About the Author

June Ariano-Jakes is the mother of five adult children and the grandmother of five. Born and raised in Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada, she and her family relocated to British Columbia, Canada in the summer of 1988.

June Ariano-Jakes

June has volunteered more than twelve thousand hours, spending on average 200 hours a month working and volunteering her time helping those who live in poverty, who are homeless, and who struggle with severe alcoholism, hardcore drug addiction, and mental illness.  She is a fierce and loyal advocate for those suffering and is well respected among her peers and those she serves.

Once addiction grabbed hold of her son Nathan, June became relentless in her efforts to understand and educate herself in all areas of addiction as she searched for answers to help her son battle what would become a 23 year heroin and cocaine addiction.

June is a much sought after speaker and educator in the field of addiction.

Speaking Engagements

June is available to participate in panel discussions on the effects of drug addiction within a family.  She is also available for speaking engagements, and would be honored and privileged to be invited to your group or organization.

To book a presentation please contact June via the user-friendly “Contact June” page on this website

32 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. debi

    I am 59 and started doing drugs for real about 10 years ago….i was smoking crack at 200 dollars a night…destroyed everything I touched
    Including my sons ❤
    I am down to once a week and Las night I did not even want to but of course ny dealer for the last ten years called …my doctor once asked me if I had smoked crack and I said yes..what was it like she asked..like a 24 hour a day job
    My reason for starting so late in life was repressed memory, I had been sexually abused in a foster home from ages 6-8
    Along with my sister 4-6 who committed suicide
    She spent her life hiding in heroine and i spent mine just hiding
    NO ONE WANTS TO BE AN ADDICT WHEN THEY GROW UP!

    1. I am humbled Debi that you took the time to share your story with me. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering both you and your sister endured at the hands of someone who was supposed to protect and care for you. And the loss of your sister continues to inflict that pain and suffering. You and your sister were victims of true evil. And how could that not have impacted your lives in a most profound way.

      It seems easier sometimes to “bury” those memories – put them away and hide from them. But memories of that magnitude continue to hurt and damage the person just trying to somehow forget. We cannot forget that kind of pain and that is when we try and do whatever it takes to “not feel them”. The problem is, that pain is so profound it is impossible to escape.

      If you were never given the opportunity to express the hurt, the anger, the betrayal, and feel completely safe voicing that, it is impossible to heal. I hope that you will reach out to your doctor, or someone you know you can trust and arrange to speak to a specialist who understand the incredible trauma caused when you were an innocent child.

      Have you ever spoken to your sons about this? They may begin to understand why you had that need to “escape”. That pain was just to great. Drug use more often than not is about pain. Trying to forget. To push it down. The only thing it does in the end is cause you more pain which is what you are enduring. I believe it would be safe to say you are suffering with PTSD. How could you not be. You have survived the only way you know how. But it is time for you to reach out and grab the lifeline you deserve Debi. You have suffered far to long. It is time to be kind to yourself. You have the right to live the life you deserve with peace, not nightmares and continued losses.

      You deserve the peace you were denied as a child. I hope you will ask for help Debi – you deserve nothing less. Please keep in touch. Write any time you feel like sharing or venting or just to connect. I am so sorry for all you have endured. It is time to take care of yourself. Know you are not alone. I truly care.

      Sending you much love,
      June

  2. Linda

    Hi June,
    It is with great sadness that I had to have my son Justin removed yesterday morning.He has been with me since he returned from the Orchard at the end of April. We did finally get appointments thru the White Rock/South Surrey Mental Health & Substance abuse program.However, once again those meetings were few and far between..about every 10 days.In the interim he stayed at the house just smoking, sleeping and eating while I worked. But at least I knew he was safe or so I thought. Over the weekend he obtained some crystal meth and the destruction started again & also my small dog got very sick. He was okay to stay here as long as he did not do street drugs, kept to his appointments and took his prescribed meds- the Olanzapine & Suboxone.This boundary was broken and I also realized that he needs more help than I can give him so I called the police after trying several other options. I asked if they could take him to the Quibble sobering/assessment center & from there I do not know where he will land up. He has no money and no phone but he has connected with the Ministry to get funds . This is how he bought the drugs which are so important to him as opposed to getting well.
    I am heartbroken June but I know I have given it my all. I am at the point now where my health is starting to suffer. I need to take a break from the drugs and drama that has enveloped my life for so many years. I truly cannot help him if he does not have the motivation to help himself.
    I hope he is safe and the universe takes care of him…I love my son so much.
    Linda

  3. One thing I was taught growing up was just don’t judge…. (There but for the grace of God go I ) I have raised my own children this way…….My mother used to say “I was angry because I didn’t have new shoes and then I saw a man with no feet!….. Hense that person on the street belonged to a family at one time. …Someone’s Sister Mother Brothers Daughter Son Uncle Auntie…..Etc……….! Well that’s what I believe…… If there is some way I can help please let me know! Thx!

