Personal Stories

Get advice and perspective from families who have also been impacted by substance use or addiction.

My son was repeatedly failed by the systems that were supposed to support him

On July 9, 2021, we lost our oldest child, Rory, to an opioid overdose. He was 29 years old. Summarizing the last 20 years of Rory’s struggle with ADHD, mental health and substance use feels daunting. I remember the day he was born being overwhelmed by the need to keep him safe. It is heartbreaking when you realize that you aren’t always able to protect your children.

Why We Advocate for Recovery-Oriented Communities of Care

When a parent finally realizes that their child’s drug use isn’t “just a phase,” they begin the terrifying journey to finding some kind of remedy. It would be helpful if that journey weren’t marked by wrong information, stigmatizing opinions, predatory service providers and an uneducated medical community.

I’m determined to honor those lost to overdose

A decade ago, at the beginning of the opioid epidemic, my son, Corey, died of a heroin overdose at age 23. I knew so little about opioid addiction when Corey struggled. I didn’t know anyone with a child who had died, let alone from an overdose.

A Sibling’s Story: Facing Their Brother’s Substance Use – We Didn’t Know What We Didn’t Know

My younger brother, Marc, passed away from a heroin overdose. He was only 29 years old. Marc struggled with substance use disorder for many years and it all began back in November 2010.

O’Neil, Founder of Bonfire, on Recovery, Animation and Mascot Cats

I really wanted this opportunity to help guide people to a reliable resource for addiction information and support. It's something I wish I'd had and something I have seen friends and family struggle to find.

To My Fellow Parent Coaches: You Carried Me When I Couldn’t Carry Myself

Through the parent coach program, I had learned how to care for me and how to live life again. Missing that call didn’t change anything, and it certainly didn’t make it any less devastating.

When I’m Running Out of Energy, I Think of Others Who Have Struggled with Addiction

Partners for Hope Marathon team member Jason Brown shares his recovery journey, which has included lots of running. Writes Jason, "Today, for Dominick, I see it as my responsibility to keep him away from the path that I took those years ago, and with this responsibility comes the need for honesty and communication."

Addiction was my disease. I am recovered. I am living. I am running.

Partners for Hope Marathon Team member McCord Henry write, "Running is my time to process. It’s my time to think and get my aggression out on the pavement. It confirms that I am free from addiction and able to put good out into the world."

Addiction and Overdose Left an Absence in Our Family

Partners for Hope Marathon Team member Lauren DiGaimo shares her family's story of loss, and the way it has inspired her own vocal advocacy in support of other families facing the challenges of addiction.

When It Comes to Your Child’s Addiction, Leave the Past in the Past

How do we help a loved one who is struggling with substance use?

Finding a Middle Ground: My Parents and Recovery

I attribute the gift of starting my recovery journey almost entirely to my family.

“Secrets Will Help Nobody”: My Daughter’s Story of Addiction [VIDEO]

I sat down to tell Casey’s story and talk about what she and so many others go through, and how where there’s breath, there’s hope.

Reflecting On My Addiction and Recovery, Then and Now

I am but one of tens of millions of incredible recovery stories. Let’s find yours.

My Big Brother’s Journey to Overcome His Addiction

When I saw Neil for the first time after he had left for rehab, I immediately knew my brother was coming back to us.

I Hate the Word “Enable”: Getting Blamed & Shamed When You Have a Child With Addiction

We do not “consent” to the pain and misery, the shame and fear, the despair of addiction.

Addiction in the Family: A Sister’s Perspective

Substance use disorder is a family disease. I know how losing a brother can cause an irreversible ripple effect on the family.

How We Manage the Holidays Now That Our Journey Has Led to Recovery

I thought if I loved my son enough, he could recover. It took time to learn that he has a disease and that he needed help to manage it.

Coping with Addiction & Recovery During the Holidays

Our daughter’s addiction, and newly found recovery, added to the family tension during the holidays. Here's how we learned to cope.

What You Shouldn’t Expect When Your Child Is in Recovery

After treatment, the main question is usually, “What now?” As a young person in recovery myself, I might not be able to tell you what to expect — but I feel I can at least tell you what not to expect.

I Was Blindsided By How Insurance Treated My Son’s Substance Use Claim

I practice insurance coverage law and was not clear on my rights for substance use disorder insurance coverage when trying to help my son.

I Got My Son Back: A Mother’s Struggle with Her Son’s Addiction

Our family suffered for years in silence through this horrific journey of my son's heroin addiction, but now we can speak of Ryan’s health problem out loud.

Finding a Home in Collegiate Recovery

The typical college environment is not conducive to a life in recovery — until Timothy discovered his school’s collegiate recovery program.

How I Knew My Daughter Was Using Substances and in a Mental Health Crisis

It was like a light switch — I asked myself, “Where did my daughter go?” I found out it was substance use and mental health issues at the same time.

The Empty Chair at Our Holiday Table

When you lose a child, your life changes forever. There will always be an emptiness, and a missing piece at the family gatherings.
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