Since my last post I have been honoured to have been able to give presentations to Parents Forever Support Group in Vancouver, CDI College Addiction Students in Surrey and the parents of students attending Elgin Park Secondary School in South Surrey, as well as a few students themselves.

It was an absolute privilege to be amongst so many wonderful, kind and loving people at Parents Forever. They are an amazing support group who are doing so much to help the parents and families who have loved ones addicted to drugs and alcohol. These amazing parents and family members take care of and support each other and never give up hope their loved ones will find those pieces they need to find to feel whole. Who support each other through all the tough times and all the good times. Who encourage self care. One thing that unfortunately we forget all too often. The facilitator for Parents Forever is Frances Kenny. You will find contact information for Parents Forever under the Resources section.

My sincere thanks to the students of CDI College in Surrey, and their teacher Doug Pamenter, who is the Addictions and Community Service Worker Instructor at CDI. What a caring, passionate group of students. Their awareness of addiction and the people behind the addiction, are being taught by a teacher whose passion for helping those addicted shines through. They will be wonderful front line workers and I congratulate them all on their career choice.

To Tracy Tickelman, Co-Chairperson of the Parents Advisory Council of Elgin Park Secondary in South Surrey, their principal Mr. Filsinger, all the parents who attended and those who brought their teens with them – it was an absolute privilege to spend the evening with you all. When you have a large group of parents who have already put in a full day, in the middle of the week, and they arrive to hear a presentation at 7:00 p.m.- you know you are speaking to caring, loving parents who want as much information as possible. Who acknowledge the risks to our youth and want to be proactive. It was an honour and privilege to spend the evening with you all.

Thank you.

I now want to address the on-going violence so many of our addicted loved ones face on a continuous basis. Violence handed out by cowards – by gang members in the drug trade.

I say cowards because that is exactly who they are. They hang around in a pack. Remember the day when if you had a problem it was worked out one-on-one. Those days are long, long gone. Unfortunately life changed. In the criminal element they talk about honour. Well there is no honour. There is no fairness. There are no morals.

They are a bunch of thugs and cowards who as a group will beat up a 130 pound drug addict. Or a 95 pound girl who is working on the street and owes them money. These individuals (I won’t refer to them as men because they aren’t men) beat up on individuals too weak to put up any resistance. And they do it with a group.

Yes these tough guys are cowards – they come in a pack, with baseball bats or metal pipes, brass knuckles, knives, machetes, guns. They beat up physically compromised addicts – our loved ones. They leave them in a heap with a warning they better come up with money. And we as the parents continue to be devastated.

As I said – these individuals, these gangs are cowards. They are thugs. They carry weapons, wear kevlar vests, drive in vehicles with reinforced doors – hand out beatings on a daily basis to sick addicts – and are part of a gang. Seems they always have back up with them. Real tough guys. They are pathetic. They get richer the sicker our addicted ones get.

Unfortunately these pathetic individuals have so much power over the ones we love so much. They have the drugs that keep our loved ones hostage. Our drug addicted sons and daughters, brothers or sisters, husbands or wives, mothers or father.

Every week I speak with or receive letters from parents who like myself are acutely aware of the violence that accompanies drug addiction.

Two and a half weeks ago my son was badly beaten with a metal pipe – he has lost vision in one eye. Colleen’s son was severely beaten and taken to hospital, George’s son – beaten, Eleanor’s daughter – the same, the couple who clean the apartment building I live in – their son’s girlfriend – severely beaten.

All beaten over a drug debt – in pain and with injuries that may impact the rest of their lives – and for what?

So as parents we keep fighting the good fight – we keep praying that the God of our understanding will keep an angel on our addicted loved one’s shoulder until they find their own power. The power to decide to leave the addiction behind them. To reach out for help. To grab that lifeline we have been throwing at them. That they enter a treatment centre or recovery house that treats them with respect. That they respect themselves. And that they take those steps out of addiction and hope that society will give them another chance – because they deserve it. And so do we.

Take good care my Friends. And until next time,

Much love to you all,