Blog: For the Families

Embracing the “Inpatient” Label


During the years of my son growing up, first as a beautiful, sweet, smart little boy and then a funny, talented tween and young man, I never, ever thought “inpatient” would be a word fit to describe him.

Detox—The First Step Towards Healing


If you Google the word, you’ll find images of vitamins, herbs, teas and other soothing, healthful options for living a happy, healthy life. It suggests a spa, where someone prepares healthy food, groups of devotees practice yoga in front of a peaceful waterfall, and I get a massage. (Sorry, spa fantasy here.)

Self-Preservation for the New Year

Charge!!! That’s the attitude most of us hold towards a new year full of the promise of change. Out with the old, bring on the new, and occasionally, good riddance to the year before. We’re ready to get on with it, take the bull by the horns, this year things are going to be different—pick the cliché that resonates.

Facing the New Year

New. The word is alive with possibility. Add it to the word “year,” and it’s nothing short of the opportunity to start fresh, wiping away everything ugly and clearing the path for all things good, joyful, healthy and prosperous.

At least that’s what we want to believe.

15 Minutes of Magic

I’ve come to think of 15 minutes as a magical time. I began to feel that way during my son’s active addiction, when we managed to get through our crisis by taking on life in 15-minute bites. That process—which resulted in the book The 15 Minute Master—helped us keep our sanity and allowed us to go on living, despite periods of intense pain and fear. But it wasn’t always about managing pain and fear. Often, we used our 15 minutes to relax, find some fun, laugh, or just feel normal.

Managing Life’s Challenges Along with Addiction

Life doesn’t stop. Even when you’re dealing with a loved one’s addiction, the worst crisis of your life, time doesn’t stand still for the rest of the world, even though your world has come to a crashing halt. Life goes on, and somehow, someway, you have to keep up with it. At least you think you do.

The 15 Minute Master | How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time

The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time Fifteen minutes. It was all my husband and I could manage at the height of our son’s heroin addiction. “Take it one day at a time” is the usual mantra in a crisis. But there is no “usual” with addiction. No normal, […]

What to Say When Addiction Strikes

by Mary Fran Bontempo What to Say When Addiction Strikes Oh my god, what am I going to say? How do I tell people what’s going on? Addiction is a horror that begins privately and almost always ends up playing out in public, for the world to see. The emotional trauma that consumes family members […]

Navigating the Holiday Minefield

by Mary Fran Bontempo Navigating the Holiday Minefield Ah, the holidays! The time of year when worries are sent packing and the world is bright with cheer, love, and lots and lots of temptation, triggers and potential traps for those struggling with addiction.  When families are embroiled in a loved one’s addiction, the holidays can […]

Lost and Afraid

by Mary Fran Bontempo Lost and Afraid As we drove up to the historic-looking white building outside of Philadelphia, I felt oddly detached, almost numb. Ordinarily, such a place would have sparked my curiosity about the origins of the house—what had it been used for years ago? Philadelphia is an area rich in history, something I always […]

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