A Welcome Friend!

by Ned Wicker


Joe Herzanek

Joe Herzanek

There is no substitute for the kind of wisdom borne of experience and on that front Joe Herzanek scores high marks. For the last couple of years Joe has graciously given of his time and expertise in appearing on “Recovery Now,” our internet round table discussion radio show dedicated to all aspects of addiction.

We are pleased to enter into a more formal working relationship with Joe and excited to help addicts and their families avail themselves of his vast personal knowledge of the disease that causes their suffering.

Herzanek is the founder of Changing Lives Foundation and author of the outstanding book, “Why Don’t They Just QUIT?”, now in its second printing. Joe also spends time counseling inmates and advising their family members and others in the community on effective ways to negotiate the often complex “world of addiction and recovery.”

Formerly, the Chaplain at the Boulder (Colorado) County Jail, Joe has spent over 17 years working in Jails and Prisons as both a Chaplain and Addictions Counselor. Joe’s personal struggles earlier in life were preparation for working with offenders who also have addiction problems.

From age 13 to 29, Joe battled his own drug and alcohol problem—finally receiving treatment. He now has over 33 years of abstinence from substances. Treatment gave him the information and structure needed to begin his journey of recovery. Information was the key that started the process.

Believing that a person must first “know” what to do to make a change brought him to this next chapter in life.
Joe has three children—one who still is living at home. He and his wife Judy live in Colorado, enjoy playing with their two Cairn Terriers Lewis and Clark, camping, and most of all—hiking above tree line in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

I have been impressed with Joe’s honesty and openness since our very first “Recovery Now” conversation, but that pales in comparison to my respect for his knowledge and compassion in reaching out and helping people in a deeply personal way.

Our web sites, drug-addiction-support.org and alcoholism-support.org will be enhanced by his participation and we certainly invite you to check out his book, “Why Don’t They Just Quit?” and the accompanying video.

Click here for more information on Joe’s Book and DVD

A Welcome Friend

by: Lynette


Hi Joe,

Thank you so much for your guidance and for the website to look at. I copied your reply and saved it.
Sincerely, Lynette

Letting go of someone elses disease

by: Anonymous

Dear Lynette,

You ask some very good questions in your post. Detachment is difficult! The way I look at it is that once you have made multiple attempts to help your son and things only get worse it must be considered.

Detachment does not mean to stop loving or stop caring. It means to first sit back and look at what has happened objectively. Kind of like you were looking at a friend who is having the same dilemma and the friend is asking you for guidance.

This enables you to be more objective, less emotional and offer clear guidance. In the case of your son you have gone far beyond the extra mile and ‘it’s not working.’ So what is a mom to do??

If it were my son I would calmly sit done at the kitchen table and write him a letter. In this letter I would share my concerns about his chronic substance abuse and your fear that things will get much worse over time. Which is true by the way. You may want to list a few things that his substance abuse has already done. DUI’s, legal problems, health problems, work, family and so on.

I would tell him it’s just to painful and emotionally draining to watch him spiral out of control. So you have decided that you will not take his calls, allow him to come to the home, text you, ask for money UNTIL he has a minimum of thirty to sixty days of complete sobriety.

You want to be able to verify his attendance at meetings and have permission to occasionally speak with his sponsor.

I would put this all done on paper and either read it to him or mail it to him.

Sounds kind of harsh? That’s not the right question though. The question is will I make myself do what I know is best even if it’s difficult? Alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic and fatal.

Many will respond to ultimatums like this. Maybe not right away, some things take time. What you have done in the past to try to “help” your son isn’t working and it never will. You can do this and your son can begin the journey of recovery. He may just need a push to get it going (-;

I’ll include a link with some more info on this topic.

Hang in there.

Grace and peace, Joe


A Welcome Friend

by: Lynette

I am glad to hear about Joe’s connection to Drug Addiction Support. I plan on reading his book.

Could I possibly ask a question?

My son has been an alcoholic and drug addict for 13 years. He is 27 years old. He is in jail for the 5th time, this time for his third DUI and for violating parole.

In the past I tried to help him in every way that I could-financially, taking him to rehabs., rescuing him, taking him to hospitals, visiting him, etc.. Now for the first time I am trying to detach from him with love. The only thing I do is write to him and to sometimes send him things I’ve printed off the internet such as religious songs or things from this site.

My question is: What is your best advise for detachment?

It is new to me and I have been working on it for 4 months. I also go to Al Anon meetings, see a counselor and talk to my minister and physician’s assistant. I had been talking to my son on the phone several times but I told him I had to stop (it was because he was already trying to get me to help him) and it was very hard to tell him that I couldn’t talk to him any more. I also went to see him one time.

Thanks for your help, in advance-Lynette

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