From addiction to recovery: Struggles and triumphs

Bend author's new book shares family's difficult journey

Bend woman writes of family's struggles

BEND, Ore. - Marking National Recovery Month, a Bend mother has just written a book sharing her journey through her daughter's descent into meth addiction and crime.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Bend on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. hosts Barbara Stoefan's release of her new book, "A Very Fine House, A Mother's Story of Love, Faith and Crystal Meth."

Stoefan introduces readers to her dream of a perfect future for her family -- a future torn apart when her daughter's alcohol and drug use ensue after turning 18.

She recalled how her daughter told her she was using methamphetamine, talking in the family kitchen.

"And I knew in that second that everything's different," she recalled. "It's like a death, when you lose your child to addiction, because they aren't that person any more."

For the past seven years, Stoefan volunteered her time as a board member with the Meth Action Coalition. She says the friends and family group there served as a huge support system.

"We helped each other. We all had kids on the street addicted to meth. And we met weekly, and there were speakers from the DA's office, from Deschutes County Mental Health, etc.,, etc.," she recalled.

"We were helped, we were educated, and we supported each other. So it really was a support group, not a 12-step program. But I think many of us survived because of that group and how we helped each other and very ironic to learn all of our kids knew each other," Stoefan said.

According to a proclamation signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber, 283,000 Oregon adults have alcohol or other drug abuse issues. 20,000 are children.

It's estimated the cost of untreated addiction in Oregon is $5.9 billion a year, but with effective treatment, thousands are able to speak up and eventually get care.

But the proclamation also says that every dollar spent on addiction treatment saves an estimated $12 in criminal justice and health care costs.

Once friends in the addiction world, Emily and Barrett are now recoverees mentoring others at BestCare Treatment Services in Redmond.

Emily says, "I have been clean for about 3 1/2 years. I have been doing, commitments through recovery, and then I started working here about 3 1/2 months ago, and now it's just helping people."

Barrett says they are examples that if you do what is necessary in post-care, it works.

"The important thing part is to get into recovery," he said. "You have to do something to change your thinking, so you're able to stay sober."

Stoefan says she hopes her book will help to change the way people think and talk about addiction.

 "To show that this can happen to anyone, to remove the shame," she says. "A part of my mission is to de-stigmatize addiction, and that we treat it like a disease and stop looking at these people as if they are damaged, bad-human beings."

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