Like most of my generation, I was raised to show my appreciation to someone by writing a Thank You note. Never in my life did I imagine that one of them would be to an addiction treatment center. But addiction is an octopus. It’s tentacles reach out until it squeezes the life out of everyone. Not just the addict. And so in many ways, I am grateful to have this opportunity.

Dear Caron Foundation,

Many of you know my family. My son Michael came through your doors almost four years ago as a broken and tortured young man. The octopus was strangling him so tight that he couldn’t breathe. The arms were long, twisting and dancing around family, friends, and even our family dog, squeezing and pulling us in to the deep dark waters of addiction. Exhausted from the battle, we had little to no fight left in our bodies or souls. His father was broken, his sister was devastated, and I was angry as hell.

I can admit it now; I wanted was for you all to fix him just like a car I would drop off to be serviced. I would not visit him until you told me I had to which ended up being the family therapy week for which I am eternally grateful.

I had no idea that not only would you save my son from himself but you would save our family from what we had become.

You opened our eyes to the co dependency issues. You relieved us of any guilt. You helped us understand the disease. You understood the anger. You worked with all of us. You called us, you listened to us, you prayed with us and you never stopped calling and helping and checking in, long after he left Caron. You helped us understand why my son should go to sober living all the way in Dallas, Texas, which was the best decision of his life. next to going to treatment.

I just didn’t see it. I wanted him back as the son I had missed for so long but you all knew better. Chico West and the Gaston House were the next leg of the journey and you all were right about that.

Who would have thought that after three years a little mosquito would challenge my son’s sobriety?

Temporary blindness, numbness of the arms, legs giving out, seizures, convulsions, horrific back pain, constant migraines. All from a mosquito. Just like years earlier, the doctors all wanted him on pain medication.

Does it ever end? This was how it began. Fortunately we went a different route, with acupuncture and powerful antioxidants and shakes. It reduced the spinal inflammation and took away the pain. Once again, the Caron Foundation started calling us offering advice and any help at any time if the pills were the only way to handle the pain.

The fraternity of young men in Dallas never left my son alone in the hospital for one single minute. They alternated spending the days and nights sleeping in Mike’s room. Some had gone through treatment at Caron with Mike and were now working together at the Gaston House helping other young men with their own struggles. The bond is unbreakable. Not even an octopus could slither through this group.

I cannot bear to hear people putting down certain programs with their negativity and claiming that their way is the only way. I know from my son’s experience, and my own, that one way does not work for everyone. All that matters is that our children keep trying different programs and different ways to win the battle so they can live the lives they were born to.

For my son and for our family the program that changed our lives was The Caron Foundation and The Gaston House Sober Living. Whatever or whoever helps our children and continues to help long after treatment deserves to be thanked. It is with deep gratitude and appreciation that I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and continue to do for my family.

Our lives have been changed forever because of your devotion to saving our children one at a time. One day at a time.

Love and Peace,

Anita Devlin





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