I write to you as a parent of two lovely daughters, now in college, who lost their father to the devastating disease of addiction. I consider myself a good parent; attentive, caring, responsible, respectable. So when I realized that their father, a major league baseball player, was battling a serious addiction I did everything to try to protect them and their innocence. They were only 8 and 9 years old when I found myself making private phone calls to professionals, seeking help for my husband. I created reasonable “stories” to explain his stints away in rehab centers to the girls and tried to manage the chaos that swirled around me. I believed that if I could just get him sober, we would all be okay.
While my husband was in treatment, my children were invited to a program designed to help them understand their dad’s disease and to learn coping skills. I declined citing, “I’ve never told the kids so they don’t know.” What I would learn soon in the program, was that my kids did know…and that they were suffering as a result.
By some miracle, I was persuaded to enroll them, and they will tell you that it was the greatest gift we have ever received. That program gave them their voice, reduced their shame, and offered them a language to describe what they intuitively “knew” was going on. The skills acquired by all of us in that program helped us navigate, with increased awareness and resilience, a challenging few years of recovery, relapse and the eventual unexpected and tragic death of their father.
Through our family’s grieving, my daughters and I discussed ways that we could help other children and families heal in the recovery journey. Thus, PITCH 4 KIDZ was born with a renewed purpose of creating a program of healing the traumatic effects of addiction in families. I can tell you that every day my daughters use the many tools that were given to them so many years ago in a children’s program, and have recovered from the ravages of the family disease. It is my hope that our story will inspire others to seek help, not only for the person with an addiction, but for the children living in the silence of the secretive nature of this family disease. After all, addiction is a family disease, and family members deserve a recovery program created just for them.
Believe me when I tell you that the kids are affected, and research indicates that without intervention and support our children are at an increased risk for many challenges beyond using drugs and alcohol. I urge parents, grandparents, family and friends, seek help for young children so that they can build resilience and skills to experience long-term success in all aspects of their lives.
PITCH 4 KIDZ programs help families heal and build childhood resilience to address increased risk from the chronic trauma of addiction. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate and employs art music and games to give children information, skills and a safe place for emotional expression in fun ways that include group support with the message that they are not alone.
Call and speak with our staff, come visit our office, and step up for the children you love. Children need a voice in the family recovery journey. Let’s work together to give them this priceless gift, so that the entire family can not only survive the ravaging disease of addiction, but thrive with the resilience that results from addressing the challenges of the disease with knowledge and heart.