indirect, it may be hard to recognize what’s going on, but it’s essential that you recognize whom you’re dealing with. Look for a pervasive pattern of several of the above symptom, and monitor your feelings. You may feel angry, confused, or powerless when trying to get cooperation. If this is a common pattern, you’re likely dealing with passive-aggression.

It’s important not to react. When you nag, scold, or get angry, you escalate conflict and give your partner more excuses and ammunition to deny responsibility. Not only that, you step into the role of parent – the very one your partner is rebelling against. Don’t be vague, drop hints, blame, or allow yourself to pay-back in kind.

Neither be passive, nor aggressive. Instead, be assertive. It’s far better to address noncompliance and problems in the relationship directly. Frame it in terms of “We have a problem,” not “You are the problem,” which is shaming. Don’t blame or judge your partner, but describe the behavior you don’t like, how it affects you and the relationship, and what you want. If you let your partner come up with a solution to a problem, there’s a better chance of resolution.

When you go along with your partner’s tactics or take on his or her responsibilities, you enable and encourage more passive-aggressive behavior. It would be similar to nagging your child, but allowing the youngster not to do his or her chores. This takes practice and requires being assertive. Be prepared to set boundaries with consequences. See my blog, “10 Reasons Why Boundaries Don’t Work.” For suggestions on dealing with passive-aggression, write me at info@darlenelancer.com for “12 Strategies for Handling Manipulators.” Practice the tools in How to Speak Your Mind- Become Assertive and Set Limits.

©Darlene Lancer, 2015

Jim Anders Shares His Story of Addiction Recovery

It is my great pleasure to introduce Jim Anders, former advertising copywriter and the author of All Drinking Aside and the blog, AllDrinkingAside.com. Jim has graciously agreed to share the story of his alcohol addiction and the recovery journey he’s taken as today’s Face of Recovery. He first got into recovery in 1996 and then replapsed several times, which is so important to understand, because “relapse is a cardinal feature of addiction.” It does not mean a person doesn’t want recovery badly enough or that treatment failed, rather it means treatment needs to be adjusted. Jim has now been in recovery continuously since 2004, and he welcomes your emails at janderspub@gmail.com. You can follow Jim on Twitter @JimAnders4

Why share?

There is a great deal of confusion, stigma, shame and discrimination surrounding addiction and addiction treatment and recovery. Yet those who have the chronic, often relapsing brain disease of addiction and are in recovery live healthy, productive, engaged lives — the same kinds of lives as people who do not have this disease. But all the words and definitions and explanations in the world are not as powerful as the people themselves. To that end, we are grateful to the people in recovery who have decided to share their experiences. Please meet Jim Anders – Today’s Face of Recovery.

Jim Anders, author of "All Drinking Aside," shares his story of Recovery, which has been continuous since June 18, 2004.

Jim Anders, author of “All Drinking Aside,” shares his story of Recovery, which has been continuous since June 18, 2004.


How did your addiction start?

I started drinking at 16 and for 30 years my alcoholism progressed from being a few drinks occasionally to daily drinking, nearly daily blackouts and binges becoming the new normal. Like most teens, confused, I remember my father saying that I would be treated as an adult when I started to act like one. Drinking and smoking cigarettes would be a way to act myself into adulthood. My college years included marijuana, LSD, speed, valium and a host of whatever else was available. Alcohol was always available, always legal, always acceptable. What started as a relative trickle turned into a river as the years passed and my momentum increased. Finally, and for well over a decade, my active alcoholism had become a runaway train.

What was the turning point for you – what made you want to get sober?

I never wanted to get sober, Lisa. Ever. Once entrenched in my addiction I could only picture living and dying with a drink in my hand. I like the way I express it in my book: “By the time I had a reason to get sober, reason no longer had anything to do with it.”

What was your initial treatment?

Warnings from friends that I should consider slowing down on my drinking turned into visits to the emergency room several times and then two or three week stays at a detox. Fully, I know what a dry drunk is because after leaving a detox I would invariably pick up almost immediately, meaning hours, not days later.

My first real treatment was a two-week stay at a rehabilitation hospital, which the hospital emergency room had arranged for me. They had tired of my revolving door visits to them after failing so miserably at the detox they had initially sent me to. That was an intense experience after which I stayed sober for an entire year while bar-tending. Each period of sobriety and each relapse contributed to where I’m at today: eleven years clean and sober. Without my initial rehab experience, I doubt I could have remained sober on my own.

Do you do anything differently, today?

Bordering on cliché, my life is completely different today. The only structure I had when drinking was a crumbling edifice maintained solely for the purpose of finding the next drink. Truly, I lived entirely in a bottle of liquor for well over a decade of my thirty year drinking career.

Today, with the exception of a few co-workers, all my friends are in recovery today. My life is a safe haven constructed to maintain sobriety. A good part of that is my involvement in helping others.

I am responsible today. The usual maturing process of a teen becoming an adult I somehow bypassed. In many ways, my last ten years of continuous sobriety have been a continuation of the maturing process of the teen I was before my first drink.

What is your life like, now?

Jim Anders is the author of All Drinking Aside.

Writing my book has changed my life, Lisa. While working on the final edit of “All Drinking Aside,” I met a retired psychiatric nurse who is also in recovery. Less than a year after publication, we became housemates and I have a home life today. I never had that after my teens until now. Consistently, for thirty years, I would finish my job for the day and spend eight hours on a bar stool before blacking out, passing out and starting the hamster wheel in motion again when my alarm clock blared.

Also, I’m approaching retirement age myself and am coming to terms with growing old, living sober and helping others.

A life in balance. Yes. That would sum it up – a life in balance.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with someone currently struggling with a substance abuse problem or an addiction?

