Sunday, March 18, 2012


In my last post a new member of my blogging family commented that he likes that my writing is raw, no filter, no holding back.  While I do write plenty of shit about my kids, there are times I ask permission because of the nature of what I want to write about.  This is one of those times - it's a sensitive subject, yet something that might benefit other families out there who are dealing with similar issues.

So before I begin I'd like to thank Amanda and Brandon for allowing me to talk about what has been a part of their lives for a few years, and will forever be a part of their lives because it involves their dad whom they love so much.


My ex-husband Dave, the kids' dad, is an alcoholic.  Since our separation nearly four years ago, he has struggled in unimaginable ways, and Amanda and Brandon have watched him every step of the way.  To say that it's been difficult for everyone involved is a serious understatement.  It's been Hell.

I used to blog about his troubles, letting out my anger, speaking my mind.  When we moved up to Cody about a year and a half ago, I was emotionally exhausted and I chose to no longer spend my energy writing about something I had absolutely no control over.  Being in a new city and state allowed us to move forward with our lives without his addiction continually drowning us, and it allowed Dave to heal on his own.

For a year and a half Dave maintained his sobriety, every day either calling or Skyping with the kids.  They were so happy for him, so encouraged that he was doing so well in his recovery.  A month ago he relapsed, and while I do appreciate that he was honest about it with the kids, it didn't diminish the disappointment, the anger, and the sadness that they felt as a result.

They cried, they felt betrayed, they felt so incredibly disappointed.  Brandon was quick to forgive and carried on every day, moving forward in spite of the relapse.   Amanda was so angry with him she chose to not speak with him.  She composed a note and read it to him, explaining her feelings and outright telling him that she would not be talking with him, and that she was unsure for how long.

Amanda looked to me for guidance, she asked for my help in understanding when her silence with her dad should be broken, and when she should again talk to him.  I was at a complete loss and truly had no answers for her, so I recommended she wait until we could get some help from a clinic I had heard about, that maybe they could provide her with the answers and guidance she was looking for.

As soon as I could, I registered the kids for the Betty Ford Colorado Children's Program which is held in Denver every month (there are also similar programs in Colorado Springs, California, and Texas).  We recently had the privilege of attending this clinic and I have to say, it was absolutely amazing.

The four-day clinic taught Amanda and Brandon that for one thing, they are not alone.  It was almost like an immediate bond was formed, an instant family-like connection with other kids who are going through the same thing with members of their own families.  It provided them with education about addiction; it helped them to learn that they are not responsible for anyone's addiction; they learned about what addicts go through and how difficult it is to suffer from addiction.

All they were taught was at a child's level of understanding, with the use of drawing, writing and sharing personal stories, and playing games.  The first two days were just for the kids, and at the end of each day Amanda and Brandon excitedly told me about what they did and learned, and how much fun they had.  The last two days were spent with both the kids and adults attending and working together.

Since Amanda was still at odds about what to do with her dad, we chose to not have him participate.  After the first day of the adult participation, we all understood the importance of him being there and wished he had attended with us.  That evening she nervously decided it was time to speak with her dad, and they shared some time alone talking while Brandon and I went off together.  After they talked we all went out to eat and enjoyed a nice dinner together as a family.  Unfortunately Dave couldn't take off work to attend the last day, but the kids no doubtedly filled him in all they could when they spent time with him that night.

Addiction is so incredibly hard to deal with whether you are the addict or a family member of the addict.  I want nothing more than to have Dave remain sober and continue to work on his treatment and recovery, and for the kids and I to continue in our education and understanding of his addiction so that if he does relapse again, we can all be better prepared to deal with the setback.

To anyone out there in the wide world of the internet who is going through a similar situation, know that you are not alone and that there is help.  If you need someone to talk to, whether you are an adult or a child, please let me know.  I am always open to helping anyone who has a loved one struggling with addiction, and I am positive my kids would be more than willing to share their story with any children who are also struggling.

Before I close, I'd like to thank David, Josie, and Lindsey, the leaders in the clinic and who did an outstanding job with all of the children and adults.  We all learned so much and will forever value what they taught us.

From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you.

And to Amanda and Brandon, you are truly my heroes.  You are examples of resilience, strength, and the purest love.  I am so impressed with your compassion, honesty, respect, and maturity.  Every day I wonder how I got so lucky to have you as my children, and every day I am grateful beyond words that I have you both in my life.  I love you.  I love you.  I love you. 


