by Sandy Swenson
March 23, 2020

I don’t open my door to strangers—such a simple bit of self-protection from danger and from all the people selling stuff I don’t need or want. I am equally committed to protecting myself from unsolicited advice, opinions, and commentary. I am the gatekeeper of my own life; if something unhelpful or unwelcome comes knocking, I don’t have to let it in.

Addiction is sorely misunderstood, but that doesn’t stop people from tossing their hurtful ignorance in my direction, their words, like bombs, ready to explode inside my head after the bomb-thrower saunters away. Recently someone—a stranger who knew nothing about anything—said that I need to change my strategy because my son isn’t in recovery. As though his recovery, or lack of it, were in my hands. As though I, not my son, were the main character in his story, and that it’s possible to have more than a supporting role in someone else’s life. Such judgmental vibes and words trespassing into my world no longer devastate me. I don’t have room for them. I just block them out.

Oh, by the way, my strategy is simple: my strategy is love. And I’m comfortable with that.

Keep out of your mind, and out of your office, and out of your world, every element that seeks admittance with no definite, helpful, useful end in view.…Learn to keep the door shut. ~George Matthew Adams

Quoted from the app ‘Readings for Moms of Addicts’ available in the App Store or Google Play. (c) Sandra Swenson.

Dandelion STRONG

“We may often feel fragile, but we are strong. And we are many.
We have the power to overpower the destruction that addiction spreads.”


Sandra Swenson is the author of The Joey Song: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction (Central Recovery Press 2014), Tending Dandelions: Honest Meditations for Mothers with Addicted Children (Hazelden 2017), the Readings for Moms of Addicts app (Hazelden 2018), and her blog.

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