To anyone struggling with substance abuse, I can only repeat what has been drummed into my brain, which is “surrender to win.” I always tried to control my addiction, to make it manageable, and that never worked out before my first sobriety or after many relapses. The only way that I could win over addiction was complete surrender. That sounds horrifying and perhaps impossible for anyone early in recovery. Recovery seems like a punishment at first. But it’s not. There’s nothing that a drink can fix. I no longer miss its absence.

I would say that it gets better, it will get better and there is no other solution.

Do you have anything you’d like to share with family or friends of those who struggle with substance use disorders?

Build a network with others in recovery. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Group therapy, recovery meetings, individual counseling, whatever it takes. Do what you must do to remain sober. It’s your life, but it will not be your life if you pick up a drink.

For me to pick up a drink is “suicide on the installment plan.”

What is the best part about your recovery?

The best part for me has been regaining the clarity of mind and endurance of spirit to complete a book which has already proven to be of help to others. Resilience, growth, a million little appreciations that drinking had closed off.

To be fully present, not looking for a drink a foot away or a minute away. Serenity is possible sober. Oh, so much, is impossible in the drink. For me.

A toast to you, Lisa! Thanks for asking me to share. My sobriety is now a little bit on firmer ground. Knowing that you have helped me move forward is a gift.

Thank you so very much, Jim, for sharing your story, and CONGRATULATIONS on 11 years RECOVERY!

LGBT Rights Win Big | Addiction Recovery Can Too

I was deeply PinkTriangleSFmoved when I looked to my left as I was driving into San Francisco, today, and saw the pink triangle atop Twin Peaks (moved enough to risk snapping a photo and grateful traffic had slowed to a crawl).

For those who are not familiar with the Pink Triangle’s significance and history, it was first unfurled in SF on Pride Weekend in 1996 as an “educational tool for all to see,” because it was the triangle color the Nazis required homosexuals wear in the concentration camps.

What so deeply touched me on seeing this powerful emblem was the recently reported, DRAMATIC 10-year shift in Americans’ attitudes towards same-sex marriage, having moved from 53% OPPOSED in 2005 to 57% in FAVOR in 2015.*

Talk about crossing a discrimination threshold!

I then ruminated on how those installing the Pink Triangle this year must have felt to be doing it the day after the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Talk about another discrimination threshold crossing!

And then my thoughts turned to the Addiction Recovery Movement and the incredible oppportunity we have to UNITE to Face Addiction and Stand up For Recovery.

Because that’s exactly what the LBGT movement did. They united; they rallied; they advocated; they spoke out; they educated; they withstood prejudice, discrimination, stigma, misinformation, persecution and shame. They stood proud. And slowly – oh so slowly but determindly – they kept at it until they won. Not that they’ve won it all by any means but they have shifted an entire country’s attitudes. And it’s attitudes that matter for they are what change laws and minds and communities and schools and justice systems and families and civil rights…. They are what can move a country to cross discrimination thresholds.

Addiction Recovery Can Too

It’s our time to change attitudes.

23+ million Americans struggle with addiction, but only 10% get the help they need

23+ million Americans are in recovery

100 million family members are affected by a loved one’s substance use disorder — the moms, dads, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents, husbands, wives, inlaws, boyfriends, girlfriends, close friends…, aka the people who struggle with Secondhand Drinking | Secondhand Drugging.

Together, WE total some 146 million Americans – that’s more than one-third the American population!

And WE are UNITEing to FACE ADDICTION and STAND UP for RECOVERY on Octber 4, 2015, to end our silence.

So please, join this transformative event being organized by Facing Addiction Inc., a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to finding solutions to the addiction crisis, as well as an independent coalition of national, state, and local non-profit organizations. It’s taking place on The Mall in Washington, D.C.

Addiction is a Family Disease - Families UNITE to Face Addiction 10.4.15

UNITE to Face Addiction and Stand up for RECOVERY 10.4.15

For when we unite the voices of the family with those struggling and those in recovery, WE bring the power of more than one-third of the American population to stand up:

  • for effective treatment, prevention and intervention
  • for better legal, social and health-care policies around mental health and risk factors
  • for an end to the war on drugs
  • for adequate health insurance coverage to treat both sides of this family disease
  • for dignity and respect and compassion and understanding for those who struggle with this disease
  • for an end to the stigma, misininformation and shame about a treatable, preventable brain disease and the people who have it – a disease from which one can absolutely RECOVER if/when they can/do treat their disease
  • for crossing a movement’s worth of discrimination thresholds

Get the Facts, Plan to Attend, Become a Partner and Share Why You’re Going

Find out what this event is about, who’s going, who’s partnering, how to get there and so much more by clicking here for UNITE to Change Addiction FAQs.

Plan to attend. I realize we are all so very busy and often personal finances are low, but if there’s any way you can gather one or two friends to split the costs, please plan to be there, and/or encourage your friends in the area to try and make it. And, if you can’t, please do what you can to share the message with your social media contacts, doctors, mental health care professionals, teachers, administrators and whomever else you can think of who needs to know that recovery is real, it happens to real people and it happens all the time!

And if you plan to go – share why you’re going. And if your organzation wants to Partner with UNITE to Face Addiction, click on this link, Become a Partner Organization, to learn more (when you’re there, scroll down a ways

This is OUR opportunity to unite those in recovery, those who struggle with substance use disorders and those who love them to end the silence. And when we end the silence, we shift attitudes – we end the stigma, secrecy, misinformation and shame that allows this public health concern – this brain disease – to march unchecked through lives. And when we shift attitudes, that’s when we cross our own discrimination thresholds.


* Pew Research Center, Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage, “Present who…” graph – hover over year for figures to appear.

©2015 Lisa Frederiksen