With all the current talk and press coverage, addiction and those struggling with addiction, have fi nally gotten a lot of needed attention. Unfortunately, the parents and families who have loved ones struggling with addiction are often over-looked. Luckily, my husband and I discovered the New Jersey Parent Support Group after learning of our daughter’s drug addiction ten years ago. Through their support, we were able to get the help and guidance we so desperately needed in our lives and were able to get her into treatment. She has now been clean and sober for 61/2 years. We also have a son who has been in recovery for almost three years.

Through it all, I have continued to attend meetings as a way to give back to this wonderful group that helped save my family.

Last year, another long-term couple in the group lost their
son who had been in recovery out of state. It was tragic
and unexpected. Group members rallied to their support, causing me to closely examine the purpose of our group. This was the result.


We sit in the circle for an hour, sharing our loss, struggle,
sadness, frustration, and anger.
We lay bare our soul while being invited to witness the same in others.
We share secrets with the circle that the people closest to us may never know.
We each come to the circle for the same reason, but we are each on our own journey. We travel next to one another. Each ones journey is similar, but not the same.
Week after week we return, until that hour becomes a month, two, six, a year…
We offer and receive support through slips, falls, and obstacles.
We celebrate successes, progress, healing, and life.
Sometimes that hour reaches across years.
We draw strength and courage from each other’s forward movement.
We celebrate milestones reached and strategize pitfalls and obstacles.
We become friends in a way we could never explain to someone outside our circle.
Sometimes, there is a loss. It is deep, profound, and painful.
It’s a combination of grief, anger, and fear.
Grief over the loss, anger over its senselessness, and fear
because it reminds us that we come to this circle one day at a time.
Next year, next month, even just tomorrow…nothing is guaranteed.
There’s no life-time warranty. There’s not even an extended one available for purchase. That’s in someone else’s store, not in ours.
And so, we return to the circle…for an hour, for now, for today.
Gradually, we can begin to hope again.
We draw comfort from the others, we offer ours to them.
Life, as we’ve come to know it, goes on.

-Kathi I.