A Letter to Families Impacted by Addiction

I stood there in my daughter’s playroom. 
The lyrics from Le Miserables echoed throughout the room. 
“I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream
I dreamed”
This was written in 2004, two days before my loved one went to treatment. 
When my marriage was bursting at the seams.
Written by Julie Kantor 


Dear Parents,

If you are reading this, perhaps you can relate on some level. Drugs, alcohol, money disappearing, DUI’s, cutting, suicidal tendencies, police involvement, impaired decision making. Your loved one is acting in ways that are unfathomable, against your values. Shame and fear are becoming daily companions. It is getting harder to concentrate.

“It’s like sitting on a raft on a beautiful day out in the sea. You are happy, relaxed, and then a large gray fin appears then disappears,” said our friend Terry who is a respected veteran in the recovery space.

At South Florida Intervention, our pillars of services help families save their loved one from addiction in The Intervention Process:

  • Interventions
  • Family Focused
  • Experienced
  • Recovery Coaching
  • Sober Escort Transportation


You can try to go back to ‘normal day at the beach,’ but you and I both know that life out on the raft is now devoid of serenity. We know the fin can reappear, and based on the patterns of addiction will reappear, we just don’t know when.

“You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, you can’t cure it,” were shared with me at my first 

Al-anon meeting. The 3 C’s of the program.  I met so many family members going through similar challenges. They taught me about the disease of addiction, yes the disease. My loved one had a disease, he wasn’t purposefully trying to destroy beautiful family life, he was sick.

By the time I understood all this, I was on the downward spiral and at my wit's end, ready to throw in the towel, but we got him help. An intervention. He went to a renowned drug and alcohol treatment center and has been sober15 years.

The big messages I want to send to you, parents are;

  1. You are not alone - countless families have been where you are now and have survived;
  2. Get help for yourself - your families addictions and mental health issues have taken a bigger toll than you realize;
  3. Don’t suffer in silence - al-anon meetings are readily available in most communities and the members can help you. Go with an open mind; 
  4. You will need an education on the disease of addiction - quality treatment centers offer family programs designed to educate family members and support them;
  5. Your loved one who is actively using is likely at war inside with him or herself. This is hell for them too. Your family must be absolutely committed to eradicating the disease within your family system;

And lastly, you can reach out to a professional – an interventionist, therapist, rehab center, this situation might be bigger than you. This crisis more than you can solve. 

I got my loved one back through treatment, through his hard work and dedication to living sober and 12-step program.

“Dad, can you take me to CVS to get some nail polish remover,” says my 16 (almost 17-year-old daughter) from her room as I write this. 

“Yes,” he says entering her teen room with mounds of clothes from the week before. “We also need to go to Trader Joes for my lunch food,” she says.

I smile at the normalcy of our life and that getting help, going on this journey saved my family.

South Florida Intervention offers solutions for families struggling with the devastating effects of drug addiction and alcoholism. Marc Kantor is interventionist and recovery coach based in Boca Raton, Florida. If someone you know is struggling with addiction, we can help. For additional information please visit www.southfloridaintervention.com or e-mail us at marc@southfloridaintervention.com