Dear Mom: A Response to ‘I raised an addict – what could I have done differently?’

The below letter was posted as a response to my article  I raised and addict – what could I have done differently?the author, Stephen Gambale, has graciously allowed me to share his beautiful words. Thank you Stephen. ~ Trish
Mom and Stephen

Dear Mom,
I want you to rest assured that you were the best parent a son could ever ask for. I’m sure a million questions swirl around in that beautiful mind of yours on a daily basis. What could’ve been done differently? What you should’ve done? Would’ve done? Could’ve done? The answer is quite simple –  you did your best. And as your son, I am forever grateful for that every single day I put my two feet on the ground.
Did you not teach me right from wrong? Did you not teach me the lessons I needed to be taught when you caught me from “falling”? Did you not console me when I needed consoling? Did you not teach me selflessness through your actions? It is a maternal instinct to love and protect your child. That is your best conscious decision making, and it is made through LOVE. What I did was made a conscious decision to ignore everything you taught me through action and word, use my ego to lie to myself that I know best and put my comfort at the forefront, disregarding the sacrifices you made for me growing up. Why? Because I’m selfish.
There is nothing you could have done differently that could have gotten me out of my OWN way.
If anything, your LOVE and “catching my fall” and selfless actions day in and day out, saved my life. How you ask? Well it’s those very actions you’ve taken and things that you have done that taught me what a good hearted , loving, decent and caring man should do for those around him as well as those he loves. It is you that taught me how to put others before myself and treat others how I’d want to be treated. Unfortunately I had to beat the selfishness out of me by my poor decisions. But don’t think for a second it wasn’t your love that I held in my heart that gave me the hope I needed to turn my life around and see the light. The heart you possess is everything that I believe God embodies. It is through the love that GOD placed in your heart that saved my life. So let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for not doing anything differently. It might have just killed me.
With much love and respect,
Your son

 About Stephen Gambale
I am a 32 year old who grew up in Medford. MA
I played baseball throughout my life and played baseball under a division 1 scholarship at the University of Maine.
I am now a successful realtor in the Back Bay of Boston, live on my own and can go where any free man or woman can go.
I also love to write freestyle, off the top of my head, so anything you read of mine is coming into my mind “real time”
I was offered a true and genuine path to freedom from addiction and I took it.
I’d like to offer my knowledge and time to those looking for the same freedom as well as insight to families.
God Bless



27 thoughts on “Dear Mom: A Response to ‘I raised an addict – what could I have done differently?’

  1. I lost my precious 38 year old daughter to this disease. I’m devastated. She wanted and asked for help but, there weren’t enough beds or she didn’t have the right insurance our she needed to be places she couldn’t get to because she didn’t drive. I miss her every second of every day. She was my heart. I feel like I let her down. I should have tried harder. I miss her and loved her so much……


  2. Stephen…thank you for sharing. My son too is a heroin addict and is currently in rehab for the 7th time. He will be going to a Sberbank house this time after his release, I too wondered what I could have done differently but realize that I did and am doing the best that I could/can. 17 years we have been dealing with this addiction and I am lucky he is still alive. The letter sounded like something my son would write .I pray constantly that he will beat this and be successful in life. God bless everyone who is in the battle.


    1. Hi Nanci,
      Thank you for reaching out.
      May I kindly ask; Has he ever tried wholeheartedly taking steps as they are written fundamentally in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous by chance?
      After years of battling, it was finally the one and only thing that lead me to a life I could have never imagined; true internal peace and happiness , which we all as drug addicts so desperately seek.
      God bless


  3. Thank you Stephen for that beautiful letter to your mother. As the mother of an addict I am always going over my son’s childhood in my mind. Questioning decisions I made at times this is overwhelming. i am sure those words brought a great deal of comfort to your mother. My hope is that someday I hear those words from my son!


    1. Hi Maryann,
      Truth is I always wanted to say those things to my mom when I was using. I just truly couldn’t do it, but I always felt and thought it.
      I’m sure your son deep down inside has the same things to say to you! 🙂
      Love Steve.


  4. As a couple my wife and I faced the same battle. We lost our son to an overdose 5 yrs ago Now and even then it seemed all we could do was to be there and pray for him. We now have a praying parents group to support parents of addicted children and parents who have lost a child to addiction. Keep loving your child and believing the best for them. As hard as it is , don’t turn your back on them. Don’t ignore the facts , intervene and get help. It’s never took late to see victory come into their lives. If your child is still living, you still have hope. Never surrender. God bless

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Please please help my family they ar e all on something and I get stolen from constantly I hate to even see emergency coming isn’t that awful too feel that bad. I don’t know what to do. They were brought up I. The Church they went to school was good students and then wham out of the blue I started missing things my husband has nothing left to his name and I don’t either. They know I am in pain medal for my diseases and no
    Matter where I hide them they get them they have broken in
    Our house twice police did nothing I am laying here in pain now crying like a baby because they stole all my pain mess and I have nothing I can’t call the dr because he won’t give me any more I have to go through the this pain for another month I don’t know if I can do it please pray for me and fie
    My little family please

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like you might need to seek help from Adult Protective Services. Families of addicts have to do that for their own safety. There are programs in most communities for those who want help getting out of bondage from drugs. AA and NA are both good programs. There can give you even more resources…hallway houses and rehabs. Many churches offer free recovery programs to those willing to abandon all substances. You need to live in a safe place away from those who will steal from you. You are not responsible to save the world, or even those in your family who are refusing help.


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