    1. Thank you very much Julie for your note. You are absolutely correct. Each and every person struggling with addiction is someones son or daughter, brother or sister, mother or father. They are loved. Each and everyone had dreams.

      Tragically addiction destroys those dreams. It devastates families and damages lives in a most profound way. As a society if we would all recognize addiction as the disease that it is and treat those struggling with addiction with the same compassion as we do those battling other life threatening diseases. We must advocate for those unable to advocate for themselves. Often those struggling with addiction are broken. We need to have a system in place so that when our loved ones are asking for help it is immediate. Delays far to often mean our loved ones are back to using and tragically, far to many die while people debate treatment or punishment. Addiction is at epidemic proportions. We have a medical crisis going on worldwide. Our loved ones deserve better. We deserve better. Society deserves better. Those struggling need to know that help is readily available – delaying the process means we lose far to many to overdose and death.

      It is time to admit the status quo isn’t working. It never worked in the past and it won’t work in the future. Those struggling with addiction need help, not intolerance. Not degradation. Not isolation. Not imprisonment. They need help. We need to speak up for those who are unable to speak up for themselves.

      Thank you again Julie for your note.

      Take care.

      Very sincerely,

      June

  4. Rob T

    Hi June,

    I heard you on CBC radio. For the whole 2016 year now I was looking for some sign of hope and your story was it. I recently failed an interview into a prestigious college program and it dropped me into a deep depression. I was disengaged the whole year which was unlike myself. I wanted to give up, I thought I was a screw-up and choke artist. I thought I could never achieve my potential with the unpredictable swings of bipolar disorder I was diagnosed with almost a decade earlier. Listening you how you stood by your son, the sacrifices you made, I can never ever give up. You are an angel,a symbol of unrelenting perseverance and goodness, I wish you were in my corner in life.

    1. Thank you so much Rob for taking the time to write. You have truly touched my heart.

      It saddened me to read you felt you “failed” an interview. That you felt you were a “screw-up and choke artist”. We are so often harder on ourselves than anyone else would be. You did not “fail” the interview. The fact that you were able to get an interview, in itself, is an accomplishment. I am sure there were many applying and sadly not enough space. It was just not your time yet Rob – your time will come. Never give up on your dreams.

      You are definitely not s “screw-up or choke artist” – you are a man who is living with, dealing with, a serious medical issue through no fault of your own and you are striving to further your education. That makes you a winner.

      Severe depression is a devastating condition – I hope you have talked to your doctor about this. It takes great courage to ask for help. You deserve to receive all the support available.

      Again my Friend – thank you so much for sending me off this note. Please keep in touch. I care.

      Very sincerely,

      June

  5. Dianne

    As I opened your book an started to read I felt the tears streaming down my.cheeks,u are an amazing person,friend and.mother an I’m so blessed by your presence in my life,I am glad. I have had the honour.to work along side you and u truly inspire me each and everyday, I enjoy getting to know. You!! DIANNE<3

  6. Lisa marie

    I am living that same HELL my son is 28 yrs. old !!! what i don’t understand is why do many people that get involved even with helping , have a way of saying don’t enable? to me that word needs to go away by the time your son has done hard drugs and shooting up their veins. its now called their lost . they needs to be guided to the light, and loved when need to be caught or helped. today my son could not get bail . he has finally done his worse crime of all. he even made the papers. /news… i go to hear it on the radio . shocked, hurt but expected it to be him. and quite frankly i was relieved it was him. then now he is SAFE. for a few months at least. my story is exactly as your June. but only my son has been doing it for 10 yrs. . he also is disabled mentally and and a heart defect. i have worry’s daily. Can you tell me if you ever come to Ontario western London/Chatham/ Windsor area? and did your son end his love for his devil friend? or is he still using? i did listen to your interview just now on the this site, it was my life now and before . i think my shoes fits yours xoxox… PS I’m hurting bad now as my son left me a mess to pick up while he is in jail. but I’m also hurting for him. and his choices.i lost most friends and family, my marriage is strained. sometimes want to leave my self and not look back or know the ends result of this life my son lives. I’m getting very weak!!! i have no one to turn to not even the courts care to hear what a drug addict mom has to say . 😦

  7. Jan

    I just finished reading your book. My 24 yr old son is addicted to Oxycontin and has been since he was 16 – starting with marijuana and progressing from there. I have tried so hard to not enable him, but I am struggling against a husband who enables. I have asked him to read your book and hope that it will help to realize he is putting another nail in my son’s coffin each time he enables. I cried so much reading your book and hope that your son and you find peace.

