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Riding a bike

BY WILLIAM MOYERS Modified: September 24, 2012 at 11:26 am •  Published: September 24, 2012

Not a day passes without somebody asking me for help. That's because I am public about my own struggle to overcome addiction and have stayed clean for a long time now. Besides, I'm easy to find. Here I am.

More and more these days, I've noted that my suggestion is already in action — before I even can offer it. I'm reminded of the time one of my kids asked, "Dad, how do you ride a bike?"

I assured my son it "isn't hard at all once you try it." Then off he was, by himself, a father's worry giving chase; no tutelage from a veteran was required. Sometimes it is that simple.

Gina is the mother of two small children. They live in Ohio with her mother-in-law, whose son, her husband, is an addict in relapse. Writes Gina:

"I know he has an illness. He doesn't want to hurt us, but he is. His mother makes it worse by giving him money, pampering him. She doesn't want to see it. She says all he needs is a job and a car and everything will be OK. But it won't, and it isn't. She is so controlling. Living with her makes it all that much worse. What should I do?"

I was a few days late responding with this: "Tell him he needs to stop using drugs, or you're leaving for the kids' sake and yours. Don't let his mother dictate your terms." Take care of yourself, too, I reminded her.

Less than an hour later, she was back at me with this update:

"I did tell my husband many times that I care very much about him and about his life and that if he decides to live this destructive life, I can't be around him. I moved out with the two little ones. I'm starting everything from the bottom, as I have no support from him. I want him to get better, yes, but all I can do is get better.

"At the library, I read self-help literature every day. It is almost impossible for me to attend meetings, as I have full-time school, a part-time job and these two small children. I am over the anger toward him, as I understand it must be very hard for him, too. All I can do is encourage him. My energy, I only have enough to take care of me and our children."

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