Look­ing for a way to break the cy­cle of ad­dic­tion

Lodi News-Sentinel - - LOCAL/NATION - AN­NIE LANE “Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is An­nie Lane’s de­but book, fea­tur­ing fa­vorite columns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette. Visit www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to d

Dear An­nie:

I’m a mother to five beau­ti­ful chil­dren. I do not have cus­tody of any of them.

I’m an ad­dict, and I refuse to raise my kids the way my par­ents raised me. I want them to have and see a bet­ter life than I did.

Grow­ing up wasn’t great for me. We were home­less. Sleep­ing in back­yards in tents wasn’t cool. My sib­lings and I had to trans­fer schools all the time.

I didn’t grad­u­ate from high school, although I did sure get a de­gree from the School of Hard Knocks. I had my first kid at 18 and gave him and my parental rights up to my brother. As an adult, I started smok­ing meth and mar­i­juana and drink­ing. I was in jail by age 22. In my early 20s, I had my sec­ond kid and gave him up for adoption be­cause I knew I wasn’t done with the cy­cle of drug use and jail. As for my third kid, I have joint le­gal cus­tody of him be­cause I don’t have sta­bil­ity. And my last two kids live with their father, my ex-hus­band.

I’ve re­lapsed, and I hate who I am to­day. I want bet­ter for me so I can be bet­ter for my kids.

Do you have any ad­vice for me that I don’t al­ready know? Chang­ing for the bet­ter — and get­ting clean and sober — has been so hard for me, though I have done it in the past and loved it. I had a great church fam­ily and lost them be­cause of my ad­dic­tion.

Help me be bet­ter. I want to be bet­ter. — Bad Mom

Dear Mom: Few peo­ple have easy roads in life, but yours has been es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult. Grow­ing up with­out hous­ing likely left you with trauma and anx­i­ety is­sues, and sub­stance abuse be­came a cop­ing mech­a­nism. Try to show your­self some com­pas­sion. No one ever hated her­self into self-im­prove­ment. Be­com­ing the per­son you want to be starts with for­giv­ing your­self for the per­son you’ve been.

You asked me to give you some ad­vice that you haven’t heard be­fore. I’m go­ing to give you ad­vice you prob­a­bly have. But even if you’ve heard this a hun­dred times, it’s worth hear­ing a hun­dred more: I strongly urge you to at­tend Nar­cotics Anony­mous, Al­co­holics Anony­mous or an­other pro­gram such as LifeRing. I be­lieve such a sup­port group will of­fer the sense of com­mu­nity and fam­ily that your spirit craves.

Dear An­nie: I’m re­spond­ing to the writer who sent ad­vice re­gard­ing adopt­ing an older cat. Their ad­vice was spot on ex­cept for their fi­nal ad­vice to pro­vide the name of

an an­i­mal shelter to which the cat should be sent to upon an owner’s un­timely death.

As a long­time shelter vol­un­teer, the cru­elest thing that can hap­pen to an an­i­mal whose guardian has passed is to be sent to an an­i­mal shelter. Older an­i­mals have lit­tle chance of adoption, and they will most likely end up eu­th­a­nized. Is that what any lov­ing pet owner wants for their beloved pet?

In most states, there are pri­vately run long-term care fa­cil­i­ties for ag­ing an­i­mals where they can live out their lives peace­fully. Ev­ery pet owner should visit those fa­cil­i­ties to con­firm that they are prop­erly li­censed and op­er­ated re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Make it clear in your fam­ily trust what is to hap­pen to your pets upon your death, and pro­vide funds for their life­long care. Far too many an­i­mals end up in shel­ters. Don’t add to that pop­u­la­tion. — An­i­mal Lover in New Mex­ico

Dear An­i­mal Lover: I was un­aware of these un­til I got your let­ter and looked into it more, but there are in­deed “pet re­tire­ment homes” or “sanc­tu­ar­ies.” I echo your state­ment that own­ers should

be sure to visit the fa­cil­i­ties per­son­ally and en­sure they’re prop­erly li­censed and of­fer an­i­mals ad­e­quate, hu­mane care. Thanks for writ­ing.

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