    1. Thank you so much Jan for taking the time to write. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in responding. I volunteer at Surrey Urban Mission in Whalley, B.C. throughout the day and now that winter is upon us I am there throughout the evening for those who need shelter for the night. So again I apologize.

      I am glad there was something in Addiction: A Mother’s Story that spoke to your heart. I hope your husband does take the time to read it.

      As a parent we do everything we can to try and break through those chains that seem to keep our adult children hostage to their drug of choice. With any other disease – love, care taking, providing are the right actions to take. Unfortunately, and I know you realize, that just enables our loved one to continue. As I mention in Addiction: A Mother’s Story – “helping hurts”. It just cushions the fall to where our loved one never fully feel the impact of their choices. It goes against everything we know as a parent and that is the most difficult realization.

      I hope you are able to take time to take care of you Jan. All too often, as Mom’s we lose ourselves in the pain of addiction. As parents of an addicted son or daughter, we become perhaps the greatest the collateral damage. We deal with the heartbreak. We deal with that “Mother Guilt” thing we Mom’s all know about, even though we know we did our very best. Somehow we think we could have, should have done something different. We have to come to the place where we accept we have no control. That is perhaps the hardest lesson to accept.

      You, your son and your husband are in my thought – that you are able to find some peace in all the kayos of addiction – that your son grabs that lifeline you are hoping he will hang on to and get the help he desperately needs.

      Keep in touch Jan – I truly care.

      Very sincerely,
      June

      1. Jan

        Thank you so much for your response ….for the first time in 8 years I finally feel someone understands ……you are so right about a mother’s guilt – even after suffering a complete nervous breakdown I still struggle every day with the guilt of my son becoming who he is right now …..I totally love him but hate the drug addict.

        Jan

      2. Jan

        Hi June once again. Well my son, has now progressed to stealing from us. He stole a painting, which has now been recovered. Well the question is now what? Do we charge him? If so, do you know if he can be sentenced to mandatory drug rehabilitation. I am not sure that this is the way to go – not sure that mandatory anything works? If he doesn’t want to will the rehab work? Anyway just wanted to get your input from your experience. Thanks once again, June for your understanding and valuable insight.

        Jan

  8. jackie

    you gave me a copy of your book to me. I am just about to finish chapter 21 the day life changed, I cannot put this book down. thank you june for this touching story that me and my wife can relate to on both sides of the fence.

    1. Thank you so much my Friend for taking the time to spend me off a note and your thoughts. I truly appreciate hearing from you. Take good care of yourselves and each other.

      Very sincerely,
      June

  9. Thank you for keeping in touch Cindy – as parents who deeply love our addicted adult children – I know our feelings, our tears, our heartbreak and our hope are so much the same. As are our stories – all so similar. You and your son are in my thoughts and prayers Cindy. Please write any time my Friend – you are safe sharing – never feel alone.

    Very sincerely,
    June

  10. Cindy

    Hi, 5 days ago I received the 30th phone call from (May have been more than 30 you lose count after a while) a detention center stating my son was there. This time in Pittsburgh Pa. Thank God he is alive and he will have another chance to change. The first time my son got into trouble with drugs he was 17…the 28th of this month he will be 39. After his conviction and the charges being drug related I decided to go back to school to become an addiction counselor. I wanted to figure out how to fix this…In the 22 yrs. with a college education and training from some of the best in the field.. I’m no more closer than I was the day I started… When it comes to your child it is impossible to be objective. I was surfing the web looking for a book to send him and came across your book…. I’m ordering it today..

    1. Thank you so much Cindy for taking the time to write and to share your story with me. I am humbled.

      We have much in common – the age when our sons started and their ages today for one. You are absolutely correct – when it is our child we are trying to help and to understand – as Mom’s we have both the head connection and the heart connection. All the studying, all the courses, all the degrees and awareness educate us and make us acutely aware of addiction, the affects, the disease, the pitfalls, recovery, relapse, consequences. We learn all that. In our head that is clear. What may work, what may not, advice from anyone who has an opinion. All valid. BUT – we are Moms – I know absolutely there is no stronger connection anywhere.

      I have the utmost respect for your Cindy for everything have done – to try and understand and find a way to break through those chains of addiction that are keeping your son hostage. You and he will be in my thoughts and prayers – that this time, he finds the power he needs, to live the life he deserves and that you deserve.

      Please keep in touch – I truly care.

