As I get closer to publishing my second book, Cyber Sober; A Caregiver’s Guide to Video Gaming Addiction, I thought I’d share my Preface. Although this book is far more extensive than my first book, and contains research, interviews with my addiction-recovering son, other experts and professionals, sharing our story creates impact and provides opportunity for others to feel safe to share their own. Here’s why that’s important…..
“Humans have been telling their stories since they’ve had the ability to speak. Without stories we’d have no recorded or oral history. We use stories, several times a day, to relay information, to share our thoughts, to give advice, and to educate others.
And yet we believe that revealing the ugly truths of our human-ness requires a certain amount of courage. We continue to create stigma around our personal struggles and our mental health stories.
I believe it’s a social obligation to be candid about life experiences. It can only enhance our lives and help us to grow. I do not like to be called brave when I stand before an audience and disclose my son’s journey through addiction and recovery. The re-telling of the story brings me comfort. Sharing the story reminds me just how far we’ve both come. I can rejoice in triumph with both relief and joy at reaching each milestone. And more importantly, I can reach other human beings who need a lifeline, who need to remember hope, who need to feel less alone in their pain.
I am not embarrassed or ashamed about raising a child who became addicted. On the contrary, I am filled with gratitude that my son’s human struggle created a space for him to fight, to mature, and eventually flourish — to have an opportunity to become a better version of himself.
Suffering is unavoidable in life. How we face life’s adversities, how we challenge ourselves to keep pushing through, how we use whatever means we can muster at the time — that is a gift.
A child’s struggle becomes a family’s toil and a community’s undertaking. Yes, it does take a village. I received love, kindness, a shoulder to lean on, and a listening ear from many.
As a mother, I reached the limit of my own capabilities; I stretched myself thin; I faced thoughts of giving in; I witnessed my own failings, and I persevered through the darkness to find my last scrap of strength. At times it was terrifying. It seemed so much bigger than me, and it required Herculean inner strength to move forward. And yet it also created beauty, tenderness, vulnerability, and joy.
I have always valued integrity over anything else in my life. In our decision-making, we can do what is right or we can do what is easy. I have shared my lived experience because it is the right thing to do.
It is a story worth telling.”