Steve said...

Kim, My heart goes out to you and your kids. To be plain and simple about it, addiction is a bitch, no matter which side of it you're on. In my opinion you could write an excellent how to book on raising kids. The way you treat them like adults, without stealing their "kidness" is inspiring to say the least.

If I had a magic wand that I could wave for you, I would. Failing that, I always have an available ear.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you got them into it Kim it was important to me. Sorry I couldn't help more.


Lindamedrano said...

I'm so very sorry that your family is going through this terrible affliction. It is an illness and people are understanding more and more about it all the time. I am so pleased that you chose to get help for your family. Your kids are so lucky to have such a smart and brave mother.

I was married to an alcoholic for 3 years. He was my second husband and I really hated to think I'd failed a second time. He was a brutal and abusive man when he drank. And he drank all of the time. But somehow, I felt like I could change him. And that I could keep myself and my children in this situation which was much more financially secure that we had been. Color me stupid.

I really hope your ex-husband is able to overcome his addiction. I'm sure he loves his children too. But he is suffering from what will end up to be a terminal illness if he can't conquer it. Best wishes for his recovery.

Stay strong Honey. You are doing all the right things.

Diana a.k.a. Meme said...

You are a wonderful mother. As a daughter of an alcoholic father, I wish my mother would have been the same~ Your children are so lucky to have you and I am sure they love, love, love YOU!

kwynn said...

I'm truly sorry that you've had to go through this. Addiction is such a tragic thing for everyone involved. I sincerely hope that he is able to overcome the demon of can be overcome, though it's not easy. said...

Addiction is such a complicated thing, and so devastating.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Heart-warming post...

Karie McRae said...

Kim, I am so sorry that you and your kids have had to go through this struggle. I am the daughter of an alcoholic and even at the age of 41 I still struggle with the disappointment and anger that your daughter appears to be going through. It is hard for the family members because they are continually asked to forgive and move on when they are let down by their loved one. I understand the disease, however it never gets easier. Honestly, it is better that you moved away from him. It creates a little more normalcy than if the kids had to continually view the effects of what their father's addiction leaves.

If you ever want to talk about this, please email me. Be strong, you are a good mom and you love those kids.

Jacy said...

What a good post! I'm so sorry to read that this type of addiction has affected you and your kids (what addiction doesn't, really?).

You sound like an incredible MOM and your kids sound like rockstars! I'm sure I'll gather wise advice from the women who have traveled this road before me- including you! While my ex husband wasn't an alcoholic, he did have a severe sex addiction that I never knew about! As you saw, I'm blogging about about happier things in my life now (, but I did have an anonymous blog where I vomited everything I felt ( It was the most horrible, draining, and painful time of my life.

Incredible how other people's choices affect us so greatly, huh? But like you said, we have no control over it, so we need to work on ourselves and our healing.

Glad we connected!


Jacy said...

Sorry! It's that should work now ;)

Unpublishedlife said...

What an honest post. Thank you so much for sharing. Addiction is such a difficult thing to go through and to watch your kids go through. It's wonderful that you have sought help and been honest and open with your kids. It sounds like you are a great mum who puts her kids' needs first. Good luck!!

Christopher Arnel said...

My baby sis went thru a long period of addiction, and she would stop and say she wanted help, and we would get her into a clinic, then she would pass and be released, and go right back to it. it broke my heart that she would always choose the drugs over her family, or at least me, who loved her so much. She would always say she was ready, but until she actually was ready to move forward and away from the drugs, she could never get off of them. I am so proud and thankful to say that she is several years clean and that drugs did not successfully take and end her life. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us all how good we really have it, if we either have no one in our lives who has suffered, or that anyone suffering in our lives has kicked the addiction.

I also wanna thank you for being open and honest with this. on my blog i posted my autobiography as my first posts, because i wanted everyone and anyone who read my blog to know ME.. Christopher.. not just the quirky and brutally honest posts of Maddladd. You are very brave to be this open and honest and i just wanted u to know that there is someone out there who definitely appreciates it..


The Accidental Somebody said...

Thank you everyone for your replies! I have tried to respond to each of you personally, but my computer's bein a bitch and won't let me. Again, thank you for your comments, I appreciate each and every one of them. :)