May 9, 2017

When everything suddenly changes

Normally, I don’t share much about my son and his journey with his addiction in my blogs. It is a decision I made several years ago, as this platform is for encouraging parents look at their life beyond the chaos of addiction. Far too often, parents lose perspective and control of their lives as they allow their child’s addiction to become the epicenter of their being.

There is so much more to who we are and how we live and celebrate our lives, that our child’s addiction or recovery cannot be the source of our happiness, peace, joy, or contentment. In order to avoid distraction parents from this key message, I have consciously left my son’s story out of the narrative.

Today, I break from protocol to share an update about my son. For the past six months, he has been living with his parents. He has been worked incredibly hard at his recovery, his counseling activities, and in strengthening his faith as a child of God. Watching him go through this intense commitment to transformative change and recovery over the past six months has been a great blessing.

During this time, he and I have engaged in a very powerful healing and growth process of our own. Much of what I have experienced with him in this process, I have been sharing and will continue to share. Before he and I connected on this level, I was already clear on the parent I was committed to being before he returned to my life; but, the experience of living it out with him has solidified my passion for sharing this with other parents.

The impact of this shift in behaviors, from the words I use, to what we discuss, to how we communicate, and in the manner we have learned to trust each other, has been incredible. I have been profoundly move by everything that has transpired in our lives and celebrate every moment. This is why I feel compelled to share with you the other part of my son’s story.

Last week he was picked up on a warrant related to his skipping bail last year. He hasn’t been arrested for anything since May, 2015; however, the manner in which he has handled this possession charge finally caught up with him. As he sits in jail, awaiting sentencing and a likely prison term, I find myself relieved this criminal issue is finally going to be resolved as running or hiding never accomplishes anything. However, I am also angry at a system which interrupts incredible, overdue progress in recovery. And, I grieve the loss of someone who was walking with me, sharing their journey, and their perspectives in unique and profound ways.

Despite this untimely interruption, this does not change my life or alter my course. My son’s addiction, his legal issues, his recovery or active addiction, does not define who I am, how I live, or define how I will be the dad my son needs me to be.

This does not interrupt the work I am doing, or my commitment to inspire and educate others. This will not deter me from fighting for what I know needs to be done to address the needs of those struggling with their addiction. If anything, this intensifies my resolve to support parents like me and my wife who hate the way addiction invades our lives.

Despite my frustration with the untimely interruptions of my son’s addiction journey, I know my life has been blessed for what I have learned over the past eight years. What I have learned and celebrated is what I focus on daily and it is those experiences, as gifts, which I share with other parents hoping they too, can learn to embrace the difficult journey as an incredible gift and a guide for celebrating the life you have.

If you are struggling to find a healthy balance in a life interrupted by addiction’s chaos, I hope you will join me. There is a better path. It will change your life. It will mend broken relationships. And, it will offer you the ability to find peace and confidence in the chaos. I look forward to walking this out with you.


I would love to hear from you. What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help. Please let me know:

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.