      Very sincerely,
      June

      1. Cindy

        I just finished reading your book…Wow … a powerful true testimony with what a mother goes through when her child is an addict… I cried, I related, I done that and been there …. on many of the same journeys you have traveled…I remember not long ago…getting a call from my son…wanting help….3 hrs. later… I’m downtown Philadelphia, Pa. high crime and drug feasted area …scared to death picking him up… We have gone to any lengths in hopes of….Many times we do this alone… There are so many love ones going through this same thing…feeling they had no one to turn too….We need more places and awareness out there for love ones especially the parents…. The isolation associated with this is horrific and many times we look for answers in our own nonobjective brain… because we refused or have learned not to share with others in fear of the negative response…I call this…. going upstairs without adult supervision…. I have been there many times… and none of my own answers have work out thus far… Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone… Cindy

  11. Just a web person

    I was 45 when I sobered up, after a life on and off the streets, in and out of the shelters. Life is now beautiful in big and small ways, inspired by profound and simple things. The thought of stopping is hard, the thought of living without using is hard but surprisingly (for the addicted) life is far easier straight and far more enjoyable.

    The message I hope anyone gets from that is; it’s never too late, don’t ever give up on yourself or on a loved one.

    1. I cannot thank you enough my Friend for writing back and sharing some of your journey – yours is the story we all need to hear – the story of Hope.

      I thank you on behalf of all those who have a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol. As long as there is life, there is hope. We all pray for that day – that time – when those we love and all those who suffer from addiction – find the strength, the courage and commitment to reach out for help and that they find those missing pieces they need to find to feel whole.

      Thank again my Friend.

      Very sincerely,
      June

  12. Just a web person

    Sad, tragic and inspiring.
    Many feelings but few words, much admiration.
    The words to P.M. are the bottom line.

    – five year sober alcoholic

    1. Thank you so much my Friend for taking the time to comment. FIVE YEARS SOBER – WOW !!! I congratulate you – it is you who give HOPE and I thank you. Take care and be well.

      Very sincerely,
      June

  13. Hi June, I haven’t read your book yet but I plan to order it today. I think of you and Nathan often and keep you in my prayers. I hope all is well with you and your little grandson. I think often of that night we met in White Rock at a meeting we both attended and it was so very nice to have finally met you. I hope all is well with you and your family at this time. Best Regards, Valerie Ogilvie

  14. P.M

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, you are an amazing woman…I have a friend going through pretty much the same as you have been through. Have you any suggestions as to how I could be of help?. I am so afraid of offending her and losing her friendship. I listened to your radio interview, I was so moved and wished I had heard it many years ago…..Thank you from the bottom of my heart…..

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write. What a wonderful, caring person you are – your friend is very lucky to have someone in her life that cares so much and treasures her friendship as you do. I believe the most important thing you can do is to be there when she needs to talk and a shoulder to lean on. If she goes to Nar-Anon or Al-Anon meetings perhaps you can ask her if she would like you to go with her. Encourage her to get out and go for a walk with you. Something to just take her out of the “heaviness” for awhile.

      I know you would love to be able to help fix things so your friend wouldn’t be in so much pain. Unfortunately you can’t. But, you can be there when she needs to confide in someone she knows cares.

      You may question if that is enough. Let me tell you, it very much is. So often when our loved one is struggling with addiction, we don’t know where to turn or who would be a “safe” person to confide in. Just let her know that you are there if she ever wants to talk. She will appreciate your kindness and the fact that you are not being judgmental in any way, only supportive.

      Take good care and thank you so much for writing.

      Very sincerely,
      June

  15. Louise Fox

    I was only able to hear some of your interview with Bill Good at the CKNW radio talk show but the parts I heard truly hit my heart and described much of the situation I have been living with.

    I would appreciate access to your blog site and more information. My son is 38 and the story is similar. I will be looking for your book.

    Thank you
    Louise

    1. Thank you very much for your note Louise – sadly we have many “soul-sister” – mothers who like ourselves have adult children battling the horrific disease of addiction. I am truly, truly sorry for your heartbreak. I hope you will have the opportunity to read Addiction: A Mother’s Story. The journey we are on with our addicted loved ones is devastating. Our sons, yours and mine are just a year apart in age. Take care Louise and I hope you will log into my blog on a regular basis. We need to share with others who understand our journey.

      Very sincerely,
      June

  16. Michele Stewart

    I just wanted to let you know that I heard your interview on the Bill Good show this morning and all I can say is – WOW – you are an amazing person with a beautiful spirit and I wish you and your son all the love and happiness and health that you and he deserve. I have 4 beautiful children and could not imagine what it would have been like to deal with that. Much love to you and your family xoxoxo

    1. Thank you so very much Michele for your very kind and thoughtful words. I means more than you know to have received your note. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it. Take good care.

      Very sincerely and with much appreciation,
      June

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